"Single," contrary to what Lifetime Network movies would have you believe, is not a four-letter word. In Portland, more than 229,000 of the city's 500,000-plus residents mark the "single" box on their tax forms (according to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau statistics), a rate slightly higher than the national average.

So this Valentine's Day, we decided to show some love and scout out singles, those of us who by choice or fate are still sharing our beds with a good book (OK, and a one-night stand here and there) rather than a lifelong mate. From lesbian classical-music freaks to tattoo-laden single dads, women who are saving themselves for marriage, and strip-club managers who certainly aren't, we asked 'em all the most simple of questions: What's it like to be single in Portland—for better or worse?

Cheyenne Sawyer
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 33

Best thing about being single: Time to yourself, a quiet house and zero obligations.

Cheyenne is a tattoo artist at Oddball Tattoo and father to 6-year-old Emilia Bird (he shares custody with his ex), a bubbly first-grader who loves to watch movies. The 33-year-old has lived in Portland for 13 years but doesn't hit the bars as often as he used to. He jokingly calls himself "old"; truthfully, he's just more interested in reading books and making art than partying these days. Cheyenne, his daughter and his artwork currently share a loft in Southeast Portland. —Paige Richmond

WW: How is being single in Portland different from being single in other cities?

Cheyenne: There is so much like-mindedness—musically, artistically. And you don't drive [in PDX] ever. In L.A., you drive [and never walk around], so you just don't see the amount of hip, young people. There's a lot of attractive young women [in Portland]. It's overwhelming sometimes.

Most ubiquitous Portland come-on you encounter?

"I had a really shitty home life." I've heard that so much, just "poor me." Also, interest in my career is pretty strong. Clothes come off really easy; they want to show me, they want to get tattooed. Usually, I want to see it. I'm interested in it. I have a really cool job.

What's the easiest way to start a conversation with a Portlander?

The main thing would be music, because we're all interested in it and it's so important to us.

Ever hooked up with somebody who had already hooked up with one of your friends?

It's not as incestuous as I've heard from other people. A couple times it was out of drunkenness and irresponsibility. A few times it happened without knowing, which is unsettling, because that just means you haven't got to know somebody at all before you get together intimately.

Where do you go to get laid?

The Sandy Hut, My Father's Place, and for a while, the Shanghai Tunnel was pretty much always a go.

What's the most fucked-up thing that ever happened to you on a date in Portland?

I've done some experiments where I put a fake tattoo on my neck and see if I get laid, and I did. Twice. I went out as a joke, but I knew it would work, and it did. And that's fucked up.

Does Portland have any weird sex hang-ups?

Being inebriated. I find that to be kind of a problem because without booze it tends not to go the same way. And I was blown away completely by the amount of females I've known, have been with, [or] am good friends with that have been sexually abused. The numbers astounded me. I even did in an essay on it in college, because the number was so substantial. I think it was five in seven.

What do you really think of Valentine's Day?

It's kind of fucked. Not as fucked as Christmas. But the best thing about it is the chocolate and the sex and the flowers. Those are all awesome.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Cheyenne Sawyer? Click here.

"DJ Puppet" Mills
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 31

Standard date topic: Serial killers.

When she first arrived from San Francisco about five years ago, Puppet Mills scored with a coveted management job at Powell's. Then, in April of 2004, she started promoting a queer dance party called Booty (currently Thursdays at Acme) that quickly etched itself into the weekly planners of gay Portlanders. "I don't like hiking or potlucks, the things lesbians like to do," says Puppet—who goes by her DJ name in all facets of her life—but she definitely knows how to please the ladies when it comes to nightlife. Last June, she launched a new venture: a national drag competition called Total Drag that promises to bring more pilgrims to a city already lining up as the new queer-culture capital of the U.S. Not bad for someone who "grew up trashy in Reno." —Mary Christmas

WW: Where do you meet girls?

DJ Puppet: Anywhere. I'm usually pretty friendly, especially with bartenders and taxi drivers.

What's the hardest thing about being single in Portland?

When you're a queer woman, you're supposed to get hooked up as soon as possible...if not, they have the perception that you have some sort of serious problem.

Are you single by choice?

Very much so.

Where do you go to get laid?

Queer women usually have to meet the parents, volunteer for a local nonprofit, survive a traumatic experience, and then move in together before they get laid.

