16 Main Line eligibles worthy of a front-row seat.
(pictured, left to right)
Tara Sherwin, 28, West Chester, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: I spend a lot of time in West Chester; it has a great bar and restaurant scene.
Best way to meet someone: When it comes to meeting people, I’m completely old-fashioned, I’d rather meet by chance than be set up or, even worse, meet on the Internet.
Ideal mate: A sense of humor is a must. Beyond that, charm, athleticism, intelligence—and he must love his mother, too.
Date deal-breaker: Poor manners. I’m also not a fan of big-talking know-it-all’s.
Favorite pastimes: I’m a total tomboy. I love all sports and anything competitive.
Thing she wishes she were good at: Golf. All sales reps should know how to play—and I’m not one of them yet.
Favorite way to unwind: I hit the gym and then the bar for a nightcap.
Most exciting thing she’s ever done: Base-jumping off the top of Aspen Mountain.
Rebecca Thoeny, 29, Wayne, Registered Nurse (Drug Safety Associate), ICON Clinical Research
Favorite places on the Main Line to meet someone: Any of the bars and restaurants in downtown Wayne; Philadelphia Sports Club in Radnor.
Hardest thing about being single: It seems to become more difficult with age. Also, the “rules” and “games” of dating make it difficult. If you’re interested, act interested. Don’t wait three days to call, or say you’ll call and then don’t. Ideal mate: Sense of humor, intelligent, honest,
open-minded, easygoing and outgoing.
Daily habit she wouldn’t want to break: Pressing snooze multiple times.
Website she visits daily: Perezhilton.com.
Things she wishes she were good at: Quick comebacks and delivering one-liners.
Favorite way to unwind: A hot bath and a glass of wine.
Celeb she’d love to date: Johnny Depp.
Dann Furia, 28, Haverford, Rapper “Skip-Dawg” and Owner, Ivy League Tutoring
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: While watching live music at Milkboy Café. Ideal mate: Someone who’s accomplished yet modest, who’s not only intelligent but also pays attention to what’s going on in the world.
Date deal-breaker: Arrogance.
Where you’ll find him on a Friday or Saturday night: I spend a lot of nights performing at venues throughout Philadelphia and the suburbs. Daily habit he wouldn’t want to break: I’m an avid texter.
Something most people don’t know about him: My childhood dream was to become a stuntman. TV show he’s embarrassed to admit he watches: Reno 911.
Best way to prove you’re interested in him: Send a venti chai latte my way. Celeb he’d love to date: Natalie Portman or Amy Smart.
Jonathan Wright, 26, Downingtown, Independent Insurance Agent and Co-Owner, The Wright Agency
Best way to meet someone: I usually like meeting girls through friends. That way it’s not a completely random introduction.
Hardest thing about being single: Getting the courage to make the first move in a social setting.
Ideal mate: Serious and intelligent, but also with a great sense of humor. She’d have to be somewhat domestic, because I am seriously lacking in that department.
Date deal-breaker: Talking about ex-boyfriends and trying to make me jealous by texting or talking on the phone to other guys.
Hobbies: Sports cars and exotic cars are my passion. I enjoy driving, racing, modifying, detailing and just being around fast cars.
Thing he wishes he were good at: Cooking.
Something most people don’t know about him: That I’m a neat-freak.
Celeb he’d love to date: Carrie Underwood.
(pictured, left to right)
Austin Saylor, 35, Bala Cynwyd, Graphic Designer/Entrepreneur
Great first date: Something low-key—like drinks or a museum. It should be all about the conversation. Ideal mate: Cute, gobs of personality and dynamic.
Date deal-breaker: If I have to do all the conversational heavy-lifting, I get exhausted.
Where you’ll find him on a Friday or Saturday night: In downtown Philly at various locations, trying not to act like myself at 25, but still not being recognized as a 35 year old.
Daily habit he wouldn’t want to break: I’m fortunate that I get to take a power nap or two during the day.
Website he visits daily: Pitchforkmedia.com (for music) and Coudal.com (for inspiration and distraction).
Hobbies: I’m a pretty avid hiker and trail runner.
Celeb he’d love to date: Winona Ryder.
