Romance In The River City

With the help of those in the dating business, as well as local singles, we have found some heartwarming evidence that Sacramento is a prime place for romance, including specific tips on spots where the mingling is easy. We also gathered some ideas for dates that can turn up the heat.

Now, don’t start throwing cold water on our Sacromantic identity with that it’s-so-hard-to-meet-people-here routine. The data don’t back you up.

In fact, this is an officially great place for singles.

Sacramento has been ranked the sixth-best city in the nation for singles in a 2005 America Online survey of the top 20 media markets.

The cities that beat us out might be nice places to visit, but you might not want to live there, let alone date there. The top rating went to Atlanta (home of humidity and deep-fat-fried cuisine); followed by Los Angeles (ah, the romance of road rage); Cleveland (known as “the mistake on the lake” and the spot where the Cuyahoga River caught fire because it was so polluted); New York (where Donald Trump is considered good dating material); and Dallas/Fort Worth (where there’s plenty of 10-gallon attitude and not much else).

The America Online survey revealed something of Sacramento’s romantic style and preferences.

First of all, we’re a relatively honest bunch. In Sacramento, only 17 percent of singles said they’d be likely to lie about their interests, appearance, age or other attributes to a potential date. Nationally, 21 percent of singles said they’d fib.

We would rather meet people in the flesh than through electronic introductions. Nationally, 22 percent of singles were likely to turn to an online personal service for potential dates; 20 percent of Sacramento singles were likely to do so.

We also are less likely to consider the workplace as a hotbed for potential dates. Just 33 percent of employed singles here look at the office as a place to meet a mate, while 40 percent of singles nationally do.

We also shy away from the rebound market. In Sacramento, 36 percent of singles say they would date the former flame of a friend or co-worker, compared with 44 percent nationally.

If we’re not into pickups online, at work or from our friends’ discard pile, it leaves us one primary option: going out and interacting in the real world.

Here are some tips on how to join in.

Break out

“Sacramento is friendly,” says Linda Granlund, who works hard to make it even friendlier. She is the owner of the local It’s Just Lunch franchise, which she opened two years ago. The dating service sets you up and even sets the table by making restaurant reservations. (You get a minimum of 14 dates with a 12-month membership, for $1,500.)

Granlund helped write the “It’s Just Lunch Guide to Dating in Sacramento” (10 Finger Press, $9.95, 113 pages; available at www. She includes lots of specific suggestions on places to flirt, go for first dates, cheap dates, and even where to relax before a date.

She says Sacramento singles are more casual than their counterparts elsewhere and more likely to go outdoors to mingle, whether it’s playing in a sports league or taking in a River Cats game.

The same good weather that makes it easy to spend time outside also drives up the desire for romance.

“When the weather is nice, we’re crazy busy – and the other times we’re just busy,” Granlund says.

The neighborhoods where singles tend to cluster, she says, include midtown as well as newer areas of Roseville and Folsom, where lots of Bay Area refugees have relocated.

Her advice – for men and women – includes getting out of the house and carrying a card or a piece of paper with your name and your contact information on it, so it’s easy to hand out when you meet someone you’d like to see again.

“There are no more rules on who has to initiate giving out the number,” she says. “You have to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Your dream man is not going to be the pizza delivery man.”

You gotta shop around

Don Burns, who is 49, single and lives in Sacramento, needed to buy new household items after his marriage ended a couple of years ago.

He headed to Bed Bath & Beyond and Linens ‘n Things and found much more than he bargained for.

“What you do is go up to someone who is attractive and say, ‘What’s a pillow sham?’ ” Burns says. He swears that he wasn’t trying out lines, but that single women seemed to love to advise him on what to get.

“The opportunity to meet women was there, but I didn’t pursue it,” he says. “It’s a one-shot deal; once you buy all your items, you can’t go back every week.” (Unless you want to start a duvet-cover collection.)

Since he has his household set up, Burns has turned to the Internet – at – for meeting potential dates. He has learned a bit about how to make first dates work, by getting together right after work for dinner.

“It’s more relaxed; if you have a date on a Saturday, you have all day to get worked up about it,” he says.

