Single In Smalltimore

The joys, and sometimes sorrows, of dating in a big city that feels like a small town.

By Jess Blumberg

–Photo by David Colwell

Lisa Ponzoli, 31
Owner of Babe. (a boutique); single, no kids.

Favorite film: Goodfellas. Favorite TV show: Project Runway. Favorite music: Reggae. Celebrity dream date? Paul Rudd. Celebrity look-a-like? Alyssa Milano. Turn-ons? Wit, humor, smarts. Turnoffs? Materialism, stupidity, khaki pants. Favorite concert? Lily Allen. Do you need to be plugged-in? My iPhone is the best purchase I've ever made. What did you learn in the recession? To buy my inventory smartly. Phobias? Swimming in water that I can't see through. Big sports fan? I'm trying to get into football. How do you stay fit? Classes at Federal Hill Fitness. How did you meet your last boyfriend? I was a fan of his band. Twilight is…obnoxious but dreamy. What would be your last meal? Pizza. Run into me here: Metropolitan or No Way Jose.

Chris Dunn, 33
Owner of Classical Guitar Ceremonies; single, no kids.

Favorite film: The Motorcycle Diaries. Favorite TV show: Lost. Favorite music: Germanic classical during the winter. Celebrity dream date? Scarlett Johansson. Celebrity look-a-like? Angel from Buffy. Turn-ons? Intelligent, open-minded people. Favorite concert? Perhaps Madonna when I was 8. Twitter is…helping America achieve new highs in narcissism. Name one way you've gone green. Recycle and consume locally brewed beer. Big sports fan? Not at all. Any hidden talents? Cooking, headstands, and propagating cool looking plants. How did you meet your last girlfriend? Swimming pool. Twilight is…A friend kindly explained it was a movie and that I live under a rock. Where do you take visitors? Late-night Korean food, BSO, and Peabody concerts. Run into me: Running down Charles Street.

Sharon Perfetti, 42
Cofounder of the Cool Kids Campaign; divorced, three kids, Marisa, 14, Mia, 12, Gianni, 10.

Favorite book: The Winner. Favorite film: Slumdog Millionaire. Favorite TV show: 30 Rock. Favorite website: coolkidscampaign.org. Celebrity dream date? Ben Carson, if he wasn't married! Turn-ons? Sense of humor, athletic, ambitious. Turnoffs? Cracking your gum, arrogance. Favorite concert? Just saw Springsteen—amazing! Twitter is…I'm more into Facebook. Narcissism and voyeurism all rolled into one. What did you learn in the recession? Everything is temporary, both good and bad. Typical Saturday morning? Body pump class, then home for breakfast with the kids. How did you meet your last boyfriend? Blind date by a mutual friend. I like having the guys vetted and verified. Twilight is…my favorite time of day. Where do you take visitors? Harbor East. Run into me here: A fundraiser for Cool Kids.

Tommy Bullough, 27
Account executive, Retirement Living TV; single, no kids.

Favorite film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Favorite music: Radiohead. Celebrity dream date? Zooey Deschanel or Mila Kunis. Turn-ons? Creativity, smiles, uniqueness, and kindness to others. Turnoffs? Pessimism, boredom, rudeness. Favorite concert? Big In Japan, from Baltimore, is one of my favorite live bands. What did you learn in the recession? Relax, people, you can still be happy. Phobias? I don't mess around with bugs. Typical Saturday morning? Grab a book and ride my bike to a new breakfast spot. Big sports fan? I played lacrosse in college and am a big fan of watching Sunday football. What do you do to stay fit? Refuse to get bored. Any hidden talents? I challenge myself to make up at least one crazy adventure each week. Run into me here: Velocipede Bike Project.

Amina Chaudhry, 34
Physician; single, no kids. Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Favorite website: epicurious.com. Favorite music: R&B, hip-hop, Arabic pop, Bhangra. Celebrity dream date? Barack Obama. Celebrity look-a-like? My brother said Parminder Nagra from ER. Turn-ons? Kindness, humor, mild obsession with news. Turnoffs? Rudeness, traditional gender roles. Where do you get your news? NPR, BBC, and CNN. What did you learn in the recession? To never take anything for granted. How have you gone green? Recently purchased a composter. Who would you switch with for a day? Salma Hayek, because she is 5'2" and fly. How do you stay fit? Running, yoga, and lifting. What would your last meal be? A New York slice. Cheese, no toppings. Where do you take visitors? Peter's Inn. Run into me: In or around Patterson Park.

