Of Mice and Menver

Rachel "Silly Gilly" Gillis and her friends are twenty-something transplants who moved to Denver in pursuit of mountain views, sun-drenched skies and a lively singles' scene. They found all three, and now have an affectionate nickname for their new home: Menver.

Soon after she moved to West Washington Park, Gillis described her neighborhood bar, the Candle Light Tavern, "a.k.a the man-delight," on her myspace page. "The ratio is absurd," she wrote. "Oh. Wait. That's all of Denver. MENVER. If you are a guy I feel bad, just don't leave."

A night out with Rachel and her friends at Govnr's Park offers a fast look at life in Menver. As soon as Silly Gilly and her roommate, Annie, walk in, they spot two former suitors. Annie wasn't that into her old beau, who broke up with her via a text message: "Let's just be friends." Rachel's erstwhile love connection asked for another girl's number right in front of her. Within minutes, another guy walks in who won't stop calling Rachel even though she's already let him down. But these women don't mind sifting through the masses. There's just something about a long-haired, unshaven "Colorado mountain man" they can't resist. And besides, in Menver, there are always more men.



Dozens of myspace profiles and blogs -- written by grateful women and frustrated men alike -- will attest to that.

But after GQ dropped a reference to "Menver" last month, Off Limits finally decided to investigate whether the numbers actually support the nickname. And judging from U.S. Census projections for 2006, they don't. This year, in the 20-to-39-year-old age group, the ratio is 53 percent male, 47 percent female in Denver County. Throw in the other six counties in the metro area, and the sexes are even more equal: about 52 percent male, 48 percent female.

That's not a huge gender gap, but try telling bartenders around town that the Menver name doesn't hold up. "It can be a bit of a sausagefest," says Keli Hanley, a bartender at Govnr's Park. "If you're picking up guys, it's great." And it's not bad for the female-dominated staff, either.

At the Celtic Tavern and the Sports Column in LoDo, there are always more men than women. Ditto at the Atomic Cowboy on East Colfax, where a beautiful brunette bartender smiles when asked if she's ever heard the Menver nickname. "I think you'll find that all over," she says. "It seems like the population of Denver is more men."

Across the street at the Goosetown Tavern, a regular is sipping a pint and smoking a Camel as he laments the fact that there are so few women in the bar, when the male/female ratio is much more even next door at Mezcal. "I keep saying I'm going to go over there because it's where all the women are," he says, "but they treat me so much better here."

Hey, bucko, are you a man or a mouse?

Keeping Menver on its toes: Last week, someone with a very long arm (or a really big ladder) vandalized one of the giant aliens -- a sculpture officially known as "Dancers," by Jonathan Borofsky -- cavorting outside the Denver Performing Arts Complex. While art aficionados and pranksters alike have long fantasized about dolling up those public-art duds -- with a couple of very big pairs of shoes during the NBA All-Stars game, for example -- the piece's location beside busy Speer Boulevard has discouraged more ambitious makeovers.

But then, it didn't take much artistry to smack a smear of red-brown paint in the crotch of one of the dancers, as an unknown vandal did last week. Still, thanks to the rain, the icky splotch remained for several days.

"It's happened in the past," Rudi Cerri of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs said of taggers who've made their mark on "Dancers." "We have a big, five-gallon can of white paint and have been really, really good about covering it. But this time it's taking us a little longer because it's wet out there. We're hoping to get it done first thing Monday."

And they did. The city worked even faster to tidy up a far more popular public artwork, "I See What You Mean," Lawrence Argent's big blue bear outside of the Colorado Convention Center, which also got hit by a splat of paint last week.

And someone pulled a sneak attack on Sears -- and some 11 million people -- right before the Cherry Creek Sneak on Sunday, April 20, ensuring that anyone who passed along First Avenue saw a giant, scrawled "Illegal Mexicans Go Home" on a store window. Despite complaints from racers and shoppers alike, the graffiti wasn't removed until the next day.

Scene and herd: In its May issue, Men's Journal lists the five "Adventure Capitals" around the world -- and in this country, only San Francisco makes the cut. Among that city's adventurous attributes? Being the home of the mountain bike. But that will come as news -- unpleasant news -- to Crested Butte, the Colorado town that not only makes the same claim, but is home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

And speaking of fame: Paul Rodriguez made the scene at the Paladium last Saturday night, after the Latin Kings of Comedy show. No joke.

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