WASHINGTON – When Cumberland bartender Stephanie Scaletta and her friends want a date, they go to another state where their odds are better. Literally.
A recent report by the Census Bureau confirms what some women in Maryland may have feared: There were only 79 bachelors for every 100 single women in the state in 2000, the worst ratio in the nation.
The nationwide average is 86 single men over age 15 for every 100 unmarried women of the same age. The report was based on data from the 2000 census and included men and women who were divorced, widowed or never married, but not those who were separated from their spouses.
“It sucks,” said Scaletta, 23, who tends bar at Brewski’s. “I have very few single girlfriends and the ones I do have — we go out of town, preferably the state, when we want to date.”
The situation is even worse for Scaletta and her friends in Western Maryland than it is in the state as a whole. The Census Bureau said there are just 75 men for every 100 women in Cumberland, 14th-worst of the 260 metropolitan areas in the nation that the bureau surveys.
“There’s not a lot of selection,” said Beverly Bitten, a single, 28-year-old waitress at Harrigan’s Lounge in Cumberland. “The good ones are already taken so you get stuck with the folks you don’t really want.”
Scaletta attributes the dearth of available men to the trend of marrying young in the area and the lack of job opportunities there.
But the situation is not limited to Western Maryland. Women across the state tell the same sad story.
“I can definitely tell that there’s less men than women,” said Carrie Sturgeon, 26, who tends bar at the popular Seacrets in Ocean City. “The attitudes of the men (who come into the bar) are completely different because there are so many women for them to choose from.
“I think they’re a lot more cocky and feel that they can get away with a lot more,” Sturgeon said. “And, I feel that women dress a lot more provocatively . . . because it is so hard to attract men.”
Hard, but not impossible, said Tommy “The Matchmaker” Curtis of the Yacht Club of Bethesda. Curtis, who claims to have had a hand in 156 marriages and engagements from the club, said there is hope for single women in Maryland, despite the odds.
The first step, he said, is to leave the house. “You’re not going to meet someone if you stay home and order a pizza,” he said.
Next, he said, find somewhere to go, pointing to political campaigns and the upcoming holidays — “Beg, borrow and steal to go to all Christmas parties” — as good places to meet new people. And those who are too shy to make the rounds alone should take a friend or try online dating.
But Curtis’ tips don’t trump the numbers.
Scaletta and her friends may be on to something by crossing state lines in search of a good date — even if the odds are only a little bit better.
While Maryland has 79 available men to every 100 single women, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia have 80 bachelors per 100 bachelorettes, according to the Census. West Virginia is slightly better at 82 to 100 and Virginia is positively virile at 85 to 100.
But Maryland women can really improve the odds with a short road trip: A little more than 100 miles up U.S. Route 220 from Cumberland lies State College, Pa., the land of 105 men to 100 women.