Libby Picken, 29
Singer for Lazerbitch; single, no kids.

Favorite film: Marie Antoinette and 28 Days Later. Favorite TV show: True Blood. Favorite website: facebook.com. Favorite music: Electronic dance. Celebrity dream date? Lily Allen. I've never dated a girl, but she seems like such a character. Turn-ons? Good manners, kindness, open-mindedness. Favorite concert? The ones I give myself in my car or apartment. Twitter is…great when it works! What did you learn in the recession? Considering I'm a "starving artist," the recession hasn't affected me. Phobias? Ghosts scare the crap out of me. Typical Saturday morning? Hit the dog park or watch a movie. Twilight is…for teenagers and depressed women. What would be your last meal? Something vegetarian. Where do you take visitors? Fells Point. Run into me here: The Hippo, singing karaoke.

Trae Lewis, 26
Police officer; single, no kids.

Favorite book: Of Mice and Men. Favorite film: Lawrence of Arabia. Favorite TV show: The Office. Favorite website: mlb.com. Favorite music: 1970s R&B. Celebrity dream date? Eva Mendes and Alicia Keys. Turn-ons? Manicures and pedicures. Turnoffs? Bad teeth. Favorite concert? U2. Twitter is…the ultimate text message. Where do you get your news? Time magazine. What did you learn in the recession? There are no guarantees. Phobias? Never having a family. Typical Saturday morning? Attempting to work out. Big sports fan? Diehard Dodgers fan. Twilight is…a show or movie about vampires? What would be your last meal? Steak and garlic mashed potatoes. Where do you take visitors? Camden Yards, such a beautiful park. Run into me here: Havana Club or Sullivan's.

Donny Chen, 28
Advertising.com data analyst; single, no kids.

Favorite book: The 4-Hour Workweek. Favorite film: Dogma. Favorite website: theonion.com. Celebrity dream date? Jessica Alba, who is a proxy for Tina Fey. Celebrity look-a-like? Jet Li and Kobe Bryant. Turn-ons? Being intelligent, athletic, easygoing, and sweet. Turnoffs? Being ignorant, self-centered, or unmotivated. Favorite concert? Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveShow. Your biggest recession sacrifice? Dance lessons and rock climbing. Typical Sunday morning? Cursing Chick-fil-A for not being open. Ravens or Orioles? Orioles. Singles of Baltimore, the lesson here is that you can have fans even if most people don't consider you exceptional. What do you do to stay fit? I go to the gym regularly and enjoy a high metabolism. Run into me: In front of my 63-inch plasma. Wait, how did you get in here?

Jacqueline Cummings, 43
Guidance counselor and proprietor of Notre Maison Tea House; divorced, two kids, Alea, 18, and Aarin, 15.

Favorite film: The original Sparkle. Favorite TV show: Anything on HGTV. Favorite music: Gospel and jazz. Celebrity dream date? Morris Chestnut. Celebrity look-a-like? Halle Berry with long locks and Tina Turner legs. Turn-ons? Intelligent, physically fit, clean cut. Turnoffs? Silly, pessimistic, arrogant. What did you learn in the recession? To appreciate my job even more. Big sports fan? I love racquetball. Hidden talents? Great with tools. How did you meet your last boyfriend? Shopping at Whole Foods. Twilight is…a beautiful nightfall. What would be your last meal? Tilapia or salmon with asparagus. Crab cakes—broiled or fried? Allergic to crab. Run into me here: Notre Maison on 25th Street.

Steve Ruckman, 30
Government attorney; single, no kids.

Favorite book: I and Thou. Favorite film: Cinema Paradiso. Favorite music: Indie folk. Celebrity dream date? Jennifer Connelly. Celebrity look-a-like? Kenneth Branagh. Turn-ons? Brains, kindness, love of slow songs. Turnoffs? Picky eating, smoking, tardiness. Favorite concert? The Weepies in NYC. Do you feel the need to be plugged-in? I don't like people reaching for a Blackberry mid-conversation. What did you learn in the recession? What goes up must come down. Typical Saturday morning? Hit snooze three times because I can. Big sports fan? If by "sports" you mean "arts," then yes. Hidden talents? I'm a semi-pro violist. How did you meet your last girlfriend? In an elevator. Twilight is…so bad it's good. Where do you take visitors? The Peabody Library. Run into me: Drinking coffee at Donna's.

