I settled on saying I was “considering moving” to each city; a white lie, but one that seemed to elicit much more respectful and normal interactions.
I’ve changed all the guys' names.)The bar scene, on the other hand, was a blast, at least as the new girl in town.
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.
From what I could glean, the local servers, bartenders, and chefs in town just sleep with one another.
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.
“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.
Brittany, a 26-year-old waitress, tells me that when she joined Tinder, all her friends called her “Tinderella” because it was so weird to be on it. People love to blame Tinder for hookup culture, but Becky joined because she was looking for the opposite.
Her dad even paid for her to try with her location set to Raleigh because he doesn’t like the guys where she lives — but no one wants to drive two hours for a date.
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.