Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Only Living for the Nightlife


This tweet from Fox Baltimore brings up a topic I know nothing about: being single in Columbia. I was single in Columbia for about five months. During that time I was mostly planning my wedding, so, that doesn’t count. 

With Columbia being named the 'safest city' for the 5th year in a row, it comes as no surprise that the city ranks third to last in nightlife options per capita.

Despite my lack of experience in this area, I found something odd about the assertion here. Basically, you can either be “safe” or have a thriving nightlife. 


Even better is the title of the article itself. “Sucks to be single in these U.S. cities, study finds” Nia Fitzhugh, Fox Baltimore  

Oh, brother. 

BALTIMORE (WBFF) — With nearly 50% of all U.S. adults being single and the average date costing over $90, WalletHub released its report on 2022’s Best & Worst Cities for Singles, Monday.

The study compared 182 cities across the country, utilizing 36 key indicators of dating-friendliness to determine where singles have the highest chance of finding love. The data set ranges from the share of the population that is single to the number of online dating opportunities to the average price for a two-person meal.

Ah, WalletHub, our old friend. The almighty survey mechanism giveth it and taketh away, it seems. Out of 182 cities examined, Columbia came in at 174. Baltimore did better, at 138. But not by all that much. 

I don’t dispute that Columbia may be lacking in the kind of nightlife that the WalletHub study was looking for. I do take a dim view of this:

With Columbia being named the 'safest city' for the 5th year in a row, it comes as no surprise that the city ranks third to last in nightlife options per capita.

If you follow that argument to its logical conclusion, you would expect to find that the top-ranked cities in the nightlife study are high-crime areas.

Best Cities for Singles:

  • Seattle, WA
  • Madison, WI
  • Denver, CO
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Portland, OR
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Austin, TX
  • Honolulu, HI
  • San Diego, CA
  • Atlanta, GA

Well, they very likely do have more crime than Columbia on account of being substantially larger. More crime per capita - - who knows? My point is that this is a specious argument in the first place. And something feels a bit smug about it, too.

“Well, you can’t expect to be a magnet for singles if you’ve been named the safest city for the fifth year in a row…”

I pity the poor Howard Hughes Corporation executives who must live with this dichotomy. Like the old-school cartoons, on one shoulder is an angel with a halo saying, “Safest City in America!” and on the other shoulder is a Devil with a pitchfork, intoning, “It sucks to be single in Columbia!” 

None of this matters if you don’t place much significance in the pronouncements of WalletHub. If you’re in the business of marketing it’s a bit more difficult. If you live by the WalletHub you shall die by the WalletHub, I suppose.

I guess what bugs me the most about this reporter’s take on the facts is that it reinforces a point of view I’ve heard invoked locally time and time again. 

We didn’t come here for the nightlife. If you want nightlife, go somewhere else. Don’t turn Columbia into Baltimore. 

There’s always the unspoken suggestion that having a more vibrant nightlife brings crime. And, you know, “those people.” 

In my opinion we don’t need reinforcement of that attitude from Fox News Baltimore. We have more than enough here already.

What do you think? Is the reporter justified in linking the two studies for the purposes of the article? Does it suck to be single in Columbia, Maryland? What does “nightlife” mean to you?

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