Correction and Editors' Note Appended. It was late on a summer evening at a saloon on Front Street in this dusty mining and fishing town on the Bering Sea, and the men were excited.
The bar, Breakers, was packed. And standing on the beer-stained floor was a most unusual sight for Nome's many bachelors: women.
It's a long, lonely search for men looking for love in alaska
There they were, an oasis in the Arctic, shooting pool, giving out phone s, dashing off to the restroom to apply lipstick, coquettishly sipping drinks bought by their suitors, including a popular cocktail, ''Love Me Tender,'' made with gin and peach vodka. Summer is a time of hope for the unattached men of Nome, a tough gold rush town of 3, people in Alaska's far western corner, where single men out single women by almost two to one.
Each June, with the midnight sun come the summer interns -- this year, seven fresh-faced women in their 20's from across the lower 48 states. They work on a nutrition project with Nome's Alaska Natives and then spend many of their nights barhopping.
In July, a troupe of traveling strippers from Minnesota makes its annual stop in Nome; the other night, five topless dancers drew a huge crowd to another Nome saloon for their show, ''Erotica. Seth Augdah, 24, a ticket agent for Bering Air, attended the topless revue, and he was heavily flirting with the interns at Breakers the night before.
But there was a certain sadness in his eyes. Augdah said. My friends keep telling me, 'Seth, one of these days, a girl will move to town, and she will be perfect for you. Alaska is known for its abundance of single men. Gold miners, oil workers, hunters, trappers and fishermen moving here in droves to live out the fantasy of a rugged, prosperous life on the frontier, a fantasy not often shared by women.
The latest census data show there are single men for every single women in Alaska, compared to 86 single men for every single women nationally and 80 to in New York State.
The current ratio in Alaska actually reflects a slight improvement, from the single man's perspective, over 10 years ago. Inthere were about 94, single men and 75, single women, while inthere were aboutsingle men andsingle women, according to the census. Forty-eight percent of Alaska'sresidents are women, according to the Census, up from 47 percent in Complicating matters for lovelorn men, Anchorage and Fairbanks, the state's two largest cities, are becoming the fast-growing hot spots of a new demographic -- lesbians.
The increase in the of women here is largely because of the growth of urban areas like Anchorage and Fairbanks, where life has become much less isolated and difficult and therefore more appealing to women, experts say.
The Internet and ''big box'' stores provide the kind of conveniences that were lacking in much of Alaska until just a decade ago. But Professor Kleinfeld, who has conducted extensive interviews with unattached men living in the bush, acknowledged that bachelors looking for love in rural areas of Alaska were still facing tough odds and that mail-order brides were common.
If the shortage of women is less severe now in the big cities, Jason Friars, 25, who lives in Anchorage, has neither noticed it nor reaped the benefits. Friars, a hotel cook who moved to Alaska a year ago from California, was interviewed one evening at a downtown bar called Darwin's Theory.
U.s. population: male to female ratio, by state
When asked about the dating situation, he paused, took note of who was at the bar and announced bitterly that there were 22 men and four women, including a female reporter from out of town. Friars said. Repeating a commonly exaggerated interpretation of the male-female ratio, Mr. Friars said, ''The women up here, they know it's to-one odds, so they can be as picky as they want.
There was some evidence of pickiness among women on an online dating Web site, Plentyoffish. I have no electricity except when I use a generator. I haul water and heat with wood. A bartender at Darwin's Theory, Brandi Domas, 31, said she saw many solo men at the bar.
Domas said. Import, import, import! But the women had complaints, too, and it seemed, from dozens of interviews with singles across the state, from Nome to Juneau, in the southeast, that Alaska was embroiled in an intense war of the sexes. They are looking for someone who can skin a moose and bring home a sixpack of beer,'' Liz Lynch, 37, a single publicity agent for an oil company, said. And I like a mountain man, a rugged individual, oh, my God.
But these guys don't commit. In terms of the male-to-female ratio, things have not changed much in Nome, famous for its rough saloons, its frontier state of mind and for being the last stop of the annual Iditarod dog sled race.
And Mr. Augdah, the wistful ticket agent, is not alone. Well, he is alone, romantically speaking, but he has plenty of male friends who are single, too. According to the Census, there are unmarried men in Nome, not counting widowers and divorcees, and unmarried women.
Missing persons clearinghouse
One of Mr. Augdah's friends, Haven Harris, 25, an aide to a state senator from Nome, said that he had not had a girlfriend in years and that he was planning to move to San Francisco by the end of the year to find a woman. The ratio of single men to single women in California is 92 toaccording to the Census. Harris made reference to the long, dark, freezing, icebound winters in Nome, which is miles south of the Arctic Circle.
Harris said one night between innings at a softball game on a gravel field in the tundra. The interns, socializing later that night with Mr. Harris and Mr. Augdah, said they were warned about the male-female ratio before coming to Nome last month. It's 30 to one! Keyes said.
At Breakers, Mr. Harris was pulling out all the stops with Ms. Keyes and the other interns, massaging their shoulders, mentioning that he worked out five times a week, impressing them, he hoped, with his cue shots and quick wit. But near 2 a. Correction: July 22,Thursday A picture caption yesterday with an article about the plight of single men facing a shortage of single women in Alaska reversed the identities of two men in some copies. Seth Augdah was at the right at a bar in Nome, next to a pool table; Haven Harris at the left.
Editors' Note: July 23,Friday An article on Wednesday described the plight of single men facing a shortage of single women in Alaska.
A photograph with the article, showing one woman and four men at a bar in Anchorage, was digitally altered to remove the photographer's reflection in a mirror. That should not have occurred. The Times's policy prohibits alteration of news photographs except in the cases of collages, montages or fanciful contrived situations that are unmistakable to readers, and with explicit acknowledgment in a caption or credit. Correction: July 27,Tuesday An article on Wednesday about the plight of single men facing a shortage of single women in Alaska misstated the surname of a ticket agent who said he was looking for a long-term relationship.
He is Seth Augdahl, not Augdah. Correction and Editors' Note Appended It was late on a summer evening at a saloon on Front Street in this dusty mining and fishing town on the Bering Sea, and the men were excited.