Danielle Friel, 30, West Chester, Event and Marketing Coordinator, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant and Co-Owner, Oh, Baby! Maternity + Nursery at The Lily Pad
Hardest thing about being single: The unknown—isn’t that the scariest part of anything? It’s scary to be single and not know if you’ll be that way forever.
Great first date: Just drinks. You can start there and go on if you want, or you can call it a “nice to meet you” night after one or two and go home.
Ideal mate: Tall, dark and handsome, of course, and a gentlemen first and foremost. Favorite pastime: Running—I’ve run two marathons.
Thing she wishes she were good at: Discipline is not my strong suit. I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of girl.
Favorite way to unwind after a stressful day: I’d like to say a good long run, but that would be a lie. I genuinely enjoy going out with friends. Cocktails and a gossip session is the absolute best way to end a stressful day.
Kalyn Harmer, 27, Wayne, Physician Liaison, MLH Imaging
Best way to meet someone: Randomly is the best way. Set-ups become awkward with the person that set you up if it doesn’t work out. Through mutual friends is great when everyone gets together; there is no pressure.
Hardest thing about being single: It feels like everyone is a couple already.
Ideal mate: Sweet, funny, thoughtful and tall. Date deal-breaker: Not having a door opened for me.
Thing she wishes she were good at: Golf.
Favorite way to unwind after a stressful day: A workout at Vertex Fitness always lifts my mood, or a yoga class.
Celeb she’d love to date: Dane Cook.
Best way to spend a lazy Saturday: I walk to get a cup of coffee and a paper in Wayne, then go around the corner to do some shopping or head over to the
Dave Warren, 33, Ardmore, Meteorologist, NBC 10
Best way to meet someone: I prefer to meet someone who is a friend of a friend. I figure they know me and have a pretty good idea if I’d get along with someone.
Great first date: Could be anything, so long as you end with a second date setup.
Date deal-breaker: Checking the phone the minute I step away or, worse, below the table when you think I’m not looking.
Where you’ll find him on a Friday or Saturday night: In bed if I have to work the next day or a huge snowstorm is bearing down on the city. Or downtown with friends grabbing a drink, then dinner. If there’s an event for a new bar or restaurant, I may be there to sample the new dish or drink. I try not to stay in one pattern.
Artist who takes up the most space on his iPod: Van Halen.
Favorite pastime: Golf. When I’m not playing golf, I try to stay in shape—the gym a few times a week, maybe a run from time to time, and a good diet.
(pictured, left to right)
Ralph Romano, 39, Wayne, Bartender, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: I work all nights, so most of the new people I meet are in my work environment.
Hardest thing about being single: The reputation that seems to exist with my profession—i.e. a player, non-committal type, etc. I grew up with a strong Irish-Italian background—my parents have been married for over 40 years—so this stigma doesn’t apply to me.
Ideal mate: Someone who can be content with foie gras and a glass of Mumm champagne in an elegant restaurant or
a dog and a beer at a Phillies game.
Where you’ll find him on a Friday or Saturday night: Friday nights, behind the bar at Fleming’s; Saturday nights, usually drowning my sorrows with some cocktails over another sub-par round of golf.
Daily habit he wouldn’t want to break: I’m really into flossing my teeth; it’s somewhat of a compulsion for me.
TV show he’s embarrassed to admit he watches: Those reality shows on MTV.
Favorite vacation spot: Ireland. I love the scenery and the people.
Shaneika Dabney, 29, Manayunk, Producer, The 10! Show, NBC 10
Hardest thing about being single: Meeting weirdos who seem normal on the outside. Great first date: Taking in a football game, followed by drinks.
Ideal mate: Funny, sincere, laid-back and tall with nice teeth.
Movie she’d recommend: I’m originally from New Orleans, so my number one pick is When the Levees Broke, Spike Lee’s documentary on Hurricane Katrina.
Favorite pastime: Writing about football on my blog, Chicksinthehuddle.com.
Something most people don’t know about her: I’m superstitious to the point of insanity.
Favorite TV show: The 10! Show (duh).
TV show she’s embarrassed to admit she watches: The Hills.
Best way to prove you’re interested in her: I’m pretty clueless, so you should probably just ask me out.
Chris Hatch, 40, Wayne, Congressional & Public Affairs, Naval Surface Warfare Center Ship Systems Engineering Station
Favorite places on the Main Line to meet someone: I’m a fairly new arrival on the Main Line, so I’m still learning the ins and outs of the scene. So far, my experiences have been limited to competing for free hors d’oeuvres at Georges’ and sampling the taps at the Freehouse.
