Single in Philly: Are You There, Waffles? It’s Me, Christy

From matchmakers to, I set out to chronicle what dating in Philly is like these days. So how did my heart get involved, too?

I’M NOT IN it for the romance. Not really. The matchmaker knew that, and also knew that I had just opened an account on And that I was going speed-dating. And that I was going out with the occasional guy I’d meet on my own. But while the story I was working on was pretty straightforward — What It’s Like To Date in Philadelphia — the research was much less so, because, well, I am single. And new to town. And at age 29, I want what all 29-year-old single women I know want, probably what everyone wants: someone who’ll zip my hard zippers and tromp to Trader Joe’s with me, who’ll split my takeout and be around for kissing whenever I want and share the paper on Sunday mornings. As long as we both shall live.

I have always thought that this person — my person — will walk into my life when fate (not a matchmaker, not a computer) chooses. It wasn’t even so long ago that I thought it had happened, the fate and my person (I was wrong). I’m not enthused to go looking for them, even just to write about, which is what I tell my editor when I say that I’d rather not write this story. “But,” my editor says, “what if your fate exists via a dating service?” “Yeah, fine. Whatever,” I say, knowing he’s not interested in my romantic well-being nearly as much as he’s interested in getting this story — and that he’ll win. “I’ll try it all.” And I will. But I also know that at its core, this will be just another assignment to tread on through, like the time I had to eat at 21 Mexican restaurants in eight days. Hopefully with less physical discomfort.

By the time this piece is done, I will have been to coffee bars and liquor bars and restaurants and bowling alleys, logged dozens of hours online, read hundreds of e-mails, changed my online profile four times, changed my online photos twice, lost track of how many times I changed my outfit, and managed to meet a few good men. All in the name of work. Or love. Or in the name of working toward love. Or whatever.


WHEN MY MOM — who is an even stronger advocate of Project Date than my editor — met my father, she was 19. By 21, she was married, and by the time she was my age, she was a mother. They’re still married, my parents, and I hope I eventually land in a relationship that’s as filled with good things as theirs.

These are details I might have put in my profile, but I don’t. They seem too earnest, too intimate, to toss out there for all the Internet to ogle. Instead, I keep it simple. Or, more accurately, I try to seem as if I’m keeping it simple, while in fact composing four short paragraphs takes me half a workday. In the end, I say this: I’m new to Philly; I’m from Tennessee; I like music, food, and men who know at least a little about a lot of things.