The truth behind dating in the Lowcountry
By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston is no doubt a town teeming with people who like to go out. There are oyster roasts, art walks and no shortage of bars and lounges.
"You just have all kinds of opportunity to meet new, exciting and unique people," said James Trabert, a Charleston single who's lived in the area for 20 years.
For some, it seems there's little incentive to settle down. Take Jason Rainboth, 22, who works as a bartender in downtown Charleston.
"Dating just doesn't seem smart at the current time in my life," Rainboth said.
But it doesn't stop him from finding new friends and hooking up.
"You can go in to the settings and adjust age, range and distance. I'm searching within 10 miles," Rainboth explained as he flipped through profiles on Tinder.
To clarify, Tinder is very photo oriented. As soon as you log in, you're presented with pictures and a short bio. The user can decide whether or not they like them and swipe them away accordingly.
"Instead of having to go online and log in to a computer, you can do it from anywhere," he said. "You'll get a match, or two or three and then you'll start texting with all of them."
From there, Rainboth sets up a coffee date. But he admits, he's not looking for anything long term.
Trabert has a similar attitude; the 37-year-old has lived in the Holy City for 20 years.
"It is casual and I think that's a great thing because it gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of people," he said.
But it's such attitudes that seem to frustrate: "If you're dating in the Lowcountry, it's more of a nightlife scene. It's hard to meet the guys we want to meet," said Megan Rollins and Kelly Warren, women in their mid-20s.
"It's tough. It's really difficult. Because so many people, people are so social in Charleston. It's not that it's hard to meet people. It just hard to meet the right person," said Buffie Lilly, owner of Charleston Wine Pairings.
Lilly has seen a lot of dating in the Lowcountry. She is a professional matchmaker and said her track record included seven weddings and 14 happy couples.
Charleston is a motivated town with a lot of professionals working hard, she said. But that comes with a sacrifice.
"Girls come to me at 29, 30, like, 'Oh my God, I've been in school, doing this, doing that. And now I really want to meet somebody now that my life has all these pieces together but that one,'" Lilly said.
Brittany Mathis is one of the women who said she sacrifices for her career.
"I spend a lot of time looking for networking events, mixers - people who could potentially employ me. That's just my primary focus right now," Mathis said.
She said she tried online dating, but it didn't work.
"I gave it two months and I did not go on any dates," Mathis said.
Lilly said Mathis is not alone; about 90 percent of Wine Pairings clients have logged in to check out their options, before they signed up for her services.
"They're so disappointed with it because you never get what you see on the screen," Lilly said.
But for men like Trabert and Rainboth, the Internet is an escape.
"It's just an alternative for the socially awkward," Rainboth said. "It's a lot easier than walking up to a group of 15 girls."
"It's more putting yourself out there just to see what's out there. You never know," Trabert said.
Though he hasn't found her yet, Trabert will know when he meets "the one," he said. Until then, both he and Rainboth will scroll through photos on Tinder.
Maybe there is hope for love at first sight.