Hardest thing about being single: I’m a single dad, so the biggest difficulty is finding the time to get out there.
Ideal mate: Someone who is compassionate, has a sense of humor and who is able to leave work at the office.
Date deal-breaker: Republicans. Daily habit he wouldn’t want to break: Sitting at my daughter’s bedside having our nightly “debriefing.” Favorite hobby: Sailing. Thing he wishes he were good at: Skateboarding.
TV show he’s embarrassed to admit he watches: Simon & Simon and Magnum P.I. reruns.
Celeb he’d love to date: I’m unabashedly lustful for Nigella Lawson.
Allison Forbes, 42, Radnor, Interior Designer, Owner, Forbes Design Consultants
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: Nectar and Georges’.
Best way to meet someone: I find the easiest way to meet and get to know people is through business and friends. They know you the
Hardest thing about being single: With my work schedule it’s difficult to meet new people.
Great first date: Dinner or a sporting event where you can relax and be yourself.
Ideal mate: A man with a sense of humor, ambition—and if he enjoys outdoor activities, that’s even better.
Daily habit she wouldn’t want to break: Being a night owl.
Favorite pastime: I love to travel, whether it’s to a new destination or an old favorite. Something most people don’t know about her: I crack myself up.
Celeb she’d love to date: Anderson Cooper.
Favorite vacation spot: Portofino, Italy. Most exciting thing she’s ever done: Skydive.
(pictured, left to right)
Meryl Adis, 50, Bryn Mawr, Jewelry Designer and Owner, Madis Jewels
Hardest thing about being single: It’s very easy to just stay home. It takes planning, motivation and going out even if I don’t feel like it.
Great first date: Dinner at a wonderful restaurant with great acoustics so you don’t have to “squint” to hear one another.
Ideal mate: A great sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself. Someone who’s happy with himself and doesn’t rely on anyone else for his happiness.
Date deal-breaker: When someone doesn’t have a passion for good food, then they probably have very little passion in other aspects of life.
Daily habit she wouldn’t want to break: Going to the gym.
Favorite pastime: Spending time with my two daughters.
Thing she wishes she were good at: I have a black thumb and tend to kill off any plant life within my charge.
Celeb she’d love to date: Josh Duhamel—move over, Fergie.
Anthony (Tony) Garbowski, 60, Berwyn, Co-author, Don’t Walk Through the Mirror (a book for caregivers to the chronically ill)
Hardest thing about being single: It’s particularly difficult being single after having been married. The hope that a loving, caring soul mate can be found in middle age must be renewed repeatedly.
Ideal mate: Caring, thoughtful, sensitive, affectionate and young at heart.
Date deal-breaker: If anything turns me off, it’s rehashing a negative past.
Thing he wishes he were good at: Remembering names when circulating a large crowd, and meeting a lot of people for the first time.
Something most people don’t know about him: I do have a sense of humor—it’s just not readily evident.
Bo Sanders, 42, Havertown, Comcast Government & Community Affairs Coordinator
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: Great American Pub or Kelly’s.
Hardest thing about being single: It’s hard to balance work, volunteering and finding the time to date. Ideal mate: Someone who’s positive, has passion, is sexy (no matter shape or size), sports minded, confident but warm to the core, and who truly understands there are differences between men and woman.
Date deal-breaker: An easily noticed agenda and a fake personality.
Where you’ll find him on a Friday or Saturday night: If I’m not with my daughter watching a movie and having pizza, then I’m out attending some type of event with friends.
Thing he wishes he were good at: Playing cards.
Something most people don’t know about him: I like country music.
Gail Coben, 41, Bryn Mawr, Interior Designer, Owner, G. Interiors
Favorite place on the Main Line to meet someone: Anywhere and everywhere.
Hardest thing about being single: Balancing career, kids and a social life.
Ideal mate: Funny, great smile, tall, athletic, and sweet—oh, and will treat me like the queen I know I am.
Date deal-breaker: Someone who’s a smoker and someone who doesn’t know who Hal Brooks is.
Daily habit she wouldn’t want to break: Laughing—mostly at myself.
Website she visits daily: Newyorktimes.com.
