The real Minneapolis dating scene: Don’t talk to me unless I know you already


This New York Times article chronicling the dating habits of Minneapolis residents is missing a few key elements of our *wonderful* dating scene. Here are my thoughts on the article and what they left out:

  1. Minnesota nice? People are jerks here just like everywhere else – except when your car gets stuck in the snow. Then they come out of the woodwork like a beautiful termite infestation of goodwill and camaraderie.
  2. The Minneapolis dating scene consists of going out with your friends and not talking to anyone else except your group of friends. That’s seriously it. Maybe it’s because on some level we all know that everyone else will be just as shitty of a human being as our horrible friends, so why bother meeting anyone new? It’s either smart or incredibly lazy with a side of depressing as hell. But hey, that’s us!
  3. My boss once said something really great about Minnesotans and why our dating scene sucks: if you start talking to someone in an elevator, some light chat about the afternoon or the weather, they get so nervous that you’re gonna follow them to their car or ask for their personal home address that they become extremely paranoid and ruin the entire light-hearted experience all because they think you’re gonna murder them. I don’t know what it is or why it exists, but it is very real.
  4. It’s nearly impossible to have a nice conversation with another person in Minneapolis, possibly the entire state, without it being extremely awkward and feeling like a gigantic waste of time. There’s just something about the look in everyone’s eyes that screams “I don’t want to be talking to you. I have enough friends and I’m probably sleeping with one of them when I get black out drunk/horny/sad enough to make a move.”

So: who’s packin’ their bags for good ol’ MPLS?!

Certainly there are very different realities among the different types of people who reside in Minneapolis. Some may be more romantic; others even more bleak than the sad outline I provided above. bad-first-date

And maybe it’s just my age group. I represent the 20-something U of M grad who is still friends with mostly all her college friends, friends of those friends, and friends from work. If you’re not a constant, forced upon presence in somebody’s life here, there ain’t gonna be no out-of-the-blue phone calls happening to hang out or “get a juicy lucy.” (Which, ew.)

Winter also plays a huge part in our disjointed dating scene. For over 6 months of the year, you are confined to the walls of your home, the numbers in your telephone and your Facebook chat list. Making friends in the winter is nearly impossible. Why would you dig your car out of 2 feet of hardened snow to meet up with someone who you don’t even know if you’ll like? That’s why we tend to stick to our group of tried and true friends and don’t bother to branch out unless we absolutely have to. Because chances are, we’ve already got one of you in our circle of friends:

Gay and love dancing? I’ve got two of those already. Going through a never-ending existential crisis with a side of seasonal depression? Yup. See him once a week. In a band? SO AM I AND EVERYONE I KNOW. (Thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!) And if you work at Target Corporate, you better keep movin’ pal cuz nobody wants that Stepford/hipster hybrid cramping their heroin chic apartment.

Furthermore, maybe our dating scene really isn’t any shittier than any other city in the US. In fact, I’d be even MORE skeptical if a city was REALLY good at dating. So what, does that mean you’re all a bunch of honestly nice people who like to go out and have fun with each other? Sickening.

These are the dates I went on this year:

  • A shorter-than-me bartender who believed strongly in gender roles. I’m 5’7″ and he wouldn’t stop mentioning our height difference or being really intense about how a woman and a man should act in a relationship.
  • A fun guy I ran into randomly 3 times who I met downtown MPLS and a thrift store in St. Paul. He picked me up the night gay marriage was legalized in MN, we shared a PBR tallboy and celebrated at the Townhouse, and then drank beers on a bridge by the train tracks until it was time to go home. It was the most fun and exhilarating date I’ve had all year, but he was also living in his car at the time. I mean, I’m down for whatever, but it’s pretty hard to date someone who’s living in their car. In the words of Liz Lemon, that’s a dealbreaker, ladies.
  • A guy I met at work where I dj who wouldn’t stop bothering me until he finally broke me down and got my twitter handle, then my snapchat name, and then my number. We had a really awesome date and then he bailed on the second date citing “baseball” as the reason.
  • A brief snapchat romance with a guy I grew up with as a kid. Snapchats turned sexy, sexy turned into hour long phone convos, amazing phone convos turned into an invitation to his hometown for a 4th of July IRL hangout. Not surprisingly, Snapchat had not wielded a magical forum for love through timed photos, and we were set to self destruct from the beginning, just like the photos themselves.

