I settled on saying I was “considering moving” to each city; a white lie, but one that seemed to elicit much more respectful and normal interactions.

I’ve changed all the guys' names.)The bar scene, on the other hand, was a blast, at least as the new girl in town.

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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.

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.

That’s the feeling that rises up in my throat whenever anyone asks me the totally non-condescending question of why I’m still single, which I’ve answered so many times in so many tones (“Just haven't met the right guy, I guess! There was the guy who kept taking calls from a number he’d labeled “Happy Happy Fun Time,” which turned out to be his drug dealer.

I've met guys in bars, at parties, while snowboarding, through friends, and online via Ok Cupid, Match, Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble, The League, How About We, Coffee Meets Bagel, and even Nerve.com, a site for “literary smut” that hosted online personals in that early-aughts dark age before smartphones.

But he also lived in the beach town of Morehead City, nearly an hour away from New Bern, and his roommate had the car for the night, so could I drive to him?

We had a great night hopping from a seafood restaurant, to a cocktail lounge, to making out at a bar on a dock so close to the water you could dip your feet in.

And then there was Peter, who I met that night in a bar set in the basement of a haunted mansion.