Denver is the worst city for dating in 2017 because too many Mile High City men make little or no effort when it comes to what they're doing, where they're going or how they dress, speak or act during such outings. In general, these lazy slackers would just as soon hang out with their bros than treat a date like she's special. And while this behavior exasperates plenty of women, most of these potential partners let them get away with it.
That's the conclusion of Brian Howie and the crew behind The Great Love Debate, which describes itself as "a nationally touring series of live Town Hall-style forums on love, dating and relationships." And while Howie, who also hosts The Great Love Debate podcast and will bring the live show back to Denver on December 13 (details below), heaps plenty of abuse on local dudes, he doesn't let females from the area off the hook, either.
"The women have lowered the bar in Denver," says Howie, speaking from a tour stop in Seattle. "They're like, 'Okay, yeah, I guess I'll meet you and your friends for beer and we'll watch the Broncos game.'"
By the way, Howie's comments to us about the findings are very hetero-centric, focusing on men and women instead of other possible combinations — although his observations can certainly be applied to Denver's entire relationship rainbow.
The Great Love Debate rankings honor Milwaukee ("Best City to Find Love"), Dallas ("Most Dateable Women"), Minneapolis ("Most Dateable Men"), Atlanta ("Most Improved City") and Washington, D.C. ("City Most Likely to Get You Engaged") and slaps around Phoenix ("Least Dateable Women") and Philadelphia ("Least Dateable Men").
Howie thought the last burg had the inside track on "Worst Place to Find Love," too. "It was a huge upset, because Philly had won 'Worst Place' the prior two years, and I didn't think there was any hope of anyone ever dethroning Philadelphia. But Denver did it."
This dubious achievement has its roots in Howie's on-the-road research. "We travel all the time," he points out. "We've done, I don't know, something like 300 lives shows in eighty different cities, and we decide to spend a lot of time in ones that have certain elements. The year before, we spent a lot of time in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Chicago. But in 2017, we were like, 'We really need to go do Denver, because something's off there.'"
As a result, he continues, "we've done a show just about every month in Denver this year, and we really talked to the men and the women there. We were trying to figure out why there's such a disconnect. Because Denver seems to have all the elements where good things can happen."
Seattle "is a lot like Denver," Howie maintains, "except that the men in Seattle are frustrated by their inability to communicate with women, and the men in Denver seem indifferent toward their inability to communicate with women — and that didn't make any sense to us. So we really dove into Denver. Besides doing our live shows, we spent a lot of time going around the city and talking to people. And we found it it wasn't one of those cases like in New York or San Francisco or Boston, where the women are difficult or unapproachable or think they're too good. Denver women are pretty much as good as you're going to get. But the men in Denver — and I'm generalizing — are as passive as any we've come across considering what they have there and their ability to do better."
This quality puzzles Howie. "We'd talk to the guys, and they'd be like, 'That's just the way it is here.' And we'd be like, 'What does that mean? I don't understand.' There was so much indifference that it was frustrating to us, and after talking to the women about it, we were like, we need to shine a spotlight on this and maybe shake things up a bit."
One problem with Denver dating, in Howie's view, is the fondness men have for gathering in mostly male packs. "It's like, 'Let's all hang out, and by 11 p.m., maybe somebody will be drunk enough to cross the room.' It's like it was in college, where nobody goes on dates. They just hang out together in groups. But in Denver, men who are in their thirties and forties are acting that way."
Such an approach to socializing is hardly universal, Howie stresses. "We went to Shanghai with The Great Love Debate last year, and we'd see men and women together one on one or two on two all over that city. They don't have Facebook, they don't have Tinder, and they don't have porn, so they're forced to interact with each other. But Denver has so much natural beauty and so many things going on that I think it's made everybody a little lazy. Maybe it's too nice and comfortable and active. Like, 'Let's go on a hike' instead of going on an actual date — and one woman in Denver told us, 'If we really wanted to go hiking, they should serve wine on top of the mountain.'"
Denver men phone it in from a wardrobe perspective, too, Howie's found. "It's the flannel or the John Elway jersey or 'I'm not going to shave for five days.' It's a lack of effort all the way around when it comes to impressing women."
Denver is nicknamed Menver because there are supposedly more single males than single females on the market — and if these stats are accurate, they would seem to motivate guys to try harder. But Howie scoffs at the entire concept. "I keep hearing about Menver, just like I hear about Man Jose when we're in San Jose. That's supposedly why there are these bro packs that you just don't see in the rest of the country. But in Man Jose, they're a bunch of mostly techny nerds who are afraid of women, and the men in Denver aren't afraid of women. They're just lazy about it."
Besides, he continues, "I don't think there really are greater numbers. I think that's an illusion. In every city in the country, it's fifty-fifty between 18 and 65 — and then after 65, the men start to die off. One woman in Atlanta disputed that when I said it: She said, 'No, there are 70,000 more single women in Atlanta than single men.' And I said, 'In a city of five million or whatever it is, that's like .8 percent. It's imperceptible.'"
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For that reason, "I don't think the Menver thing has anything to do with the combination of passiveness and indifference we see in Denver men, and that's really unlike anything in any other city in the country," Howie maintains. "And the women have become resigned to it. They're like, 'That's just the way it is.' They've kind of given up on it ever getting better. They're not angry — which makes them awesome. I mean, I can't believe they're not angry. I do shows in New York once a month, and those women are furious about all sorts of things. So it's not like the guys in Denver are dealing with a lot of bitchy women. The women in Denver are just a little sad."
Acceptance isn't necessarily a good thing, though. "If men aren't trying getting in, they're not going to try when things get a little rough, so that doesn't bode well for the relationship. But men are still getting dates in Denver when they want them — so women need to hold them to a higher standard. I always say that women act and men react. I really believe that — and I think that if women are like, 'Here's what we want you to do. We love you guys, and we think you're awesome. You have so much potential. But you need to do this, this and this' — and if they say that, I think the guys will do it. I think they'll jump through the hoop. They're trainable, but they're not being trained by the women in Denver. So that's partially on them. Actually, it's a lot on them."
According to Howie, "The women of Denver are fantastic, and they're not too demanding. But they're like, 'Take us on a date. Don't take us hiking anymore.' And things can get better. Denver should be the best city for dating in America — but instead, we named it the worst."
The Great Love Debate returns to the Denver Improv, 8246 East 49th Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13. Click for more information.