Two Scribes Head to Alaska to Find Love (And No, They’re Not Lesbians)

WaPo‘s Annie Gowen and Tara Bahrampour get major points for putting themselves out there, even if they did turn up relatively empty handed.

The two unhappily-single reporters wrote a piece for WaPo magazine about a trip they took north to compare Alaska’s men to those of Washington. Gowen and Bahrampour imagined the men of Alaska as “manly men,” men with “facial hair” and “calloused hands” who “could kill dinner… then have his woman for dessert.”

Upon arriving in the state, a minor hiccup in the trip at a bed-and-breakfast:

“We should have been alarmed by the scent of fresh-baked focaccia and the fact that the proprietress assumed we wanted a room together. But it doesn’t hit us until we are happily ensconced in the downstairs cafe with chai lattes and homemade Danish pastries that the people sitting around us are all . . . women. In fact, several are clearly couples, and they are a decade or two older than we are.”

Once they make it out of the fish market (so to speak), the two reporters hit the bars to find actual men– really weird men, at that.

One gent is a cast member in the Discovery Channel reality show “Deadliest Catch” who wears a gold crab pendant. He also hits on one of the reporters with his girlfriend just out of earshot.  Another guy wears a wolf-fang necklace and has a red scab on his face from a mole that he burned off.

It gets worse.

Bahrampour meets a man named “Phil” who she asks about a “despairing” tattoo on his neck. His response: “Because I am a bad person and I deserve to be shamed.” Phil later introduces Tara to a friend who immediately proposes to her. (Needless to say, the answer was no.)

Gowen’s luck isn’t much better… She attends a beard competition where she meets 50-year-old Caleb who tells her how to butcher a moose. They dance to “Soul Man.” They share an Eskimo kiss. “I suddenly feel glad I’m headed home in the morning,” Annie writes on the experience.

In short, the two reporters find that the single men of Alaska are a lot like the single men of D.C. The biggest differences seem to be that Alaska men are more rugged and way too open about their shortcomings: “In some ways, they are the same as Washington men, or men anywhere,” they write. “They like their toys, they like their drink, they pursue their ambitions. And yet, there are also real differences. Many of the men we have met came to Alaska to get away from something… They are upfront about their flaws and vulnerabilities — which can be both off-putting and wonderfully refreshing.”

Bahrampour returns to Washington with a new attitude, “determined to look for men hidden between the cracks.” Gowen seemed less hopeful, getting “misty-eyed” at the sight of a man on K street “so deeply engrossed in texting that he almost walks into oncoming traffic.”

Look through photos of the potential suitors the two reporters encountered here.

UPDATE: Gowen reached out to tell us our interpretation of her “misty-eyed” experience was off base. Her tear ducts were triggered by the K street man because it reminded her that D.C. is the place she wants to be, not because she was feeling hopeless about the type of men here. “I love this crazy old town,” she said.