By The Bakersfield Californian
If you're single in Kern County -- and looking not to be -- I have some advice.Hit the casinos and then head to church, in that order.
Statistically speaking, that's where you'll find a large percentage of Kern's singles no matter the age group.
Lois Henry hosts "Californian Radio" every Wednesday on KERN 1180 AM from 9 to 10 a.m. You can get your two cents in by calling 842-KERN.
Yes, I know you're all madly surfing those online dating sites, which can be expedient, no doubt. But there is something to be said for meeting Mr./Ms. Right in the flesh. Just ask Manti Te'o.
I bring this up because Thursday is Valentines Day.
A day of flowers and candlelight for some, one of dread and eye-rolling for others.
Which means it's time to check the dry, analytical underbelly of romance in the Golden Empire.
Back to the stats. As far as sheer numbers go, single men and women are pretty evenly matched in Kern, according to The Californian's market research group Scarborough.
That is, until we hit our 50s.
In Kern single men make up just 44 percent of the population in that age bracket. By the 60s, the difference is stark: 38 percent men to 62 percent women.
Not to add any pressure, ladies, but if you think it's not rainin' men in your 30s, the Medicare years are going to be a full-on drought.
And Kern's singles are still missing each other at work, where most people meet their significant others. That's because more single men work in blue collar jobs than white collar jobs, which is where you'll find most single gals.
So, as I was saying, if you're interested in the ancient art of meeting face-to-face, try casinos and churches.
Nearly 50 percent of single men in their 20s reported visiting casinos in the past 12 months. The numbers held pretty steady for men in their 30s (53 percent), 40s (55 percent) 50s (34 percent) and 60s (40 percent.)
Kern's single women weren't far behind: 20s, 41 percent; 30s, 43 percent; 40s, 36 percent; 50s, 46 percent; and 60s, 35 percent.
And these were "any casinos," such as Aviator, Tachi Palace, Eagle Mountain and Golden West, not just those in Las Vegas.
So, singles, if you're low on gas money, you can stay local and find out if you're lucky in both money and love.
The second most consistent stats I saw were for single men and women who contribute to a religious organization, which, I assume, means they also attend that organization.
Between 21 percent and 38 percent of single men in all age groups contributed to a church while 18 percent to 33 percent of single women of all age groups did so.
If you're playing the odds, church isn't a bad bet.
More tidbits: jogging and gardening.
Both guys and gals in their 20s and 30s reported jogging as a high interest pastime. By the 40s through 60s, that shifts to gardening. (Hint: gardening classes at Home Depot.)
Oh, and if you're in your 20s don't waste your money on rock concerts unless you want to run into your parents.
Only 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively, of single men and women in their 20s reported going to concerts in the past 12 months, according to Scarborough.
Meanwhile, 33 percent and 20 percent (the highest percentages for all age groups) of singles in their 40s were rockin' it out.
Looking over all the activities, I had to wonder what single twenty-somethings were doing with their free time. Their percentages were low for everything -- wineries, sporting events, art galleries, live theater, comedy clubs, etc.
Road trips, apparently.
Mostly Los Angeles for women in their 20s (55 percent) and Vegas, baby! for men in their 20s (34 percent).
Well, they might be doing a few other things.
About 90 percent of both single men and women in their 20s reported having never been married. Yet, 52 percent of the men and 62 percent of the women said they had children living in their household.
Yeah, that'll keep you busy.
Which reminds me, guys -- you'd better like kids, because single women in Kern have them through every age group.
Significantly fewer men reported children in the household as they aged through the 40s, 50s and 60s. Not so for women.
In the 40s age group, 73 percent of women said they had kids at home. That only went down to 28 percent of women in their 50s and 24 percent of women in their 60s.
So, there you have it. Casinos, churches, career changes, jogging and road trips. Get on it! Or, you can keep telling your mother you're happy being single. Really. You're too busy for a relationship. Really. Togetherness is overrated. Really?