Nicole Sherry, 32
Head groundskeeper, Baltimore Orioles; single, no kids.

Favorite book: The Known World. Favorite film: Tommy Boy. Favorite website: fmylife.com. Favorite music: Alternative. Celebrity dream date? Will Ferrell. Celebrity look-a-like? People have said Chelsea Handler. Turn-ons? Humor. Turnoffs? White sneakers. Favorite concert? Pearl Jam. Twitter is…totally not for me! Where do you get your news? Betty, my 81-year-old neighbor. What did you learn in the recession? Spend it while you have it. Phobias? Close talkers. Big sports fan? Absolutely. Hidden talents? I have reached expert level on "Crazy Train" on Guitar Hero 3. Twilight is…that vampire movie, right? What would be your last meal? Full rack of barbecued ribs. What do you show visitors? Mr. Boh's winking eye from my rooftop. Run into me here: Little Italy.

Nick Carroll, 38
Sales director, Phytel; divorced, one kid, Emma Ann, 3.

Favorite film: Glengarry Glen Ross. Favorite TV show: Californication. Favorite website: foodnetwork.com. Favorite music: Alternative, punk. Celebrity dream date? Padma Lakshmi. Celebrity look-a-like? Used to get Ray Liotta when he did Goodfellas. Turn-ons? Bright, well-dressed, fun, and in good shape. Turnoffs? Possessiveness and being closed-minded. Favorite concert? Anytime I've seen The Pogues. What did you learn in the recession? That just about everyone is vulnerable. Name one way you've gone green. Let my ex-wife have the Denali. Any Phobias? Hot tubs. Typical Saturday morning? Making my daughter blueberry pancakes. Big sports fan? Wouldn't paint my face, but I like football and college basketball. What do you show visitors? Eating crabs and drinking cold beer is hard to beat. Run into me here: Meadowood Park in Lutherville.

Morgan Moses-Allen, 27
Retirement plan coordinator, T. Rowe Price; single, no kids.

Favorite book: The Alchemist. Favorite film: Almost Famous. Favorite website: perezhilton.com. Favorite music: Extremely eclectic taste. Celebrity dream date? Jude Law. Celebrity look-a-like? Mya. Turn-ons? Intelligence, talent, nice hair. Turnoffs? Conceited, childishness, and game-playing. Twitter is…addicting. Do you need to be plugged-in? Yes, I am B.B. obsessed. What did you learn in the recession? Staying in with friends and watching DVDs is just as fun as a night out. Big sports fan? Yes, I wear my Ravens jersey every week. How do you stay fit? Kickboxing and cardio hip-hop class. What would be your last meal? My Granny's baked mac and cheese. Where do you take visitors? The Aquarium. My dad has worked there for 20 years. Run into me here: Merritt Athletic Club.

Michael Oher, 23
Tackle, Baltimore Ravens; single, no kids.

Favorite film: The Godfather. Favorite TV show: Nip/Tuck. Favorite website: nike.com. Favorite music: Hip-hop and R&B. Celebrity look-a-like? Kelly Gregg tells me I look like Anthony Anderson. Favorite concert: Lil Wayne. Where do you get your news? CNN or FOX. What did you learn from the recession? Save your money. How have you gone green? I do more recycling. Phobias? Fear of heights. Typical Sunday morning? Getting ready for a game and watching film. Ravens or Orioles? I'm a Raven. Who would you switch with for a day? President Barack Obama, because he's got all the control. Twilight is…Good. What would your last meal be? Shrimp and fettuccine Alfredo. Where do you take visitors? The Inner Harbor. Run into me: At the practice facility.

Andrea Kunicky, 28
Associate account executive, Maroon PR; single, no kids.

Favorite book: Twilight. Favorite film: The Departed. Favorite TV show: Grey's Anatomy. Favorite music: Hip-hop. Celebrity dream date? Leonardo DiCaprio. Celebrity look-a-like? Jennifer Love Hewitt and Shannon Elizabeth. Turn-ons? Smart, funny, confident, loves sports. Turnoffs? Cocky, smoker, too quiet. Favorite concert? Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope tour. Twitter is…a great social media tool. Love celebrity tweets! Phobias? Small case of arachnophobia. Big sports fan? Huge! I love football and the Steelers. Twilight is…a phenomenon that has taken the U.S. by storm. What would be your last meal? Drinking a whole lot of wine and eating my mom's stuffed shells. What do you show visitors? The Inner Harbor and the nightlife. Run into me here: Any of the Federal Hill bars.