How is being single in Portland different from being single in other cities?

Portland's queer scene seems pretty small when you're single. Everyone knows everyone. You have to be very careful. You think someone's awesome Make sure you meet all their closest friends, 'cause if you sleep with them, you're likely not ever sleeping with their friends. Keep your options open.

Have you ever hooked up with somebody who's already dated one of your friends?

I'm not interested in my friends' sloppy seconds.

What's the easiest way to start a conversation with a Portlander?

I usually ask where they moved here from and how long they've lived here. Most of us are transplants. Then I go on to talk about serial killers, 'cause I really like sharing my in-depth knowledge on the subject.

What's the most fucked-up thing that ever happened to you on a date in Portland?

I'm probably the most fucked-up thing that has happened on a date. In the past, I've been known to drink a little too much.

Best thing that ever happened to you?

I couldn't tell if I was on a date or not, so I said something. She stopped, turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said, "It's never gonna happen." Hilarious. We're great friends now.

What do you really think of Valentine's Day I mean, do you really hate it

Absolutely. I hate it. Love cannot be commercialized. But on the positive side, there are some pretty hilarious animatronic singing monkeys at Walgreen's. I love that crap.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to "DJ Puppet" Mills? Click here.

Yonatan "Yoni" Shpak
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 30

Secret dating weapon: Accent.

Yoni Shpak grew up on a kibbutz in northern Israel and spent time living in other agricultural communities that "had a communist or cooperative structure to them." Now he's a statistical analyst for a market research company and has lived in Portland for the past seven years—more than enough time to chart out his own "roadmap for getting a piece" along the very fertile crescent that lines the East and West banks of the Willamette. From sport-fucking and dating smart girls to tapping into the older "demographic" during Friday-afternoon Pearl happy hours, Yoni knows single life in Portland can be its own promised land. —Lance Kramer

WW: What's a good one-night-stand joint in Portland?

Yoni Shpak: To be honest, there's no one set place. As much as I think it's kind of a crappy place, the Triple Nickel is kind of a good meat market for people looking to hook up. It's a love-hate relationship. I've had some really questionable sex come out of that place in my life.

What's the hardest thing about being single in Portland?

Nothing. Portland's a great city to be single in. I've been single in other towns—it can be pretty difficult in other places. Even if you don't find some girl who you're gonna fall madly in love with [in Portland], there's always someone who's somewhat interesting who you can have a fling with. It's a really young city, with a fairly educated population. Being single is something that you get better at the more you do it, just like anything else.

Have a signature move?

I like to say something a little outrageous to see if the girl can handle it and play with it, or whether they've got an "Oh my God, I can't believe he said that!" kind of attitude.

What do you think women in Portland are looking for in a man?

Somebody who does art or plays music. You're expected to have a gig, apart from what you do. Intelligence helps. In my case, the accent doesn't hurt anything either. But sometimes girls think it's a speech impediment.

Best date story?

One of the nice things about going home with someone is waking up in a different environment. You wake up in some strange girl's room in Portland, with the rain pouring down, and you look outside and you've got a view from a window that you've never seen before and probably won't be seeing again. And then she does something obnoxious like put on Ani DiFranco. It's all about those moments.

Do you think Portland has any sex hang-ups?

Especially by American standards, Portland has a healthy attitude towards sex. It's generally got an attitude of sex being a good thing. Not a taboo, "you better marry me if you're gonna fuck me" kind of attitude.

How does being an Israeli play into dating?

On occasion, you get the advantage of being considered a token. Women will be attracted to you because you're from this country in the Middle East that's got suicide bombers. It's more of a conversation topic than being from Iowa.

Is talking about the Middle East ever a complete date roadblock?

Yeah. Sometimes you start talking to a girl at a bar, and they start asking you, "Why are your people killing the Palestinians " Or "I don't believe Israel has the right to exist." ... [But] the biggest turn-off isn't a different orientation, or someone who disagrees with you or what you think about things. The biggest turnoff is just someone who's stupid about it.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Yonatan "Yoni" Shpak? Click here.

Sara Kolp
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 27

Where she finds potential dates: Grocery store.