You see, folks? Those weird romances could have happened to anyone in any city across the country, even the world. So maybe we should stop thinking that every time the NYT comes in to town to chronicle our weird dating scene that we’re special or especially fucked up when it comes to finding a mate. I mean, isn’t one of the most common human denominators the fact that dating sucks? Why else would Sex and the City be such a big hit, or How I Met Your Mother? The real truth is that dating sucks no matter where you live; we’re all just uniquely bad at it. WE ARE THE WORLD (of bad daters). Let it bring us together. Hallelujah.


F me on Facebook punkssss


45 thoughts on “The real Minneapolis dating scene: Don’t talk to me unless I know you already

  1. you have just effectively outed four people who wanted to get to know you. as you know, this town is as small as your palm. to publicly shame these four people, you are just embarrassing yourself. you’re acknowledging the dick of this city, but you are the main proprietor. this could have been a decent article if you were so self-interested.

    1. I didn’t publicly shame anyone-maybe you didn’t understand the article. (but FYI I did make the date descriptors more vague as I didn’t know this was going to get shared so much) We are all bad at dating, because dating is hard and people on the whole kinda suck. It is like weaving though a minefield of personalities that don’t mix and are inevitably going to explode or fizzle depending on the combination. And just because things don’t work out between two individuals doesn’t mean either of them are inherently good, bad, right or wrong. It’s just life and the nature of dating that we’re gonna go out with people that don’t vibe with our personalities and what we’re all uniquely looking for in a mate. And that’s okay. Not everybody is going to get along, not everybody is going to like you and not everybody is gonna like me. And that’s okay too.Take solace in the fact that we all suck, and keep your eye out for that special person who sucks the least. They’re a keeper.

    2. I believe the combined twin cities metro area is the 4th or 5th Largest in the country? Your point is.. well. Stupid. And she didnt really out anybody anyway.

    1. great write up. thanks for writing. never have I felt the way I do in Minneapolis. it’s a self satisfied social scene. arrested development culture.

  2. nailed it. for those who think you’re bitter- fuck off, because if you’ve dated at all for a length of time no matter what your age (I’m 40 & have lived here most of my life)- this is how it is.
    as “truth” states- this city IS a self-satisfied social scene. the end.

  3. I branch out and talk others, but then again it is a learned lifestyle and i’m not really originally birthed here so it makes it easier to imagine. I do agree I seem to be not in the norm, nor the majority.. but I have also learned how to not get said mean looks you say. But it’s ‘cuz I’m good at it.. Would be nice if more people did it as well. It’s rarer someone chats me up and shows me a good time. As for dating, that’s cuz people are pussies and women are even bigger ones [socially].

  4. I truly believe that if one have feelings like the ones expressed in this article then, no matter what, you are predestined to dis-enjoy any experience. If you in fact ARE and LIVE the way you want people to be when you interact with them, then your whole experience will be as you desire it to be.

  5. Your experience sounds really frustrating, but I’ll just say this. I think you’re out of your element, because you don’t sound like you particularly like it here, and if you don’t like where you are then you’re going to project that dissatisfaction. I’m a transplant who has lived here 17 years, and I’ve never had a problem meeting people except maybe during the first couple years which were primarily self-exploratory. In fact, to the contrary. My friends joke about how I must know half of the city, but it’s because I’m willing to talk to just about anyone.

    The one thing that strikes me is how you identify winter as a 6-month period where you are confined to four walls and can’t make friends, and I don’t think anything could be further from my experience. Winter is a remarkably active time in Minneapolis, but you can’t hate the cold and you can’t stay confined or naturally you’ll get depressed. I have met SO many people at bonfires and backyard parties in November and December, post-holiday bitchfests in January, kite-flying on Lake Harriet in February, snow-tubing in March….so you need to like winter or you should find another climate which doesn’t shut you down for 6 months out of the year. As much as I hate heat, I can imagine I’d have the same perspective you do if I lived in some place like Miami or Phoenix.