Eric Masterton-Mott, 42
Director of training, Visit Baltimore; single, no kids.

Favorite book: The Gift. Favorite film: Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Favorite music: I like everything from baroque to AC/DC. Celebrity dream date? Hugh Jackman. Celebrity look-a-like? The cashier at Royal Farms thinks I actually am Christian from Nip/Tuck. Turn-ons? Fit, a nice smile, and a five-o'clock shadow. Turnoffs? Dishonesty. Favorite concert? Thievery Corporation at Pier Six. Twitter is…great for marketing, but people need to stop having all their conversations online. What lesson did you learn in the recession? We all need to take care of each other more. Hidden talents? My friends call me the "renaissance man" because I can fix anything. How did you meet your last boyfriend? match.com. What would be your last meal? Any Italian dish my mom cooked up. Where do you take visitors? Fort McHenry park for a picnic. Run into me here: Hull Street Blues.

Mary Bell, 51
Director of member success team at the MAC; divorced, no kids.

Favorite book: Eat, Pray, Love. Favorite film: Dead Poets Society. Favorite TV show: Top Chef. Favorite music: Jazz, rock, pop. Celebrity dream date? Ashton Kutcher. Celebrity look-a-like? I've been told Jennifer Aniston, but I act like Cameron Diaz. Turn-ons? Humor, adventure, competitive spirit. Turnoffs? Pessimism, insecurity, stereotyping. Favorite concert? Madonna's Girlie Tour. Where do you get your news? The streets. Do you need to be plugged-in? No, prefer face-to-face engagement. What did you learn in the recession? Don't get divorced during one! How do you stay fit? Yoga, spinning, boot camp three times a week, and lots of laughter. Where do you take visitors? Aquarium, then a pub crawl with friends and family. Run into me here: Tark's Grill, where I bartend part-time.

Keith Murphy, 27
Owner, J.A. Murphy's Tavern; single, no kids.

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby. Favorite film: The Princess Bride. Favorite TV show: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Favorite website: pandora.com. Favorite music: Country. Celebrity dream date? Natalie Portman. Celebrity look-a-like? Robert Pattinson. Turn-ons? A beautiful smile, honesty. Turnoffs? Lack of confidence. Favorite concert? Will Hoge at The 8x10. Twitter is…Who is Twitter? Is she cute? Where do you get your news? The Sun and ESPN. What did you learn in the recession? What I can live without. Big sports fan? Yes, anything Boston. Hidden talents? I play the piano. How did you meet your last girlfriend? Drunk at a bar…bad mistake! Twilight is…a great time to play golf. Where do you take visitors? One-Eyed Mike's. Run into me here: J.A. Murphy's.

Suzette Lee, 30
Nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital; single, no kids.

Favorite book: Shantaram. Favorite film: Moonstruck. Favorite TV show: Anthony Bourdain No Reservations. Favorite website: BBC.co.uk. Favorite music: Led Zeppelin. Celebrity dream date? Liam Neeson. Celebrity look-a-like? Catherine Zeta-Jones. Turn-ons? Spontaneity, intelligence, and a deep soul. Turnoffs? Arrogance, small hands, no interest in worldly events. Favorite concert? The H.O.R.D.E. Festival in 1995. What did you learn in the recession? That I have "champagne taste." Name one way you've gone green. I bike most places. Ravens or Orioles? Orioles—baseball mellow, football brutal. What do you do to stay fit? Be a nurse, yoga. Hidden talents? Impersonations. Reality show you'd be perfect for: Does SNL count? Twilight is…vampires are invariably sexy. Run into me: Tasting beers at The Brewer's Art.

Brendan Mascuch, 24
Bartender, Milan; single, no kids.

Favorite book: A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain. Favorite film: Bull Durham. Favorite website: theonion.com. Favorite music: Anything but Toby Keith-style country. Celebrity dream date? Sienna Miller. Celebrity look-a-like? I was stopped a couple of times in China by people who thought I looked like Wentworth Miller from Prison Break. Turn-ons? Subtle confidence. Turnoffs? Shyness, close talkers. Favorite concert? The Black Crowes. Where do you get your news? Jon Stewart. Ravens or Orioles? New York Giants. Makes me real popular around here. Reality show you'd be perfect for: The Amazing Race. What would your last meal be? Anything made by chef Cindy Wolf. Where do you take visitors? Max's on Broadway. Run into me here: Sip & Bite around 2:30 a.m.

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