Six years ago, Sara Kolp was a biology major in Sacramento working as a coffee roaster to pay her way through college. That all changed when she had a baby: "I failed calculus three times in a row. I went from being a great student to being terrible because I just couldn't do it all." Now, the single mom lives in North Portland, works at a North Mississippi Avenue antiques store and moonlights as a nanny. Dating is not exactly on the top of her to-do list. Kolp plans on digging her nose back into science-geekhood, with a return to academia planned as soon as her daughter is in school full time. —Mary Christmas

WW: Where do you meet dates?

Sara Kolp: Because I'm so busy, I just meet people when I'm out at places that I normally go: the grocery store, work or the cafe. Maybe it's lazy, but it's practical.

What are you looking for in a partner?

Mostly that mutual admiration and inspiration. And obviously it's important that this person gets along well with my daughter.

Does your daughter form opinions of her own about your dates?

She does; she definitely has an opinion that I don't ask for. But I listen to it. One time, after I hung out with someone once, she asked if I was going to marry him.

What's the hardest thing about being single in Portland?

In Portland, there are so many amazing, gorgeous, creative people juggling impressive projects, it's easy to feel like an underachiever.

What's the big Portland pick-up line?

"Do you want to go for a bike ride "

What's the easiest way to start a conversation with a Portlander?

Doesn't everyone start off talking about music It's misleading, I'll tell you. People think they know something about you because you like jazz, or because you don't like jazz.

Most messed-up thing that happened to you on a date in Portland?

Once, I was out with this very social guy and we ran into about 40 of his ex-girlfriends. I felt like some rural cousin of his.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Sara Kolp? Click here.

Christopher Cuttone
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 33

Orientation: Queer librarian.

A lot of what you'd want to know about Christopher Cuttone you can glean from his email address, which includes the ancient word "callipygous." "It's Greek," he says, all smiles, "for having shapely buttocks." As a library assistant at the Multnomah County Library North Portland branch, scruffy-faced cutie Cuttone may spend much of his day expanding his vocabulary and sitting on those well-formed buns, but after work he's hitting the Florida Room, Acme or the Eagle for drinks with friends. Or an occasional hookup. Originally from outside of Philadelphia, Cuttone moved to Portland 12 years ago, "mostly to get away from my family." Although he's been single for most of his time here, he finds queer Portlanders excessively polite: "so polite," he says, "they may be a little less real." —Stephen Beaudoin

WW: What are you looking for?

Christopher Cuttone: I want to be able to date someone semi-seriously without the goal being to live together. OK, I'm looking for a friend with benefits. I enjoy sharing my talents with other people. I can do this thing where I bite your neck and it feels really good and doesn't leave any marks. Also, I have no gag reflex.

Do you have a certain thing you say or do or wear to impress guys?

I have certain outfits. There are pants maybe a little tighter in certain areas. If I'm feeling frisky, I tend to wear better socks.

What do you find attractive?

Lately I'm into beards and chest hair...not bear cubs so much, more like baby otters. I like the alternative scene at Booty [see our Q&A with DJ Puppet]: gay bicycle messengers and gay vegan anarchists, guys whose whole personality isn't constructed around being gay. I'm also a fan of B.O. [body odor]—and there's definitely more naturally scented men in Portland.

What's your idea of a great date?

It would be sort of a fake date, lots of flirting and teasing each other to see if we wanna mess around. I like a date where the objective is clear: to get naked.

Worst hookup experience?

I once gave my friend's ex a pity blow job, and she got kind of mad.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Christopher Cuttone? Click here.

Christy Moorman
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 29

Nightly obsession: Jane Austen novels.

Christy Moorman has three no-nos when it comes to the man she wants to marry: No pastors, firefighters or cops. A petite, perfectly made-up blonde, Moorman has spent the past two decades soaking up Christian culture and teachings at a local religious grade school, high school and college. These days, she splits her waking hours between her job as an executive assistant at a Christian music licensing firm, hanging out at City Bible Church (a 4,000-plus member megalith based in outer Northeast Portland) and at her community college web design classes. That leaves little time at home, which she shares with her sister and brother-in-law and their five kids in Camas, Wash. And while she's not actively dating right now, she does attend singles events sponsored by her church...just to practice putting "the vibes" out there. —Kelly Clarke

WW: Why aren't you dating right now?

Christy Moorman: I often only have about one hour to myself every day [between work and school]. [But] I have a very diverse group of friends. I've got my church friends, who sit around and play card games...and my friends that like to go clubbing.... It's two worlds, and I don't fit into either.

