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And then there was Peter, who I met that night in a bar set in the basement of a haunted mansion.He was 34, worked in home restoration, and looked like a guy I’d go for in Brooklyn, with an ample beard and amazing cheekbones.Becky told me about a Marine she stopped dating after he told her he was “using a penis pump to get bigger for girls.” Now she sees him out and about all the time. “Unfortunately, New Bern does have that reputation,” says Natasha, a bartender, 29, “that most chicks in this town are trying to get pregnant to trap a guy.” Almost no one I met dates online, which makes sense: If you live in a small town, chances are you like a tight community where everyone knows your name, rather than internet strangers.From what I could glean, the local servers, bartenders, and chefs in town just sleep with one another.So for now she’s in a friends-with-benefits thing with a New Bern bouncer.
Her dad even paid for her to try with her location set to Raleigh because he doesn’t like the guys where she lives — but no one wants to drive two hours for a date.“Downtown, there’s lots of friends with benefits,” says Paul, a 24-year-old sous chef.“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.I asked to talk to him for this article and he responded, “So does that mean I can’t hit on you? Then as we kept talking, I learned that he is providing for his four kids, plus their mother (they’re not together), and is a fervent Trump supporter.This was pre-election, and if you’d asked me before meeting Peter if I’d consider dating a Trump supporter, that would’ve been a strong “hell, no.” (Even more so now.) And he had the same response when I asked him if he’d date a Democrat.