Maybe it's all the corn?
I've never been particularly good at dating. I'm not what you would call a "people person" and the idea of making awkward small talk while eating or drinking is not what I consider a good time. (Why can't two people just skip to the good parts?) Plus, dating has so many rules. What to wear, what not to wear. What to say, what not to say. What to eat, what not to eat. Oh, and on top of that? I live in the Midwest (Indiana, to be specific) which is its own special kind of torture when it comes to meeting eligible men. Don't believe me? Let me elaborate...
1. Everyone is married. If you're in late 20s/early 30s, be prepared to find a shockingly small pool to wade through. Because here in the Midwest we like to get married and have kids young. In fact, if you tie the knot by the time you're 22, you win a prize! And bonus points if the man/woman you marry is someone you went to highschool with!
2. Congrats, you're a parent! As mentioned above, dating in the Midwest has an end game: marriage and kids. Which is just fine. But it also means that if you haven't yet happened to grab these Game of Life tokens by the time you're 30, there's a very high percentage that whoever you end up dating is already going to have kids. So if you don't fancy yourself a step-mom, you may have to look a little harder
3. Where the tall guys at? Admittedly, this is my own personal hang-up. I prefer to date someone taller than me by at least three inches, and at 5'7", it has been a struggle. Maybe it's just Indiana, but we grow 'em short and sturdy here in my little corner of the Midwest. I recently had a friend move down from Chicago, and I got a text exclaiming, "Everyone is so small!" Maybe it's all the corn?
4. So. Many. Guns. On their online dating profiles, on the back of their trucks, casually tucked into their pants. I may be in the Midwestern minority, but I've never shot a gun. I have no desire to ever shoot a gun. I don't find guns "neat." I don't want to go on a date to the gun range. And I really would like to erase your profile photo of you holding a gun after the "big kill" from my brain. Forever.
5. Everyone knows each other. I call Indianapolis the Big Little because, while it's certainly not New York or Chicago, it's still relatively metroplitan. However, no matter how "big" this city seems sometimes I'm constantly reminded how small it truly is. Someone always knows someone who knows someone who you went to high school or college with. Just the other day Match suggested a man I went to elementary school with. Sometimes it's sweet in a "it's a small world" type of way, but usually I'd just like a fresh crop of guys who haven't been privy to my awkward teen years, beacuse let's face it: Braces are kind to nobody.
6. Dating is a team sport. Think you're in this match-making business alone? Think again. Dating in the Midwest is a team sport. Everyone has an opinion about why you're still single/what type of guy you should be dating/what you should be wearing/where you should be looking. ESPECIALLY if you're over thirty and your poor, aging mother wants a grandbaby.
7. Don't expect to meet a world traveler. I'm not the most well-traveled person, but I have been overseas a handful of times. And that's rare. On most dates, I'm the only one who has traveled outside of the country. And sometimes outside of the state. Traveling IS expensive, but it's a little jarring to meet folks who have never stepped foot outside of Indiana. (Does that sound snobby? It's not.)
8. Welcome to the Bible Belt! Religion is big in the Midwest. But for those of us who don't "do the Jesus," as my godson used to call it, you're not left with many options. Religion is usually a dealbreaker on both sides. Personally, I'd prefer someone who shares my agnostic, please-leave-God-out-of-our-relationship view on things.
9. Being set up is a thing that only happens in the movies. Although dating in the Midwest is a team sport (See #6), the same people who love to talk about your love life usually don't have any prospects for you. Why? See #1: they're taken already. The number of times I've heard, "I'd set you up with someone, but I don't know anyone single!” is comical at this point.
10. The girl/guy ratio is horribly skewed. The single girl to single guy ratio seems to be vastly off balance—in favor of the dudes. Maybe it's the corn again? Whatever it is, there are far more single ladies looking for a partner than there are single men. And that doesn't bode well for broads like me.