The Times

August 28 1999

Women lured to Valley of the Nerds

The Times

LOVE-HUNGRY women are heading for America's Silicon Valley in search of romance. The "nerds" of the computer industry are not quite sure what to make of it all.

For years, the men who work in the centre of the computer world have had an image problem: they are viewed as workaholics, living on junk food, sleeping in their offices and dressing with no co-ordination.

However, they have been found to have certain attractions: many of them are single, and some are rich. Now the American Singles club is inviting women to a November weekend in Palo Alto, California, with a money-back guarantee if they fail to find at least one good man.

The county has been found to have 5,500 more single men than women, outstripping Anchorage, Alaska, which always used to hold the title of Guyville, USA. In comparison, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Houston and Philadelphia all have huge deficits of single men.

"Nowhere else, as far as major metropolitan areas, are there so many more men than women," said Richard Gosse, founder of American Singles - which has 40,000 members - and author of such books as You CAN Hurry Love. "The men here are every mother's dream. They're stable, well-educated and wealthy. Some of them have millions and millions of dollars and no one to spend it on.

"Sure, there are a lot of geeky guys who can't match their socks and can't even say hello to a woman, but for every one of them, there is another who is intelligent and articulate."

If the area has not yet proved a magnet for thousands of unattached women, it has drawn the dating industry to its doors. Jama Clark, a singles psychologist, has opened an office there, taking groups of men through seminars that include such advice as: "The first gatekeeper to sexual attraction is the way you look."

There are dozens of dating agencies, some of them Internet-based. But while the men may be desperate for dates, they are not necessarily ready for marriage. Georgina Ong, of the Silicon Valley matchmaking service Positive Connections, lamented: "A lot them have done very well and they're in no hurry to commit."

Copyright 1999, Times Newspapers Ltd.