Favorite pastime: Running outdoors, reading and designing. Thing she wishes she were good at: Taking myself seriously.
Artist who takes up the most space on her iPod: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Favorite way to unwind: Lounging on my sofa with someone, while sharing good wine, good conversation, and …
Celeb she’d love to date: Let’s just say, if you ever meet Sting and he says I stalked him, he’s lying.
(And does it really matter?)
By Dawn E. Warden
There are plenty of single people out there who’d disagree that the thrill is in the chase, especially when there doesn’t seem to be anyone to chase. Meeting a potential love interest—one that instills lust and shares your interests, values and a geographically desirable zip code—isn’t easy. Add in sexual orientation, race, religion, age and a handful of other society-perpetuated biases, and you just might wind up a 40-year-old virgin. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Navigating the single life has enough roadblocks without these parameters, and while some personality traits can’t be overlooked, age can. “There are enough dating challenges,” says one Main Line woman who prefers to remain anonymous. “Who needs age barriers to compound things? Men have been dating younger women for years.”
Age gaps between older men and younger women may be deemed more acceptable than the reverse, but cougar*-cub relationships are on the rise. Women in their late 40s, 50s and even 60s are prettier and sexier than ever. They’re smarter too, but we’d all be kidding ourselves if we downplayed the significance of physical attraction.
“Women are taking much better care of themselves than their mothers did,” says Wynnewood’s Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, a relationship and certified sex therapist for the Council for Relationships and Institute for Sex Therapy.
“After the age of 50, a woman was handicapped by menopause, which diminishes desire and arousal. Men were considered sexually stealth well into their 90s**. If they were facing any difficulties, they’d turn to younger, ‘sexier’ women, thinking that would be a cure,” says Pillai-Friedman. “There is so much science out there to counter what were once typical age/sex related issues.”
Pillai-Friedman adds that age is also becoming a moot point between couples because our “life scripts” have changed. “Life’s milestones are no longer predictable by age,” she says. “If a woman says she’s 45, I can’t tell if she is a new mother or an empty nester, and the same is true of men. Both men and women are looking great in their 50s and 60s—dressing up, going out, shopping, staying active, working out and keeping their minds and bodies young. Society has never really viewed older women as sexy, but women today look more like their daughters than their mothers—and younger men are noticing.”
For guys who are commitment phobic, it’s easy to understand the attraction: Many older women have already had a family or are empty nesters, so they are reveling in their newfound freedom. “This is a wonderful opportunity for younger men to take their time and have fun with women who don’t want to settle down and are willing and able to travel,” Pillai-Friedman says. “For women, embarking on a relationship with someone younger can lead to new potentials, new interests. It’s a great way to rediscover yourself.”
Experts agree that five to seven years is the ideal age difference, noting that as men age, they tend to develop anxieties about their sexuality. For some cougar-cub couples, negative reaction from family and friends can be a strain. Co-parenting in a blended family—where it’s likely the woman has older kids and the man younger—also requires forethought. “It’s important to address questions of family early on,” says
Pillai-Friedman. “You have to anticipate and negotiate. Financial issues too; if the female partner retires early, is the male willing to work a few extra years to make up for that income?”
On the lighter side, says our anonymous Main Line woman, there’s a lot of fun to be had. “Women in their 60s are still the same as they were in their 40s, while men become more consumed by their business as they near retirement, and combat pressure to keep up with the young guns threatening their job security,” she says. “Younger men are more balanced, still enjoy their life and have the stamina to stay out dancing. For women, it’s not about recapturing our youth. It’s enjoying life after—or even during—raising kids. My guess is that we’re attractive to younger men because we’re no longer in that stressed state of getting kids to pre-school, soccer games, dances. Our center of the universe revolves around them.”
The bottom line, says Pillai-Friedman, is that the relationship is either going to work or it isn’t. And if the couple has enough in common beyond lust, it could even develop into something mutual and lasting.
*For those not in-the-know, cougar is a term with both negative and positive connotations. It implies virility and a predatory nature while also referring to a woman who is sophisticated, attractive, sensually aware, in control, independent, successful, energetic, fit and healthy.
**Men can actually reproduce into their 90s, while for most women, reproductive abilities generally don’t surpass the age of 50. Sexual performance varies for both aging men and women.