  6. It’s tough in Minneapolis for dating. But online is a different story. I’ve tried all the dating websites in Minnesota and non stuck out like The guys on that website where and are actually at least half decent. Stay totally away from the craigslists dating though no friendly faces there just prostitutes.

  7. “We all suck, you just need to find the person who sucks the least” One of the most negative ways to look at dating, relationship, and love I’ve ever heard of. I just feel sorry that you feel this way about meeting/dating people in Mpls.
    Glad the baseball player got out when he still could.

  8. If you want to party and remain unknown stay in minneap. but if you want a more laid back feel (which sounds like you do) go to st. paul, it’s right next door and the difference is huge, but also don’t lump all the people from either of those cities into one big bitter shit filled pot. you went on 4 dates in the last year as far as your bulletpoints explained, so what? that gives you a good grasp of the cities? that’s a concrete consenses of everyone that lives there? Don’t get me wrong, well written article and i’ve ran into my fair share of shitty people there too but i’ve also met ones that have done more for me then a simple ‘push my car out of the snow’ (if you live in MN you should always do that anyway since you never know when it might need to be returned) But don’t act like we all are bad people just because you or someone else got ignored on an elevator, how’s that fair? Dating is scary and nerve wracking no matter who you are or how long you’ve been doing it if your talking to someone you really want to impress that’s why people try this online shit more and more cause it’s less personal. In any case i’m just saying don’t be so quick to judge, If you’ve had such a hard time maybe look at yourself with more scrutiny, but it just sounds to me like your going through all the same other bullshit everyone else does you just have a media outlet to voice your problems over.

  9. There is nothing funny, witty, quirky, and especially nothing original about your myopic viewpoint on relationships. It sounds like you’re the one with the problem. Plus, you trying to disguise your need to be felt sorry for as entertainment makes this even more sad.

    Get over yourself.

    Obviously it will seem like every single person sucks if you keep telling yourself that. But they don’t. It’s just you. And whatever clever, passive aggressive response you come up with, if any, will likely only prove this.

    Even if you were right about every person on earth being so awful at dating, why are you complaining about it to this extent? If you really believed this were true, wouldn’t you be doing something constructive about it instead of typing bitter articles?

  10. 20PnF,

    I have never read quite so much that made just as much sense, even if it is served with a side of cynicism. So moved by these ideas, I can’t resist the urge to offer an access to the antithesis of what you have been experienced.

    We’re all just people,

  11. A better title for this post would be, “I’m a boring person that can’t hold a conversation but I don’t want to see myself that way so I’m going to blame it on everyone else”. Do you really think you can generalize about an entire state? Give me a break.

  12. I moved here almost a year ago and have had some success on the dating scene (maybe it’s because I’m not from around here and don’t know the “rules” yet), but some of your points do make sense from my observations.

  13. FUCK OFF……you obviously have some anger issues…..I suggest you receive some Acupuncture here in Minneapolis to chill the fuck out. And JUICY LUCYS ARE AWESOME. Cool people here actually do eat them! wow! You must not be cool 😦

      1. haha ok… I just don’t believe in dissing a wonderful metro area that works very hard at becoming a cultured and sustainable economy. It seems a bit like a waste of time and bad karma to say these awful things about such a great place. This writer clearly has some issues, better to take them up with your therapist, wine, or girlfriends. Instead of trying to inform the general public that this great place sucks. Use you writing power to change the world to be a better place, not diss what you have issues with.

  14. It’s funny I’ve lived in New York for a long time but last year i came back for more than a year. I thought I’d “clean up” as I was the cool guy back in town from NYC but not at all. It was 10x harder to meet a girl. First of all all the hot ones are taken, 2nd I had just a couple friends, older and In families now so I only met girls through jobs I took tending bar. (Never customers.. Just coworkers) funny thing the few single girls I was real into ended up making out with total d bags. Then hooking up out of guilt etc. It was pretty awful. You also left out the DUI culture. People won’t risk a “Dewey” to drive to someone’s house for sex haha. Good post

  15. to be honest, it’s not minneapolis, most people in America just suck. You want to have random convos and dates with strangers? travel to a different country. You’ll get plenty of attention and you’ll see so many different things, people and culture that meeting someone won’t be hard, as long as you can speak their language or they can speak yours.

