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To be in constant chase is exhausting, and to repeat it, at ’s behest, every 48 to 72 hours in six very different U. I’d estimate that 85 percent of the profiles I saw, with my radius set at 30 miles around New Bern, featured guns, military uniforms (there are two bases nearby), Confederate flags, mentions of God, or all of the above.

“I definitely assume everyone is a Republican,” Becky, a 26-year-old elementary school teacher and Democrat who dates all political persuasions, told me.

Things move so fast in New York that I only recently stopped to ask myself how I’d wound up here, over 35 and still single, but not always wanting to be. I’d already crossed the fuck-it-something's-got-to-give threshold of my New York dating life. If this trip had been a blind date, I would’ve walked out of the bar the second I saw New Bern’s offerings, via a terrifying night of Tindering.

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Her dad even paid for her to try with her location set to Raleigh because he doesn’t like the guys where she lives — but no one wants to drive two hours for a date.

So for now she’s in a friends-with-benefits thing with a New Bern bouncer.

You will inevitably run into an ex, or many, at one of the town’s three main bars. ’ He ignores me.”New women on the scene tend to be in town for weddings; new guys tend to be Marines, though they’re strictly nonmonogamous, due to a pervasive fear that — I shit you not — any woman who wants a relationship is angling for what’s known among locals as a “contract marriage,” an emotionless ploy to snare access to his good military salary and benefits.

Becky told me about a Marine she stopped dating after he told her he was “using a penis pump to get bigger for girls.” Now she sees him out and about all the time. “Unfortunately, New Bern does have that reputation,” says Natasha, a bartender, 29, “that most chicks in this town are trying to get pregnant to trap a guy.” Almost no one I met dates online, which makes sense: If you live in a small town, chances are you like a tight community where everyone knows your name, rather than internet strangers.

I didn't want to come off like I was on a sex-cation — cruising Tinder for a vacation hookup — or attract attention-seekers who’d get off on the idea that I might write about them.

I settled on saying I was “considering moving” to each city; a white lie, but one that seemed to elicit much more respectful and normal interactions.

“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.

Brittany, a 26-year-old waitress, tells me that when she joined Tinder, all her friends called her “Tinderella” because it was so weird to be on it. People love to blame Tinder for hookup culture, but Becky joined because she was looking for the opposite.

There was no news of an official wedding, with Simon later saying they had no definite plans though they had married "in cyberspace" through Skype.

That’s the feeling that rises up in my throat whenever anyone asks me the totally non-condescending question of why I’m still single, which I’ve answered so many times in so many tones (“Just haven't met the right guy, I guess! There was the guy who kept taking calls from a number he’d labeled “Happy Happy Fun Time,” which turned out to be his drug dealer.

Simon had said he first saw Luisa in a CSS video on television and sent her a "flirty myspace message" before they had met.