News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breaking: Reston's Sizzling Hott Singles Scene Recognized By Washington Post

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The Washington Post, undisputed arbiter of all things hip and au courant, showcased Reston as a sizzling hot cauldron of swinging singles action for people in their 30s. No, really:
It's a Saturday night in Reston, and the bar at McCormick & Schmick's is packed, filled with members of Meetup's Singles in the Suburbs. As its title suggests, the group is aimed at unmarried folks living in Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, as well as Maryland.

The 30-to-50-somethings who are its members are a friendly, chatty bunch that like to go out; they organize trips to a bar-centric take on "Jeopardy," to see the holiday lights at Bull Run, or to a Santa Bar Crawl. On this night, they're out on a bar crawl for Feed the FISH, an event to raise money for the charity Herndon-Reston FISH, which offers emergency assistance to the needy. The culmination of this night of revelry? A date auction.

"Here's why my group works," says Rita K. Colbert, 33, the founder of the 1,000-member-strong meet-up. "My group does it all. We have a book club in the group, we have a movie club in the group, we go on hikes, we go on trips, we have happy hours. When people go to that group that attracts them, they're meeting other people who are attracted to that same thing, so already, you have a common interest."

She should know. She met her boyfriend of three years, Scott Langbauer, through Singles in the Suburbs, when Colbert was hosting a Texas Hold 'Em night at her house.
We "met" Rita and Scott on the pages of the Internets two years ago. Frankly, we should have predicted they would hit it off then. How'd the love connection happen?
Langbauer, 34, recalls that it was a Saturday night when all his friends had plans with their significant others, so he decided to check it out by himself. "Through that, we just sort of clicked. I think it was probably after I took all of her money, but I did use that to buy her dinner, like, two nights later."
Stay classy!


24 comments:

  1. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 11, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    So we have great public schools, parks, and community events for those who are 18 and under and great offerings for upper-middle-class single thirty-somethings in the town center. What does Reston have to offer for a single gay lower-middle-class early 20-something who can't hang with the under-18 crowd without looking criminally suspicious and can't "keep up" with the late-20-somethings to 30-somethings due to our comparatively limited incomes? (Crickets chirping). Thought so. My guess would be most Reston youths move away for their college years and don't return back for numerous years to raise their own families, leaving a "void" for those of us too old to hang with the teens and too young to hang with the 30-somethings without feeling embarrassed by ordering water and crackers. Reston does NOT live up to its mantra of offering things for ALL people from ALL walks of life in ALL life stages. I find myself frequently leaving the community (typically heading east) to connect with like-minded souls and to enjoy offerings catering to my demographic. What's the point of even living in Reston and paying exorbitant rent prices at this stage in life? I'm still not really sure what the answer to that question would be (hence why I'm now making plans to relocate in mid-2010). Probably the only things I'll miss dearly about Reston will be my church (and this blog).

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  2. Bico, back in my day (I'm 32), most people had roommates post-college, and a LOT of disposable income (not what I did, but it was pretty much what everyone else was doing). I think the fact that you live by yourself is probably putting a crimp in your ability to live like the other young people you are seeing.

    However, you are right, most people who want the "hip singles" lifestyle don't live in Reston. Whoever told you otherwise (your realtor?) was selling you a bill of goods. In all honesty, you would probably be better off in a place like Arlington with a roommate or two.

    Good luck in your move.

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  3. Hey Bico, I work in Reston with a bunch of 20-somethings. Of course, they all commute from DC and Arlington (although a couple actually do from Leesburg!). My sense is that you are probably in a distinct minority here, unfortunately. Not only age-wise, but correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think there's a big gay community here, right? Now, you can take this dearth of your own demographic as a reason to get the hell out of dodge, or you could use it as a challenge. Maybe there ARE others like you that simply go East on weekends and so you never see each other? It's worth a shot trying to do some research online to see if you can find some folks to slowly form a group of people here that would be more similar to your interests, etc. Have you tried searching Twitter, tweating yourself, or blogging for that matter? Maybe talking to some of the business owners even in RTC about drawing more of a younger and diverse crowd to their establishment? Gay men have become known for adding a lot of Real Estate value to areas, and while you may not fit that caricature at all, you could take advantage of one of the unfortunately few postive stereotypes of your demographic? Just don't show them your checkbook, right? :)

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  4. BiCO... Why not take matters into your own hands and try to start something that caters to what you are looking for. You will be surprised what can turn up if you change what I perceive is your mentality of waiting for someone to set it up/change it for you to taking the initiative. Best part is all that would really require is perhaps a Web site and making some phone calls/connections.

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  5. Bico, what kinds of things would you like to do if they were available?

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  6. BICO..you are so wrong! You come on this blog, act like you know it all, and expect the world at your feet.