Where do you go clubbing?

Downtown...Barracuda, Noche, Voodoo Lounge. It's uncomfortable sometimes; I'm there to have fun, and I feel like I'm fighting off these guys that I don't want near me. I'm looking for a deep relationship, not a one-night deal.

What's a night with your church friends like?

I have some very cool, not uptight church friends. But there are the ones where church is like their entire lives. It's like, "Can we go deeper than who led worship on Wednesday " I'm more interested in what's going on in the world, business, politics....

How has your faith affected your dating in Portland through the years?

I went to Portland Bible College, which is part of my church. A lot of the guys were there to find wives. And a lot of the girls were there to be pastors' wives. That was their goal. Not me.... I was very innocent about sex. And I still am. I haven't had sex ever.... Sometimes, it's like, "Oh my God! I'm gonna die [if I don't have sex]." And other times, I'm fine. It's a factor if I'm attracted to somebody mind, body and soul. But it's never been, "Oh, they're hot. I wanna have sex."

Do you only date guys from City Church due to your no-sex stance?

In the 19 years I've gone there, I've had one boyfriend from that church. He was non-churchy. He'd been around the block, had six tattoos and an earring. Ambitious. All the things I'd never seen. You look around the church, you see a bunch of guys who look bored. You get bored just looking at them. We dated for six months [in 2003]. He wanted to get married. I didn't.

Have you ever dated outside the church?

There was a guy I met at Barracuda that I went out with once last summer [for lunch at Stanford's at Lloyd Center]. He was looking me up and down. He was talking about getting me drunk and up on the table taking my clothes off. I was kind of hoping for something deeper than that.

What do you find sexy?

It's almost never outward appearances. But I like blonds. Really, if I found somebody who looked like my brother I'd be attracted to him. He has all the qualities I'm looking for. It's weird..... There's just something about a man [not her brother] who has a passion for people, for God, and a willingness to come under authority [who will speak with a religious leader before making big life decisions]. It's huge.

Biblical personage you wanna date?

Joseph [of Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame]. He went through so much crap, and he knew how to handle himself. I see him as this muscley hot guy...no scraggly beard. I like hairless people.

What's the biggest problem with Portland men?

I get very frustrated with the lack of manliness I find here. It's like guys don't want to be men. There are tons of them in my church. I mean, if [me and my boyfriend] get mugged, I wanna know that I wouldn't have to fight off [the attacker] while he went running off screaming....

Are there openly gay people dating in your church?

No...I do feel frustrated by gay men because they lessen my chances to find a husband.... When I see a hot gay guy I just wanna slap him—I mean, you're so hot!

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Christy Moorman? Click here.

Reina Abolofia
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 25

Orientation: Clarinet-playing Jewish lesbian.

As a master's candidate in classical clarinet performance at Portland State University, music infuses Reina Abolofia's life. She's a self-confessed opera fanatic, from The Magic Flute to La Bohème. But music doesn't consume the Portland native. Wednesday nights, she teaches religious school at her place of worship since childhood, Temple Neveh Shalom. "For me, being Jewish is about the sense of community," she says, sipping a green tea latte. She's shy, but recalling picking up on a girl in The Dalles, she recounts an admirably straightforward approach: "I just want you to know," she told the beauty, "that you're really cute." And then she laughs, shakes her head of big dark curls, and smiles. —Stephen Beaudoin

WW: What are you looking for?

Reina Abolofia: I don't know. I've only dated three or four people in my life; it's been a long time since I've seriously dated someone. I like pretty girls, girls who have a passion for life. I'd date within three or four years of my age either way, and I'd like to just purely explore my sexuality. Not necessarily dating, per se.

Where do you go to meet other lady lovers?

Portland and PSU have a huge gay population. I've met people in class, through school and in orchestra. I've been to the Egyptian Room, too, and it's a dive. The bar scene is either too loud or too smoky. I'm not the type to "put the moves" on someone, I'm too shy. I did meet this girl at a party a few months ago, and we totally made out, and that was fun. I've put some Craigslist ads up, and they've turned out well or not so well. One was crazy, one didn't work out, and one was nice but I haven't heard from her again.

How do you impress a date?

Oh, I don't know. I'm usually the type to stare at someone but not approach them. I'd probably take a date to Powell's or the opera. I love inspiring people to enjoy music as much as I do.