  16. Oh my god. SPOT ON. The elevator situations made me laugh out loud because it’s so true. I’m a sociable person and like to be friendly, and when there’s just me and one or two other people on the elevator, I simply say “Hi”, and I swear, it practically makes ’em piss in their pants, I get a grumply glare from ’em, and then uncomfortable silence.

    I traveled and lived abroad and around the U.S before returning to Minneapolis, and immediately noticed the close-minded behavior of most of the people here, not everyone, but definitely the majority of people here are very sheltered.

    I used to think I was doing something wrong, or maybe I smelled, but whenever I take trips out of Minneapolis to anywhere else in the U.S., I have no problem whatesoever. And in fact, people in the other cities I visit, gasp, take the initiative to strike up small talk with me, not to mention the men are way more confident and outgoing in other cities and are not afraid to talk to a gal. So whenever I’m back in Minneapolis, I always have to remind myself, it’s not me, it’s this city.

    You ended your article on a neutral note, that dating everywhere is difficult, but come one, be honest, dating in Minneapolis is pretty horrible.

  17. I know I’m a bit late to the party, my bad. I have been here for 20 years and since I’ve been old enough to know what “attention” was, I have had a ton of success on the dating scene. I hate going out in St. Paul, love Minneapolis, and have recently started hitting the south-west suburbs (Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley), and they aren’t that bad either. I do quite a bit of traveling and going out in other cities and have had 50/50 success. However I was running a 80/20 close rate here @ home. And this is not to sound conceited, or gross hahaha, but just that I think you might have given it a bad once or twice over. With that being said, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY right about the “clique” mentality here. GOODNESS sometimes it’s ridiculous. What’s the point of going out, if you’re just going to hang out with the exact same people you “pre-bar” with. You might as well save the money, a cool as outfit, and the hassle of shitty cab drivers, and have a dance party at your house(sorry small rant). Either Way awesome write up. You seem to know what’s going on around here and I had a few questions. If you have a moment you can shoot me an email. Thanks for letting me comment.

  18. Old thread but spot on. I found this trying to send a friend a link to the NYT piece. This is exactly why I left after moving there for less than a year (is all I lasted), you wrote this a few months after I blew outta town. I hated how difficult it was to make friends and date. It’s easy to sleep around a lot, but near impossible if you’re not from there to find a steady. I was even desperate just for friends. Other parts of the US it is definitely NOT that hard to meet people. It’s almost the opposite, you get barraged from so many folks and you spend a night chatting with ppl in a bar and all of a sudden you have 10 new friends. Other cities though have many more people who aren’t from there, where MPLS is 90% native so everyone grows up together. That rarely happens in other large cities, everyone moves around so much.

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m sorry Minneapolis was so weird for you. It’s a nice place once you’re established, but I’ve found in traveling to other cities like Kansas City and NYC that people/strangers are much warmer to visitors and newcomers. I hope you’re doing well wherever you are!

  19. Even though this article is almost 4 years old it’s still spot on. This young lady knows what she is talking about, as a transplant I have noticed that if you’re not part of the middle school or college cliques dating here can be awful. Sure you can online date but it’s nothing but mostly bottom of the barrel people

    I did a youtube review on the article and wouldn’t mind interviewing you someitme

  20. I think a lot of people complaining about the “negativity” of the poster in reality don’t like the fact she’s called out some behaviors that deserve to be called out and called out some behaviors that deserve to be called out. Minnesota natives have an unusually bad reputation with Minnesota transplants because the very vast majority of the time they are cliquey small minded bumpkins – this state does produce some bigger thinking more open minded people than what we think of as a “standard Minnesota native” but those folks know how poison the majority of the natives are on a far more intimate level than any of us transplants ever will and they all end up moving away. I’d like to paraphrase the original poster by saying the very vast majority of native Minnesotans who don’t move out of state never grow mentally or emotionally because they don’t socialize outside their 3rd grade clique – a little bit of that goes on everywhere but that’s the thing – a little bit, not this.

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