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But for Robinson, meeting her boyfriend through mutual friends posed its own problems.
“It’s easy to figure out who are the good ones and who are the bad ones real quick,” said Mc Gilvery, 32, a mom and entrepreneur who doesn’t like to waste her time.The percentage of those people with profiles on makes most of the rest of New England look like an online-dating desert.And as for the number of bars per capita – a figure that’s often used to rate the best cities for singles – even nightlife hot spots like Las Vegas and New Orleans can’t hold a cocktail to Portland, where there’s a drinking establishment for every 1,000 residents.As the Old Port’s outdoor patios opened up and singles flooded from their apartments looking for summer love, we aimed to figure out how Portland got its bad rap and whether a good mate is really that hard to find here.Caitlin Cleary and Kelly Robinson, both 23 and in relationships, said they wouldn’t expect to meet someone they want to date at a bar, like Amigo’s, where they shared nachos at happy hour on a recent Thursday.Tim Durbin, 33, called the interconnectedness of the community “a double-edged sword.” Although the singles pool can feel small, he said, when you want to get introduced to someone new, you’re likely to know someone who can help. ALTERNATIVES TO ONLINE DATING Joe Gallant, who’s 27 and single, said he finds it easiest to chat people up at places like music shows or Portland Sea Dogs games – venues that come with conversation topics.
And that’s important in Portland, where striking up a conversation with a stranger is harder than it is in other parts of the country, said Durbin, who’s originally from Maryland and now lives single on Munjoy Hill. That’s the idea behind Local Flames, a new Portland-based dating service that organizes events for singles, from paddling trips to mixology classes.
At a tasting and tour of the Urban Farm Fermentory this month, singles stood around sampling hard cider while chatting with friends, making small talk with strangers and surveying the crowd.
Marc Mc Donald, 34, and Katie Wasowski, 28, talk at Eventide Oyster Co. The couple live together in Portland and have been together since February of 2013.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer Among the young and single, Portland’s dating scene has gotten an unfortunate reputation.
“I’ve been told many times since I moved here that it’s hard to be single here,” said Devin Green, an unattached 31-year-old woman who has been living in the city for about a year.
Long winters, reserved demeanors and inescapable exes are reasons why people say Portland can be a difficult place to date. With more than 15,000 residents ages 20 to 34 and unmarried – about a quarter of the city’s adult population – the concentration of young, single people is about the same in Portland as it is in New York City, and is twice as high as in Maine as a whole.