What will you be doing on Valentine's Day?

I'll be teaching religious school. And I have class. And I'll probably practice clarinet three hours that day. V-Day to me is about friendship. My mom would mail me pairs of socks for Valentine's Day, so that about sums it up.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Reina Abolofia? Click here.

Ben Bay
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 83

Best thing about being single: Does having multiple girlfriends "all around the country" count as being single?

When I arrive to interview him, Ben Bay's latest girlfriend is using a special tool to put on his left sock. The 83-year old looks snappy in his blue Ultrasuede jacket, and he insists on combing his hair before sitting down to talk. A retired commercial fisherman, Bay has lived at the Regency Park senior home for only a couple weeks now, but his clean appearance and ready smile have already made him into something of a geriatric Don Juan. It's not hard when, as he's quick to point out, women outnumber men at Regency by something like 50 to 1. Ben's wife of nearly 60 years died about four years ago, and he's still not over her, he says. But this doesn't seem to preclude a number of simultaneous rebound relationships. And the fact that his girlfriend, Mary Leonardo, is in the next room doesn't keep him from speaking loudly about his polyamory. —Adrian Chen

WW: So, do you always look so sharp?

Ben Bay: I get dressed up from breakfast on, because I never know when a good-looking woman might come to my door and I'd have to make eyes at her.

Where do you meet women in Portland?

They're all around me! Holy Toledo, there must be 150 of them. I came down by the fireplace one day and there were six of them sitting on a davenport. They were all beautiful women. I went up and introduced myself and started talking to them, and I think they were still laughing when I left.

Where do you like to go on a date?

I let her decide so there's no argument about it. [Then] I take her home, of course. If she has some sort of social gathering, that's her business. Me, I'm always ready.

What do you look for in a woman?

[Here, Bay takes out a pad of paper and reads from it] A sense of humor. They've gotta have compassion; they've gotta have good looks. That's the main thing—I don't care what happens after that. Personality is a big thing, of course. They have to be football-minded, or I won't even look at them.

How many girlfriends do you have?

I have quite a few. Pearl, she lives in Washington. I've got a girlfriend in Michigan, too. I've had field days all over the country.

How do you feel about gay romance?

A man was made to be with a woman, and a woman was made to be with a man. I've played basketball and football with some gay men, and they're all right—but that's all I'm going to say about that.

Do you have any tips for the new generation of romantics?

Yeah. A horse can plow a field all day, but you don't want to smell like a horse. These guys don't dress up. They run around and make a fool of themselves. I should run a business to teach these men how to find a woman.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Ben Bay? Click here.

Jamie Felton
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 22

Most important quality in a date: Sense of humor.

Originally from Seattle, Felton moved to Portland to attend Linfield College a few years ago, eventually transferring to Portland State University and majoring in environmental science. She works at Powell's City of Books part-time and lives in a house off Northeast Alberta Street with two friends—and her ex-boyfriend, with whom she broke up months ago and who should be moving out any day now.... —Paige Richmond

WW: Where do you meet men?

Jamie Felton: Work is obviously a really big one, because I work with people my own age. Powell's is like a hotbed of sexual encounters. If you ask anyone there if they've had sexual thoughts about other people in the store, the answer will always be yes, because there are so many attractive, interesting people who work there.

Where do you go to get laid?

The only experience I had where I was actually looking to have sex for one night and never see this person again was at Suki's on comedy night. He was a really funny comedian, but not necessarily someone I would be interested in.

But you're into funny guys?

Actually, it's a prerequisite [laughs]. You must be funny in order for me to consider you as a sexual partner.

How is being single in Portland different from being single in other cities?

There's like six degrees of separation, but in Portland it's more like three degrees of separation. When I lived in Seattle, I knew a lot of people because I'd lived there my whole life, but I definitely didn't run into people all the time like I do here.

What do Portlanders name-drop to impress their dates?

I can be talking to somebody and once they find out I work [at Powell's], the whole tone of the conversation will change. It's nice because I get more respect than if I worked at McDonald's, but I don't want to be liked because I work at Powell's; I want to be liked for who I am.

What's the most fucked-up thing that ever happened to you on a date in Portland?

