No Sugar Added: Where the babes are

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Men’s Health magazine recently released its March issue, and in it, declared our own fabulous Portland, Maine, No. 2 on its list of “where the babes are” – an assessment of 100 cities across the country, apparently offering a helpful tool for single men wondering where they might have the best chance of finding love.

Or, at the very least, getting lucky.

Despite the fact that the hair on the back of my neck stood up at their use of the word “babes,” I decided to purchase a copy and get the low-down on the criteria that led to this dubious honor.

The Urban Dictionary defines “babe” as follows: a good-looking girl. I generally think of “babe” as a word that spews forth from the mouth of a guy who needs to go back to 1979, but hey, it’s better than our beloved Portland being listed as No. 2 on a list of cities where “attractive, available women are covered in decidedly unsexy snow-gear six months out of the year.”

Which, actually, would not be completely inaccurate.

At first I thought the list was perhaps based on cities where eligible women frequent grocery stores wearing spandex exercise attire, or footwear normally classified as slippers – or where children are driven to school by single moms sporting outfits involving an unsettling combination of snow boots, yoga apparel and lingerie that would make even L.L. Bean roll over in his grave.

But no, the list is based on scientifically gathered data: ratio of available women to available men, percentage of single women who are college-educated, employed and who “work out.”

Well, duh. My single, hot, well-educated, employed and entrepreneurial girlfriends and I could have told you long ago that Portland has a definitive man-shortage as we flexed our biceps and challenged you to a black diamond ski run, a triathlon or a 50-mile bike ride.

Not that I endeavor to participate in such feats, but I do admit to having become more athletic than I was while living in states other than Maine.

If they’d read my blog posts and columns on the bleak dating situation – or had interviewed me back in 2006 when, having recently moved here, I was advised that a woman doesn’t come to Portland unless she already has a man securely in tow – they could have published their little article long ago.

The moment this issue hit the newsstand, several friends and acquaintances contacted me, knowing it would undoubtedly provide more fodder for my written escapades. And as we worked out amid a bunch of presumably unavailable men at the gym this past weekend, a (married) hot babe friend of mine had a fabulous idea: convince Men’s Health to sponsor one of my Girl Scout Dropout soirees and fly available men in on a 727 (an airbus would be more appropriate, but our Jetport does not accommodate them).

It was a flash of genius and I hopped right on it, penning a letter immediately. In my fantasy, a plane lands and hotties from women-desolate cities across the country file out. Suddenly, Portland is awash in a sea of men – not in flannel shirts, thermal underwear or hiking boots, but finely woven Italian wool suits, pressed white shirts, vintage watches with leather bands, and socks that match some part of their outfit.

And shockingly, these men are not gay. This may not be every woman’s fantasy, but it’s my column, so please indulge me.

I do wonder, however, whether Men’s Health figured Portland’s lesbian population into its statistics, as this would throw a monkey wrench into our standing. Imagine the disappointment on the faces of men who, having traveled hundreds or possibly thousands of miles after reading the article, arrive to find that a goodly percentage of the single, hot babes in the No. 2 city don’t really dig penises.


But whether tall, short, slim, curvy, young or mature – we already knew we were “babes.” And that our best chance at love lies outside of our own state. But thank you, Men’s Health, for confirming our suspicions.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at