Looking for Love
"I hear it all the time," Oprah says. "People say this to me, 'Can you help me meet a man?' This show is my effort to do the best I can to help you."
With so many women in need of help finding men, Oprah sought professional help on the subject. The Oprah Winfrey Show teamed up with Men's Health magazine for an exclusive survey to find the best cities in America to meet single guys who are 35 and older.
David Zinczenko—editor in chief of Men's Health and author of the book Men, Love, & Sex: The Complete User's Guide for Women —says, "We crunched the numbers every which way—up and down, all around—and tried to find the best way to up your chances of finding men who are single, who are smart, who are emotionally available, who are straight."
- San Jose, California: With 300 sunny days a year and plenty of outdoor activities close at hand, men in San Jose have a built-in incentive to stay in shape, David says. And because it's the hub of Silicon Valley, San Jose is full of intelligent, driven, wealthy men. "And it's so ethnically diverse. If you want to sample from a wide menu … go to San Jose," he says.
- Salt Lake City: This stunningly beautiful city is rich with culture and full of educated men. Plus, your odds are outstanding. "The male-female ratios are great there," David says. "It's like one and a half guys to every woman—so you've got the guy and his better half."
- Arlington, Texas: David says Arlington tops the survey in "chemistry-building activities" like rollerblading, biking and kayaking—which make for perfect ice-breaking dates. It's also number one in philanthropy and has a low divorce rate.
- Raleigh, North Carolina: This city in North Carolina's Research Triangle is sometimes called the Smithsonian of the South. In addition to the impressive brain power, Raleigh is also close to the beach and the mountains. "There's so much to do there," David says.
- San Francisco: While this city is known for being gay-friendly, that doesn't mean it's not a great place to meet straight men, too. "It has a world-class mix of art and culture. You do have a lot of gay men, but you have a lot of single men as well," David says. "Men in San Francisco are among the fittest and among the most highly educated."
Did your city make Men's Health's top 20?
In Raleigh, Gayle meets Katina—who's 34, single and has lived in the Raleigh area for five years. Is she surprised that her city is one of the best in America for meeting single men?
"Absolutely," she says. "Because I have not been able to find them."
Their first stop is a farmers' market. While some women might take this—and any other errands, such as running out to get the paper or a gallon of milk—as an opportunity to wear bleach-stained sweatpants and oversized T-shirts, Steve says they should instead treat it as a potential time to meet guys. Instead of dressing like a "shlumpadinka," Steve says you should leave the house looking great. What does Steve consider an appropriate errand outfit? "A little lip gloss, a cute T-shirt, some nice jeans."
Gayle and Katina disagree, saying that an errand doesn't need to be fashion show. Steve's response is clear and direct. "Men are always looking," he says. "Therefore, you always have to be ready to be looked at if you want to meet a guy."
Steve also says women shouldn't be afraid to make the first move. If you see someone you are interested in just walk up and start talking to him…you don't need to introduce yourself. "Say, 'What are you doing at the farmers' market? Do you really know how to cook?' And then if he says he knows how to cook, say, 'What do you think a sexy meal is?' You want to come across as a little bit naughty, a little bit playful. It's not being forward, it's being proactive."
Katina tries the forward approach on Lemont. Does it work? "It's actually better," Lemont says. "I prefer [being approached] because we don't have to worry about being rejected."
Katina tries Steve's advice and approaches Dave as he's teeing off. "How are you doing? Can you show me how to hit the ball?" she asks.
Dave says it feels good to be approached at the driving range. "I mean, you can go to a bar and you may not get hit on at all," he says. "You come out here, the place that you least expect it, and somebody comes up to you."
"That doesn't feel contrived to you?" Gayle asks.
"Even if it did, it's kind of one of those things that you hope would happen," Dave says.
In this store, not all aisles are created equal. Steve says you'll most likely find the single men in the sections with lumber, screws and hinges. Women, meanwhile, tend to stick to the paint section.
One important thing to remember when you're shopping for your own Mr. Fix-It is to leave your cell phone behind. If you're constantly on the phone, Steve says, "A guy might see you and he goes, 'How am I going to talk to her?'"
"Even if you're feeling insecure, if you walk [into a room] shoulders back, head held high, thinking, 'I'm hot. I'm a great woman. I can have anybody in here.' We pick up on it," he says. "Ultimately, we're all animals. It's the law of attraction."
Although Gayle says she was skeptical when she first met Steve, she did walk away with some practical tips. Most importantly, she says she learned that landing a good man is not about playing games.
"It's street smarts," Steve says. "You're all stuck in holding patterns. You're being judged by yourself [and] by all the women's magazines telling you, you have to be a certain way. … We don't want you that way. We just want you as women."
Most are still hopeful that they'll eventually meet "the one." Kyla says she still believes she'll be a bride. "I've got to enjoy these times by myself and learn who I am so that the day that I am married, my husband won't feel that he picked up the desperate girl that was left at the sale rack after all the good stuff was gone," she says.
Elisa, a 35-year-old, says she always assumed she would get married. Then, when she turned 30 and still hadn't met Mr. Right, she began to worry. "It's difficult at first because you do start to think, 'Maybe it is me,'" she says.
Finding a man isn't the only thing these women worry about. "I'm 39 and it's scary because I want children," Lisa says. "I hear that clock ticking and ticking and ticking. … I'm worried I'm going to grow old by myself."
Find out more about these single women!
Steve, who is 43 years old, assures the women that their male counterparts will come around. "We go through this thing as guys … all of a sudden we come to this realization that women in their 30s and 40s are actually better women to be with," he says. "That's the truth. All of a sudden you're dating some girl [who's] 39 [and you think], 'Wow, I can talk to her. I can have dinner with her. She's fantastic and she's sexy and she's got some resonance to her.'"
Women may think it's easy for guys to make the first move, but the men say that's not the case. All four guys say they are afraid of rejection. "I'm convinced every time I've asked a woman out, she's actually asked me out first in some subtle way," Stephen says.
Bates says women don't need to approach guys they find attractive. All they need to do is make eye contact.
"If a man is wired in, he knows when a woman is interested without you being so overt about it," Ryan says.
Another thing guys say they're looking for is physical attraction. "I was in couples counseling years ago and the therapist said, 'Did you feel a spark?' And I said, 'No,'" Bates says. "He said, 'You've got to feel a spark.'"
"My dad used to tell me if you're the only person who thinks your woman looks good, you've got a problem," Ryan says.
Vince, a doctor, has trouble finding the right women and finding time to date. This wouldn't be an issue if Vince found his perfect match, Steve says. "We always find time for women—if the right girl comes along."
Kathy says she dated alcoholics and bar brawlers for years. Then, after being involved in an abusive relationship, she says she realized it was time to work on herself and take back the power.
"Something in me agreed with what [the abusive boyfriend] was saying about me. Something in me wanted to do that dance. So I knew if I wanted to stop doing that dance, I had to shift the energy inside of me," she says. "That's exactly what happened. I was no longer attracted to that darkness, to that negativity. I became someone who was happy, who was light, who was kind, and I respected myself."
Get Kathy's 10 rules to live and love by.
After Kathy's realization, she was set up on a blind date with Tom Freston, the former CEO of Viacom. They were married in 1998. "When I saw my husband from across the room, he was happy. … There was a good energy around him," she says. "A few years earlier, I wouldn't have been attracted to that. I wouldn't have even seen him, and he certainly wouldn't have noticed me because we were at different places. … Energy is like water. It seeks its own level. So when I had brought my energy up after all the work I did on myself, we were able to meet and we resonated."
Kathy says there's a soul mate out there for everyone and there's one thing you can do to find him or her. "Find peace with yourself," she says. "Wherever you are, whoever you are right now, learn to love it. Accept it."