OK, I hope this guy doesn't read this; it might break his heart. Let's just say, I was all ready to have the only one-night stand I would ever have in my life, but it didn't happen because the soldier was standing at attention until he put his uniform on, if you know what I mean.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Jamie Felton? Click here.

Tim DeZort
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 30

Occupation: Strip club manager.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Wash., Tim DeZort plays softball in the summer, likes hanging out at bars, and is one of the general managers at a large, upscale strip club called the Viewpoint near the Portland airport. As straight as they come, DeZort has always worked in the service industry, with stints as a cook and a bouncer, and even owned a bar called Dizzy's for a few years in Vancouver. But the Viewpoint, where he's worked since September 2005, is his first foray into the red-light world.

As we talk at a table in a dark corner of the club, a drunk and irate customer who's long been 86'ed for crashing his car in the parking lot comes up and interrupts. "For the love of fucking god, Tim, I just wanna come in here and spend my money," he yells. DeZort tells him that if he doesn't leave, the police will be called. "You're a chickenshit!" hollers the customer. "I'm a white dude, I'm your boy!" DeZort gets up to make sure the guy leaves, coming back from the parking lot a moment later to apologize for the interruption. Just a typical night on the job. —Mary Christmas

WW: Where do you meet women?

Tim DeZort: Usually at bars like Boss Hawg's [in outer Northeast Portland]. But because of my job, I really don't have time to go out much.

What are you looking for in a girlfriend?

Someone career- and goal-oriented. I don't want a bum. Do they respect their families Do they want kids I'm looking for something short term that will become long term. You can't just inhale a whole steak, you have to eat it bite by bite.

Are you single by choice?

My work chooses for me. A lot of girls I meet compare themselves to the strippers I work with and feel insecure because I'm surrounded by beautiful women every day.

Do you ever date strippers?

Never at work, but maybe if they worked somewhere else. I don't like to fish off the company pier.

Do you have a signature move?

I'll make fun of pick-up lines like "What's your sign?"

What do Portlanders name-drop to impress their dates?

Which clubs they go to, or how many "Jäger-bombs" they had last night.

How do locals choose mates and dates?

Money talks.

What's the most fucked-up thing that ever happened to you on a date in Portland?

I went out with a girl to a bar that her parents were at, and then had to take them all home because her parents got hammered.

And what was the most emotionally or sexually fucked-up?

Had a girl tell me that she wanted to use a strap-on on me. That date was over very quickly.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Tim DeZort? Click here.

Melissa Kellerman
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 19

Most un-Portland of Melissa's traits: She's not too interested in music.

A painting student at Pacific Northwest College of Art who works part time at Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe, Melissa Kellerman moved to Portland from Florida a year and a half ago. She falls into that unfortunate age group where you're too old to sneak around drinking (like you did in high school) but not old enough to head to the bar. But according to Kellerman, age isn't a factor in meeting men around Portland—the problem is that men don't know how to treat a woman right.

WW: Where do you meet guys?

Melissa Kellerman: Normally at school. You already know people and they have something in common with you because you go to art school.

What's the hardest thing about being single in Portland?

That it's kind of hard to get a guy to go on a date with you. You kind of have to force them into it. The last guy that I tried to date I had to initiate everything. Took him on walks, and to plays—he was like, "I'm broke."

Do you think that men in Portland have trouble approaching women?

If they are absolutely desperate, they'll come up to you. But that's it.

Are there any challenges to dating since you can't drink legally?

At a bar, you kind of know that someone is looking to find someone. Otherwise you have no idea. I dated someone who was 24. He didn't drink, but he still went to bars. That was kind of a problem, because he would just go to see bands, and I couldn't go. As far as the age thing goes, that was the only problem.

What do Portlanders name-drop to impress their dates?

Not exactly names, but people talk about zoobombing. Or people talk about artists that they know, or teachers who have galleries.

What's the most fucked-up thing that ever happened to you on a date in Portland?

I had like a first date with a guy and we were supposed to go to a movie, and he brought his friend with him.

You've mentioned that Portlanders don't really date. What would a real date be like?

Going to a movie and a dinner and having conversation and not having his best friend there. It being accepted that this is a date, and not being hidden or splitting the bill.

Does Portland have any weird sex hang-ups?

A complete lack of hang-ups. When I first moved here, I had this roommate who was really into having orgies and threesomes and all this crazy stuff.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Melissa Kellerman? Click here.