Burns also has learned, ever since his Bed Bath & Beyond days, to keep his eyes open whenever he’s shopping.

“You have that lost puppy dog look on your face and it does work,” he says. “At the Safeway on Alhambra, a gal said, ‘Can I have your card?’ “

Stepping out

Grace Kato started ballroom dancing when she was in college at California State University, Sacramento.

Now, at 34, she has stepped up the pace of her hobby as a competitive ballroom dancer – waltz, tango, fox trot and quick step – and teacher at the Ballroom of Sacramento.

“The ballroom is the place I call home,” she says. She says it’s a great place to meet people and polish social skills.

“You learn how to touch a member of the opposite sex in an appropriate manner,” she says. That doesn’t just boost confidence, it raises the chances for love.

“I have heard that people have a hard time meeting other people, but there’s lots of love going around the ballroom,” she says.

For men, she says, dancing offers a rare opportunity.

“I tell gentlemen that it is the one and only place where you will be in control of a lady,” she says.

Kato, who is single, has just started dating a man she met at the ballroom. He’s new to dancing, and she’s ready to teach him all he needs to know.

The language of love

B.L. Kennedy says you can’t beat a poetry reading for finding romance. Of course, he’s a poet, so he may be a bit biased. But he says even the verse-averse can be captivated.

“I know people who hate poetry who wound up meeting people at poetry meetings,” he says.

Kennedy, who is 52, single and lives in midtown, is an advocate of artsy locales for finding love. Most are close to his home, including Luna’s Cafe (on poetry nights, of course), the Cornerstone, Java City and Naked Lounge coffee shops. He also recommends art galleries, including the Gallery Horse Cow on Del Paso Boulevard and the Brickhouse gallery in east Sacramento. Used-book stores, libraries and library book sales are also hot spots for love, he says.

A chance encounter in front of the science-fiction shelves at Beers Books downtown led to a long-term romance. “That was a beautiful relationship, and she was a wonderful woman,” Kennedy says.

The poet seems to find no shortage of love just about everywhere, including the coin- operated laundries of midtown.

“You meet the most amazing lovers there,” he says. “There’s this kind of telekinetic communication with underwear.”

But then Kennedy admits that he is a sucker for love no matter the season.

“I think everyone needs to fall in love as many times as possible,” he says. “Love is grand.”

* * *

The Bee’s Alison apRoberts can be reached at (916) 321-1113 or

Sacramento singles are slightly …

… more honest in describing themselves to a potential date

17 percent said they would lie, compared with 21 percent nationally

… less likely to date a co-worker

44 percent vs. 49 percent nationally

… less likely to date the boss

18 percent vs. 22 percent nationally

… more likely to go for coffee as a first date

52 percent compared with 47 percent nationally

Capital flirtations

All dressed up and nowhere to go? We can help. From the “It’s Just Lunch Guide to Dating in Sacramento,” here are some flirting hot spots.

Places to Flirt

* Empire Events Center
1417 R St. (916) 448-3300
Dance the night away

* Tunel 21
926 Second St. Old Sacramento (916) 447-7577
Old Sacramento hangout opened by former Kings player Vlade Divac and his wife, Ana Divac

* Mikuni restaurants
1565 Eureka Road, Roseville (916) 797-2112
4323 Hazel Ave., Fair Oaks (916) 961-2112
1530 J St., Sacramento (916) 447-2111
Sushi, people-watching or just an after-dinner drink

Places to flirt with live music

* Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
1515 J St. (916) 264-5181
Catch a show in this vintage venue, and then go for a drink in midtown

* Sleep Train Amphitheatre
2677 Forty Mile Road, Marysville (916) 649-TIXS (649-8497)
Big outdoor shows

* Cesar Chavez Park
10th and I streets (916) 442-2500
Friday concerts, from 5 to 9 p.m. through Aug. 12. And they’re free.

* Crocker Art Museum
216 O St. (916) 264-5423
On the third Thursday of each month there’s live jazz, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

* Harlow’s 2798 J St. (916) 441-4693
Live music and a swanky crowd

For more information: (916) 564-1400 or www.

Section: SCENE
Page: L1Copyright 2005 The Sacramento Bee
Record Number: SAC_0404997390

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