    Who cares if you're a young gay single...you get out of life what you put into it. Grow up and make some friends...and if you didn't spend so much time on this site finding fault with all that is Reston, you might actually find a life out there!

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  7. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    To the most recent anonymous, I have NUMEROUS friends im my peer group, nearly all of whom are heterosexual, and most of whom don't live in Reston. We do head east and have an enjoyable time. This is fine until you notice that a lot of your prospective dating pool is also in the east in what could ironically be deemed a "long-distance relationship" at times due to the traffic congestion. Reston was hyped to me as being this magical place where people from all walks of life co-exist and eat sunshine. Instead what do I see? Mostly 40-somethings with younger children, 30-something yuppies, teenagers, and retirees/senior citizens. Yes, they may be of all different races (which I think is wonderful), but there is a HUGE void of 20-somethings in Reston, especially once all of those employers let out at 5 PM and spew them back east to Arlington, the District, or even Falls Church.

    What would be nice in Reston? Someplace where young professionals could go to unwind that was both AFFORDABLE and didn't necessarily push an alcohol-oriented agenda, as most town center businesses (cough..Jackson's...cough..McCormick & Schmick's...cough) seem to do after dark. Where are Reston's bowling alleys? Where are Reston's billiards halls? Where are Reston's roller skating rinks? Where is Reston's version of a Dave & Buster's sort of atmosphere? (Did the NIMBYs scare all of these off as well?) Where do independent fringe bands play in Reston (i.e. Reston's version of the State Theatre?) I'm looking forward to attending the Laramie Project production at South Lakes next weekend, but by and large most other venues here are NOT geared towards 20-somethings. I've been filling the void of living here by being active in my church and volunteering. Otherwise I just head east, like the other few in my demographic here sadly do.

    I suppose I wouldn't be so upset if I wasn't paying "Arlington: Lite" prices for an area that is NOT Arlington: Lite (and never will be with all of the NIMBYism).

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  8. The Convict in the GulagDecember 11, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    (Donning a feather headdress)

    Young man, there's no need to feel down.
    I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
    I said, young man, 'cause your new in the town,
    there's no need to be unhappy.

    Young man, there's a place you can go.
    I said, young man, when you're short on your dough,
    you can stay there and I'm sure you will find
    many ways to have a good time.

    It's fun to stay at the YMCA.
    It's fun to stay at the YMCA.
    They have everything for young men to enjoy.
    You can hang out with all the boys.

    Or you can schlep into DC.

    (Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

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  9. lol, Convict! Unfortunately I think you might be asking for a lot. Our society unfortunately, especially for 20-somethings, revolves around alcahol. Since alcahol is a big part of most 20-something's social scene (at least in the evenings), you're not going to get a lot of businesses that don't cater to that market. I do agree that there is too much in the way of upper-end chains in Reston, centered in RTC. But if you do think there is room for more affordable social outlets, as others have said, it's not going to happen by just wishing it. I see you have three choices:

    1) continue to complain and feel miserable living here until you are in your 30's and then you can finally "fit in" lol

    2) move

    3) actually start something here yourself.

    If you don't have the resources and/or motivation for 3, then I'm guessing 2 will be a lot more useful than 1.

    Reston also does need a decent music venue. I don't know of any here. There is Jammin' Java in Vienna, and that's really not THAT far from here (probably just 15-20 minutes), but something along those lines or the state theater could be a great addition to Reston and if you have any connections in that industry and any entrepreneurial spirit, I'd say go for it - it might prove incredibly successful in an area that doesn't have any real good live music venue@

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  10. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    BiCO,

    Head on down to the plaza and bring a bunch of your friends. Then the scene at Monmartre will be your scene!

    As for music I think you need to go to JAmmin JAva, there not being anything closer so far as I know.

    But really BiCO, what the hell are you doing in Reston? A 20 something gay man should be having fun in the district not hanging in the 'burbs.

    When I was growing up we had a saying about this place:
    We're not dead, we're just Reston.

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  11. there is live music in the summer at RTC and lake anne. Other times of the year, you can go to jammin java or wolftrap (there is live music at the barns year round). Some of the concerts at the Reston Community center are also quite good- I heard Sharon Isbin there a few years back and it was amazing.

    There is a pool hall in the clocktower shopping center in herndon, probably not more than 10 minutes from where you live.

    There is a bowl america in sterling, again probably not more than 10 minutes from your house.

    As for a roller rink...er... can't help you there. Though we did have one back in the 80s.

    There are also TONS of cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurants for those who don't want to eat at the expensive, boring places at town center (which, once upon a time, did have better options).

    Frankly, there is plenty to do around here that is exactly what you describe, but it sounds like you would rather feel sorry for yourself because you wish you were living in Arlington. But it's more fun to whine, I guess.

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  12. OMG stop feeling sorry for yourself! Find a social networking site - make friends!

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  13. hickory Cluster Knuckle DusterDecember 13, 2009 at 12:41 AM

    The past two nights I've gone to Monmartre and had a couple of drinks with friends. It was great to have the place all to ourselves. If you are not trying to go on a cougar hunt and just want to hang out with people you know and not have to wait for the bartender or shout over the loud music or crowds, It is an awesome place.

    Plus the money I spent stayed in the community.

    And Roti Grill is a good place for a bite as well. I went there for lunch today. The proprietor took pride in his product and was very polite and the price was affordable.

    Go hang out at Lake Anne!

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  14. If you're within walking distance of Lake Anne, you're so lucky you have that! It's hard to find anything like that on the South Side that's within walking distance but for a few people (South Lakes Shopping Center is about it). That's too bad, because if I want to go out for a few drinks with friends, I don't want to be the one driving home! Let's vote for more neighborhood pubs in Reston!

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  15. Mmmm... Can't get me enough of that cow flesh merchandise. Thanks, Anon 10:55!

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  16. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    Anon 8:45.

    Lakeside Inn while having an older crowd is a decent place for a drink. They also have live music now and again.

    And you can buy wine at Cafe Sano

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  17. BICO,

    I am guesstimating here but have years of experience as a gay man in the DC area with a lot of gay friends and met many people at gay bars/clubs. Here is how I think the gay male population between 22-30 works out:

    65% DC (spread all out among DC but primarily Dupont, Logan, U Street, Columbia Heights, Shaw, Foggy Bottom)
    20% Arlington
    10% Bethesda, Silver Spring (first couple of Red Line stops in Montgomery County)
    5% everywhere else

    So you are not alone in Reston but as you can see away from the bulk of gays.

    Regarding the LTR complaint . . . I've lived both in DC and Arlington. People have joked Arlington is "far away." I can only imagine what they would say if I said Reston.

    I agree with everyone else. Figure out how to afford a closer in area be it roommates, smaller square footage, etc. You are only in your 20s once.

    On a side note, I think plenty of straight men and women end up in Arlington or DC for bars and other similar venues. Maybe in 5-10 years we'll really have mini-cities in Reston or Tysons but for now it's suburbia and people don't want a bunch of drunk 23 year olds walking around late at night. So the zoning discourages it.

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  18. about twenty years ago I went to a Reston singles group "wine and cheese" tasting and ended up with a wife and here I am

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  19. Hickory Cluster -- that was the point. Except for the two places at Southlakes shopping center, the south side has nothing, and certainly nothing within walking distance for most people on the south side. Nothing in Hunters Woods Shopping Center...

    so, those who live within walking distance of Lake Anne should be grateful they have even that!

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  20. I have lived in south Reston for slightly more than 2 years and have walked, on several occasions, to the Fox Mill and Hunters Woods shopping centers. At Fox Mill, you can watch a game at Glory Days, relax at Starbucks, have a burger at Five Guys, or dine on decent Italian at Lucia's. Hunters Woods has the Wing place, a delicious Indian restaurant, and the Reston Community Center which has plenty of activities, classes, and shows throughout the year. Both shopping centers have a grocery store (my preference being Giant). And both are a pleasant walk on paved trails through the woods. Why are you all complaining? Just enjoy what's there.

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  21. Agreed Anonymous 11:23 - Enjoy what is here. If you dont like it, no one is forcing you to live here - you can move. In fact, we'd prefer the bitter and complaining not ruin what we do have here.

    If you read that entire article, the theme is "get out there". If it isnt in Reston, so be it. But dont blame the location - it was built this way for the majority, no one said you had to stay.

    Life is what you make it. Complain and stay miserable or make a change and find happiness - its up to you.

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  22. I think it's true in general - you should live where you are most comfortable, what matches your interests, etc. However, given that Reston is also about diversity, I think it's important that we have stuff here for everyone. The problem is that there may not be a critical mass of them to attract businesses. I just wonder if there are opportunities for enterprising businesspeople to create venues that one wouldn't necessarily equate with suburban living - places you'd normally see in the city like music/club/dining that cater more to 20-something tastes. There ARE 20-somethings in Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Oakton, Vienna, etc. who would probably patronize these types of places locally rather than going all the way into DC, but it's a risky venture for sure because those same people could decide to go to DC because their friends who are closer into the city (or IN the city) do not want to trek "all the way out" to the suburbs. But I do think that it's not just about being happy about where you live or leaving, there's actually a third option in trying to change one's community to being more inclusive of your demographic. Some of this is up to people who want to start businesses, but part of it could be just people forming social groups/clubs and using those larger groups to show that they do exist way out here and have some purchasing power...

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