Dane Teachman
Be mine, valentine?


Age: 21

Number of times his cell phone rings in 25 minutes: Three.

Dane Teachman has lived in Portland all his life. He graduated from Cleveland High School and now works at Advanced M&D Sales Inc., a flooring sales company. After a flaky roommate lost him his apartment on Hawthorne, he moved back in with his parents in Southeast Portland—but he'll be the first to insist that it's only temporary. Always well dressed, he likes playing pool when he's indoors and snowboarding when he's outdoors. He's a real gentleman who won't even let a girl pay for a friendly cup of coffee. ÐPaige Richmond

WW: Is there a type of girl that you go for?

No. They need to have a sense of humor...or at least laugh at my jokes. Ninety-five percent of my ability to converse with women has to do with making them laugh. If I can't make them laugh, I am shit of out luck.

Are you single by choice?

Right now? No, I wouldn't say so. I did have a girlfriend of about a year, and we broke up a little while ago, and I've really been kind of coasting.

Have you ever hooked up with somebody who had already dated one of your friends?

The first girl I ever dated and slept with—you know, my first real adult relationship—had dated a friend of mine in high school. Then not the next girl I dated, but the girl after that had dated that guy before, too. Then the girl after her ended up messing around with a couple of my buddies on a drunk evening. [Laughs] I'm a total poster boy for this incestuous sort of thing.

Where do you go to get laid?

One of my female friends effectively named Ringler's as "The Meat Market" because of the attitude geared towards guys there. I've actually never gone out looking for a girl to pick up for sex, but if I were, I guess I would go there.

What's different about being single in Portland than being single in other cities?

No matter where you live in Portland, the majority of people are going to be downtown. It's tough if all of your buddies want to go out and get trashed. It's not feasible to pay $40 for a cab there and back; if you happen to live, in say, West Linn or Lake Oswego, it's quite a bit of money to be doing downtown.

What's the most ubiquitous Portland come-on that you encounter?

If it has to be one, my buddies have perfected touching the small of the girl's back while talking to them. I guess it makes them feel like they are the only person in the room.

How do you think Portlanders choose dates, or mates?

I think everyone chooses someone who knows how to deal with the outdoors. I dunno if that's a throwback to how rugged or how alternative we are here.

Wanna send your own Valentine's Day message to Dane Teachman? Click here.

Readers are also invited to send Van Duyn Chocolates—25 percent off heart boxes, all sizes—to any of WW's singles by placing a phone order or visiting one of Van Duyn local locations: 2360 NW Quimby St., 227-1927, or inside Lloyd Center Mall (281-2421) or Clackamas Town Center (659-1031). Or send flowers: a special $25 WW "Message in a Bottle" arrangement created by Starflower (3411 SE Belmont St., 225-9400, starflowerpassion.com) for our singles to pick up at the WW office. Readers can pony up additonal funds for Starflower to deliver flowers to our singles' doorsteps (we're keeping our singles' addresses confidential, folks). When ordering chocolates or flowers, please specify which WW cover hottie the gift is for. We'll make sure it gets to them.

According to


magazine, Portland was the 27th Best City for Singles in the nation in 2006, thanks to our low cost of living and indefinable "cool" factor. For proactive daters out there: Denver topped the list for the third year in a row.

More than 40 percent of the people who live in Portland are prime dating age: 18 to 44. And we're pretty damn smart, too: Nearly 40 percent of people 25 years and older have a bachelor's degree or higher. Who wouldn't wanna date us?

In 2005, 53.1 percent of Portland men over 15 years old were single; 56.3 percent of women of the same age were single; and both are higher than the national average: 44.1 percent single for men and 49 for women.*

You're still better off single in Seattle, where 57.8 percent of men and a whopping 59.3 percent of women were solo in 2005.*

In 2005, 33,234 Portland women were divorced, compared with 23,469 local men. That means 13.5 percent of Portland's total marrying age individuals are happily divorced. *

More than 20,000 widows and widowers called Portland home in 2005, with women outliving their spouses five times as often than men. *

There are 91 single men for every 100 single women in Multnomah County, according to city stats website epodunk.com. Want better odds on finding a man, ladies Head to Sherman County in Eastern Oregon, where there are 117 studs for every 100 unattached women. Stay away from southerly Josephine County, where single women outnumber men 100 to 77.

* According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey.