Q: If Carrie had trouble finding sex in the big city, imagine my trouble finding a man in Reno! The men I meet are washed-up high school Hall of Famers or your typical dog with nothing but sex on the brain. I'm in a rut. The right guy is out there. Why is it so hard to find him? — Jacqui, Nevada
A: First of all, Carrie had a roomful of writers making sure she always had a man (or at least a funny story about why she didn't have a man), so like single women everywhere, you're at a slight disadvantage being nonfictional.
Given that you don't have anybody brainstorming love interests for Season 6 of The Jacqui Show, I think you're doing pretty well. After all, a has-been is better than a never-was, and men who are interested only in sex are preferable to men who are interested only in, say, Doritos. But I get it: You're hoping there are other options.
Let's talk about the problem of meeting men in your city (a favorite national pastime for single women). Reno is a gambling mecca, and gambling requires more losers than winners, but after you've been dating a decade or two, any city can feel like it has more losers than winners.
You know who does meet Mr. Right? The New Girl. I'm sure you're familiar with this phenomenon. You've lived someplace for years, you're feeling very "been there, done him," then a female friend moves to town and before you can say, "This is where I get my hair cut," she's been on four dates and collected seven party invitations. She's not better than you. She's just newer. So that's what you need to do, Jacqui: Be the New Girl.
I'm not saying you have to move, although moving certainly shakes things up. But you could also act as if you've moved and get the same results, no Bubble Wrap required.
I had a single friend who moved to Los Angeles from New York, and since she didn't know many people, she decided to say yes to every invitation. That's how she ended up on a bus to Pioneertown with a bunch of folks dressed as pirates. There are so many reasons to say no to that offer ("We're going by bus?"), but my friend not only had a surprisingly good time; she firmly established herself as game, and more invitations (requiring no peg leg or parrot) came pouring in. Within months of her arrival, she had great prospects and great stories.
I had another friend who moved to Los Angeles for three months while on leave from a high-stress consulting job. After filling her time with volunteer work, daily beach runs, and watercolor classes, she exuded such a happy, healthy openness, she met men in line for coffee! Her final night she had two first date offers, and the one she accepted led to a permanent move to Los Angeles, marriage, and three kids.
Thinking about these women, I realized you don't have to be new in town to act new in town. You just have to try new things. Check out local concerts and farmers' markets. Find a new route to work, a new coffee place. Say yes to every invitation. And don't do things to meet men; do things that intrigue, delight, or challenge you. Take singing lessons, flower arranging, salsa dancing, trapeze, French. Be the New Girl in a photography class, a running club, a Habitat for Humanity build. A new kind of guy might be attracted to the New Girl you become, but more important, you might love the New You. And that's sexy in any city.
Cindy Chupack is the author of The Between Boyfriends Book (St. Martin's Griffin).