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40 Year Old Valley Date Scene
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Singles play a mixer game to break the ice at an event on the rooftop of the Archer Hotel Nov. Then again, sometimes not.

Name: Robinette

How old am I: I am 48
What is my gender: Female
My hair: Dark-haired
What is my favourite drink: Rum
Music: Pop
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The crowd at Nola's bar, six deep with techies not an hour before, had thinned to little clusters of buddies fixated on the Sports Channel. Debbie Giacomo and her three friends, perched on too-tall stools around a table, felt wasted, and not from their warm Anchor Steam pale ales.

Giacomo, a year-old third-grade teacher in nearby Hayward, surveying the remaining, idling men. We're cute. We're available. So what are we doing here alone? A good question.

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This, after all, is the heart of the heart of man country, one of the few places in the Western Hemisphere where men out women. Palo Alto, arguably the center of the Silicon Valley universe, has a whopping 36 percent more men than women. Sometimes, the troops of men strolling around downtown make it seem as if a Boy Scout reunion is in town. And since this is also the land of the best educated, highest paid workers in the world, minting 64 new millionaires a day, single women in search of smart, successful men should be having a ball.

But the valley is a weird world, unto itself. In this sphere, techies take their dogs, birds and pajamas to work, and being too busy for anything but becoming the next MOP millionaire on paper is as crucial to fitting in as Palm organizers and T-shirts. Matchmakers say the dating scene is probably worse than anywhere.

On Friday nights, Fry's Electronics, the techie haven here, is more packed with single men than the trendy bars, which tend to fill with Stanford University students. So while the geek glut has spawned an industry of matchmakers and image consultants -- those who teach men things like how long their pants should be and how to say hello -- finding romance is harder than finding a house here for under half a million dollars.

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Paiva said. It's very, very competitive. Everyone is worried that the other guy is moving faster. I've never seen such competitive people in my life.

No one, if the anecdotal evidence gathered from single men and women in bars and on the street can be trusted, is happy. Everyone complains. The men complain that the women are too few and too hard to get; the women, that the men don't bother with them or even know how to try. Actually, the ratio looked more likebut all he could see, he said, were ''guys, and more guys. Aronson said. They come around just to play 'Who Wants to Meet a Millionaire. Indeed, an urban legend is growing in Silicon Valley about women flocking here in search of geek gods with all the right assets, at least on paper.

But like Big Foot, such tales, told by disgruntled single men, are hard to prove. At Nola's, the women come from only as far as other parts of Silicon Valley, same as the men. Danette Austin, a year-old kindergarten teacher in Campbell, next door to San Jose, was not even sure the hype about a guy glut was true. Austin said. Of course, she said, a bar has never been the ideal way to meet a mate, or even a date.

I work really hard, really long hours, and I'm really busy. I've gone years without seeing someone or having a date.

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It's crazy. It is hard to read a newspaper without coming across advertisements for yet another dating service. One of her tips: ''The first gatekeeper to sexual attraction is the way you look. And then there are the parties. Lots and lots of parties. It is becoming a tradition for every new start-up to hold a party in San Francisco, usually with an open bar and open door.

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Indeed, one Web site, www. The dot camaraderie is as thick as the sweaty, crushed crowds at these events. But the action at such parties is all about networking, not dating, the regulars say. Dates, when made, tend to be lavish: at the most expensive restaurants, or on yachts, across borders on private planes, even across the ocean.

But dates seem to be the exception.

Larry Gioffree, a year-old sales representative for computer hardware and software to dentists said neither he nor his friends had ever met women they might date. Gioffree said. Plus the women are quite stuck-up here. If dating is bad for most singles here, it is even worse for those who happen not to fit the prevailing demographics -- white and young, between 22 and Maxeau Mercier, a year-old systems engineer from Montreal, who is black, had had a very dry dating spell since moving to Sunnyvale three years ago.

Mercier said, watching three women semisurrounded by a dozen men at Q's, another popular gathering spot in downtown Palo Alto. There are few women in his company, he said, and so the corporate gym and the corporate cafeteria and the corporate water cooler are out. And so are clubs, he said.

In another world, say, the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is heavy with single women, Craig Newmark, a year-old self-described ''George Costanza, formerly classic nerd type,'' would be a catch. Newmark, founder and chief executive of a popular community service Web site in San Francisco, www. Though listed on the Web site www. Newmark has had little action in the date department. The only eligible bachelor on the site who is over 40, and overweight, he has received about two dozen e-mail messages over several weeks and has answered every one.

But only one turned into a date -- a first and last date.

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Paiva of Table for Six Total Adventures and Entertainment, which arranges dinner dates with three women and three men with similar interests, said one of the big problems in Silicon Valley these days was that the women were too picky. The women will say, 'I don't want to meet anyone who is bald. She added: ''I've been a relationship coach 10 years and I've never seen things so bad. The misunderstanding between the sexes is tremendous. The women are very tough on the men. They're constantly finding reasons to not like them.

And the men, who are some of the nicest guys in the world, think that women just don't want nice guys. Actually, the women think there are not too many nice guys around, and vice versa.

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At Nola's, one of Danette Austin's friends, Katie who wanted only her first name useddecided to test her theory that men just want to brag about how much they make. She pointed to a clean-cut, well-pressed young man of about her age, Five minutes later, she was back.

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He said he'll do a lot better next year. She didn't hear what the gentleman, Bob Cruz of San Jose, said about her afterward. Cruz summed up.

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View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. It was getting too late to meet a geek.

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