Becky told me about a Marine she stopped dating after he told her he was “using a penis pump to get bigger for girls.” Now she sees him out and about all the time. “Unfortunately, New Bern does have that reputation,” says Natasha, a bartender, 29, “that most chicks in this town are trying to get pregnant to trap a guy.” Almost no one I met dates online, which makes sense: If you live in a small town, chances are you like a tight community where everyone knows your name, rather than internet strangers.
But he also lived in the beach town of Morehead City, nearly an hour away from New Bern, and his roommate had the car for the night, so could I drive to him?
We had a great night hopping from a seafood restaurant, to a cocktail lounge, to making out at a bar on a dock so close to the water you could dip your feet in.
And if that drive is the price for dating a decent guy, I feel for you, small-town ladies.(Jason was also the first real test of my approach to this trip.
I didn't want to come off like I was on a sex-cation — cruising Tinder for a vacation hookup — or attract attention-seekers who’d get off on the idea that I might write about them.
Still, I both got annoyed waiting for him to come to me, and felt guilty over his two-hour commute.
Jason seemed eager for a committed relationship, but I ultimately didn’t see it going anywhere.And then there was Peter, who I met that night in a bar set in the basement of a haunted mansion.He was 34, worked in home restoration, and looked like a guy I’d go for in Brooklyn, with an ample beard and amazing cheekbones.New Bern was named by Market Watch as one of the top coastal towns in the country to retire to, so that leaves young, single people dating in the equivalent of a recycling bin.You will inevitably run into an ex, or many, at one of the town’s three main bars. ’ He ignores me.”New women on the scene tend to be in town for weddings; new guys tend to be Marines, though they’re strictly nonmonogamous, due to a pervasive fear that — I shit you not — any woman who wants a relationship is angling for what’s known among locals as a “contract marriage,” an emotionless ploy to snare access to his good military salary and benefits. Now imagine that feeling multiplied times a tsunami and you’ll know what washed over me when called up to see if I would travel around the country going on dates to find out if location really matters when you’re looking for love.