Finding Love in Austin

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When I received my new issue of Marie Claire, I flipped right to the article “Where the Guys Are”. “Quit looking for love in all the wrong places!” After researching census data to find the cities with the highest ratio of available men to women and factoring all things that make dating fun: availability of bars, coffee shops and the general fitness and aesthetic appeal of residents, they came up with the Top 20 US cities for man-catching. I love this kind of useful information. Living in San Antonio, Texas, the pickins are pretty slim (but maybe that is because I say things like “pickins”). I loved being in New York and seeing a variety of men at every corner. It seemed obvious to me that New York City was a great place to meet guys. So you can imagine my shock when reading the article I noticed not one, but three Texas cities listed in the Top 20. Not only were there three Texas cities listed, but all three were ranked higher than NYC. Blasphemy! I had to check this out for myself. Seeing that my neighbor to the north, Austin, hit the list at number 5, I thought it was only necessary to take a little day trip to ATX and check out the manscape for myself. Ah, the things I do in the name of research.

Now I have been to Austin before, many times even, and always liked the city. Once to check out UTs campus and immediately ruled it out as too large for my liking. I have been to the capitol building and on 6th street for general bar-hopping and for New Year’s Eve on two occasions (although 1 would have sufficed). My brother even played shows there when he was a drummer in a band. Still, I had never just walked around and enjoyed all that Austin has to offer. I decided to do just that (and some general man-hunting) yesterday. I hit up SoCo, which stands for South Congress. Now let me just state for the record that most cities that imitate NYC just annoy me. I mean SoCo as the “it” place in ATX for boutiques? Quit trying to be like SoHo. But that is just the thing, Austin isn’t trying to be like anything. In fact, SoCo and SoHo couldn’t be more different aside from their practical abbrevs. SoCo exudes a sort of low key, understated vintage coolness. It is more Brooklyn than lower Manhattan. I mean you would never find Airstream trailers selling snow cones and cupcakes on the corner of Prince and Mercer. Home Slice Pizza sits across the street from brand new lofts, condos and fashionable boutiques. There is a mixture of locals and tourists. Photographers capturing art with their thousand dollar equipment and families snapping up pictures next to renowned costume shop, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds.

Hotties from all walks of life, styles and ethnicities roamed the streets. This was refreshing compared to the sea of sameness I gaze upon every happy hour in San Antonio. Bungalows with white picket fences sat next to modern cube homes as I drove through the tree filled hills of central Austin. Heading north on Congress, you can see straight ahead to the Capitol building which is quite beautiful. Driving over the bridge and gazing upon guys running along the banks and kayakers in the water, I made a mental note to return here after finding some food. Instead of dealing with finding parking in downtown Austin on a Saturday afternoon, I headed for the Whole Foods where I made a perfect picnic lunch of salad, fruit and fresh lemonade. I of course checked out the organic hotties with their ironic tee shirts, cargo shorts and TOMS shoes before heading back to the waterside for lunch.

I sat my blanket down by the banks and dressed in my sundress and straw fedora, I felt like a local. I could live in Austin, I thought to myself. Then my attention was drawn to something flying into the middle of the water. Before I realized what it was, an adorable chocolate lab dove in after it. I watched the dog swim gleefully toward its target in the middle of the water, capture it and bring it back to the banks. Then I saw him: my future husband. Ok, so that may be a bit dramatic. But either way, this guy stole my attention, at least for the remainder of my lunch. There is something about a man bonding with his dog that makes me want to get married and turn into a domestic goddess. I sat there in my dream world and built an entire fantasy around that man. I felt that he looked like a Brian or Brandon and that his dogs name was probably Bailey or something that a suburban yuppie couple would name their child. He looked so wholesome and safe, just like his dog. I imagined that he would find my neurosis endearing and we would live happily ever after in one of those bungalows with a white picket fence near SoCo with our matching Volvos dressed in J. Crew.

Even though I never met that guy, for that short period of time, I could imagine myself one day finding a guy that I would enjoy being around for more than just a couple of hours. I didn’t feel hopeless in love as I often feel in San Antonio. Perhaps there is something to that article I read and I should spend a little more time in Austin.

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    • Jessica
    • July 30th, 2009

    Wow. I absolutely identify with you about San Antonio. I’ve been living here for about a year for school and the culture shock was almost too much for me. Going from Dallas/Fort Worth for undergrad (I think we went to the same school, according to mutual friends/associates) to here almost sent me over the edge. I can only imagine how different it is from NYC. Everyday there was a new situation that made me mutter “What is wrong with this town?”. But now that the initial shock has worn off, I can appreciate how much good it has to offer. I had no idea that it was quite the little hub for the all things cultural and artisitic. Granted, it’s not my culture (which may have been more of an issue than I can really admit to right now), but I like learning about different people so it’s okay. Thanks for helping validate my initial feelings; it’s not just me!

    • wittybitch
    • August 2nd, 2009

    You’re welcome! It is certainly a change. I have lived in SA for nearly 10 years on and off and I still am not quite used to it nor do I wish to live here forever. In the meantime though, I am learning to appreciate the city’s little gems and it helps to know that Austin is only an hour away. 🙂

  1. Oh, my, my! I love your blog. I love the way your write. Next time you come up, I’ll meet you on SoCo for some trailer goodies (I have an addiction to sno cones) and some very serious but very whimsical thrifting.

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