In this moment, the flurry of ironic truths about dating in Aspen is dizzying: You will run into a former flame when you least expect it; platonic friends of the opposite sex are always pd romantic partners, fodder for the small-town rumor mill; and successful courtship seems to require more effort than elsewhere—for recent transplants, especially.
No doubt, Colorado mountain towns are strange places to mate. Aspen, of course, is in a class all its own.
While off the beaten path geographically, much like Telluride or Crested Butte, our fair city is very much on the radar of the beautiful people. Its inhabitants are also athletic, intelligent, and charismatic, with worldliness to match.
Independence and adrenaline are the two most coveted drugs, and our rich social playground cultivates euphoria and debauchery—in particular after dark. So it should come as no surprise that scouting a soul mate, or even just a steady, in this hedonistic yet cerebral utopia is as complex as the fickle weather discussed during a bad first date. Why are you single?
Venturing out at night here can seem like stepping into a low-carb beer commercial. Each winter and summer welcomes an influx of youth, a largely seasonal workforce hailing from exotic corners of the globe: South Africa, Australia, Argentina, the Philippines. Education is a barometer— Might the grains of sand in the hourglass fall more slowly at altitude?
I want to maintain that. A forty-year-old divorced bartender listening in says he, too, has embraced a similar regression since moving here in the s—the decade in which many of his fellow service-industry workers were born.
The Peter Pan symptoms are easily discernable. Most of those afflicted exhibit a disinterest in achieving traditional adult milestones: building a career, getting married, raising children. Women are not immune, either.
The iconic Disney character is often played by female thespians, after all. She does admit that there seem to be a lot of cute dudes from which to choose. And I concur!
The US Census pegs women at Hardly the eight-to-one guy-heavy figure bandied about in conversation. What Aspenites might lack in maturity, however, they more than make up for in fearlessness—whether hucking cliffs or inviting themselves over to spend the night—occasionally at the expense of decency. We are driven by pursuit of the extreme, be it skiing, cycling, mountaineering, or chasing luxury and wealth.
In fact, Pitkin County is the fittest part of Colorado, the fittest state in the country. A caveat: Living among passionate risk-takers can easily incite bad behavior. Her message was clear: there are only so many dark corners in Aspen. Ethnically, not so much.
Upside: While you might sit solo as they air-kiss half the room, these raging animals boast the best hangover cures.
Risk factor: Too many to list, including VD and their and possibly your occasional jaunts to rehab. In fact, moved here for a real job ten years ago.
Upside: Suburban relationship ideals—in Aspen. Risk factor: Competition for this catch is steep.
Must love dogs! Risk factor: No friends on a powder day—that includes you. Risk factor: A not-so-subtle sense of entitlement—to the Next Best Thing—or a decidedly unromantic prenup, should the relationship progress that far.
While you might not notice his egregious lack of social decency at first, beware: he will leer, jeer, and hijack the moment at first opportunity. Upside: None.
Run for it! If Tom Cruise had worked in an Italian trattoria in Cocktail, the setting would resemble Campo de Fiori, a quintessential pick-up spot stuffed with hotties. Unbuttoned bartenders are unabashed in creating an atmosphere of la dolce vita, cranking tunes past dinnertime.
Each is wildly different. Head to the lounges at the Little Nell and the St. Regis Aspen Resort for luxury—which makes anyone look good.
An obvious choice is Belly Up, the come-as-you-are club with cutting-edge light and sound and a cozy dance floor that turns steamy during top shows. The wild card: concerts in Snowmass and at the Aspen Music Festival, which attract eye candy of all ages—picnic blankets strongly suggested.
Just dance. It can create the perception that when armed with enough cash, anything is within reach, a sense of entitlement to the next best mate around the corner.
Or, as some believe, find what you need with a phone call. Today fifty-nine, Gunther met her former husband at the J-Bar inafter sixty-two days living here.
They were married in six weeks, had two children, and divorced eleven years later. So while hooking up in Aspen can be mostly a matter of showing up, building meaningful relationships requires good old-fashioned work, like anywhere else.
You can do them on your own, but when you find someone who keeps your spark alive, you make memories together. Future suitors, however handsome, accomplished, and charming they may be, face a stiff rival in Aspen itself, the most worldly, experientially diverse, exhilarating small town imaginable.
Au contraire: such normalcy can be refreshing here. Smuggler is too public—you could get a text message from a prying ex, tipped off by a mutual friend, before you reach the top. Same with Aspen Mountain.
So try the Woody Creek Trail. Feed them to each other on the trail, or drop them into your margaritas at the Woody Creek Tavern on the way home.
So many options here. Open till 6 p.
Spreading out a blanket on the listening lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent is a classic, but do it on a weekday rather than at the Sunday afternoon concert, which draws locals by the hundreds. In Aspen, the opposite is true. You can move on, because his next girlfriend will be the first to tell you he never did. If you find yourself turning to your friends with your questions about him, chances are you already have your answer.
Chances are better than good that he served me more times than I care to count. Were we just too drunk or distracted by the wrong people, entangled in our own mistakes? Which brings me to my next point.
He wrestles my leg to the ground like a wild animal in a not-so-subtle move as a group of mutual friends sat, mouths agape, to witness the spectacle of what was unquestionably love at first sight. Right from the start, Ryan made his intentions crystal-clear.
You look lonely. I think everyone in Aspen has a tendency to look for love in all the wrong places—until one day, fate le you right to him, that one person who was probably always there, waiting for you all along.
John Fayhee. Marlow By Sarah Chase Shaw.
Image: Nick Tininenko. The princess on her wedding day. Image: Kate Holstein.
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