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What happened to 'Menver'? Denver daters say finding love is getting harder

Megan Ulu-Lani Boyanton, The Denver Post on

Published in Lifestyles

DENVER — Much to the chagrin of single Denverites, the city’s nationally-recognized nickname, “Menver” — an allusion to the number of available men, ready for relationships — hasn’t withstood the test of time.

One of the earliest mentions of the Menver phenomenon was a 2006 Westword column raving about the male surplus. That still held true eight years later when Pew Research Center crowned Denver as the No. 2 metro area with the highest ratio of employed single men to single women.

But the romance appears to be over. While the city’s population breaks down statistically as 49.5% female, according to U.S. Census Bureau data (which notably doesn’t track nonbinary identities), dozens of singles of different genders, ages and sexualities told The Denver Post that their experiences dating men have predominantly fallen flat since the COVID-19 pandemic. And the popularity of dating apps, including Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, hasn’t helped by mechanizing the process.

Most Denverites are certain the problem is contained within city boundaries, but dating experts from other parts of the country confirm that now is a difficult time for romance across the board. Still, not all hope is lost: A WalletHub study on best and worst cities for singles placed Denver as third best out of almost 200 cities, falling behind Seattle and Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the bottom three were Plano, Texas; Gilbert, Ariz.; and Fremont, Calif.

Ashley Hughes, 38, remembers when the city’s Menver reputation proved to be true, with “a lot [of men] to choose from.” The North Dakota native first moved to Denver in 2011 at 25 years old. “Back in my 20s, dating was way easier,” Hughes said in a phone interview. “I probably should have taken it more serious.”

Then, Hughes — a straight and single woman — would go out with friends, and get courted by men who would ask them on dates. “As I got older, people do not approach you anymore,” she said. “The effort is so low.”

 

Since 2020, she’s noticed a degradation of the dating scene. Years of isolation negatively impacted people’s social skills, Hughes said. She intermittently uses the apps, but, ultimately, blames them for making interactions with potential suitors more ingenuine.

“Man, if apps could go away for just a little bit, people might actually speak to each other again,” Hughes said.

While her friends living elsewhere in the U.S. also experience dating woes, Hughes said it’s a constant topic of conversation among Denver women.

One day, she’d like to marry a conversational, open-minded and reliable man. “I move back to the Midwest; I could probably get married right away,” Hughes laughed.

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