LOVE HERDS: Pulling an odd Valentine’s Day out of Colorado thin air

Costco for love? Aurora thinks so.

AURORA | Love is a curious thing, and if you find yourself shuffling between Aurora and Denver it can be downright confusing and frustrating.

Valentine’s Day has spurred a lot of inbox fodder at the Sentinel. There are, of course, the bevy of holidays specials marketed for two. They stem from the regular, massages and romantic meals, to the more irregular, like a bundled deal at Denver Gameworks, where you can score a one-hour eSports session and a “Lovers Lane Milkshake” for just $15. 

No, really, we can’t wait to hear about these extreme gestures of affection at this Sunday’s brunch.

Then there are the weirder appeals. You know, the zoos that will name a cockroach or mouse — that’ll undoubtedly meet its demise with some overgrown reptile that has no business living in the lower 48 — after your least favorite former significant other. 

If that’s not really your style, there’s always the classic “donate to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s (dis)honor.” The organization wants you to break the VP’s heart this Valentine’s Day with a few bucks. “Love sex, hate sexism?” the action fund wrote in its lover’s day blast email. “Let’s hope he’s got a tub of ice cream and a spoon.”  

All of this and they still say romance is dead! 

But in this metroplex it’s really, honestly hard to tell. 

Denver is the seventh best city for dating, according to a new survey by Apartment List

“By analyzing survey data from over 11,000 single renters across the US, Apartment List has determined the best and worst metros for dating. For all you singles out there looking for love, maybe it’s time to follow cupid’s arrow and give one of these cities a try!” the bonafide researchers wrote in their report. 

Overall satisfaction of the dating scene is pretty high in Denver, 36.6%. Provo, Utah, took the top spot with 47.5%. 

More than half, 52%, of men are satisfied with the dating scene in Denver, while about 30% of women say the Mile High is working out well, according to the data. Could it be all the beer? The altitude? The combination of both that seems to drive the perception that compatibility should be based on whether you share a favorite 14-er with the person on the other side of that double IPA?

If we learn anything from these numbers, it’s that life in Menver is not all it’s cracked up to be. Here in Aurora things look a lot bleaker.

Hours after the Apartment List’s news came this inbox subject line from Zumper: “National Data Study: Aurora Ranked as The 15th Worst City For Couples.”

Oh no.

It gets worse at the end.

“We created an index that included cost of living, populations of married and divorced individuals, number of restaurants, and Valentines Day engagement,” the real estate website wrote of their research. “With those categories in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list to highlight the standout cities for couples.”

It’s unclear whether cheaper is better with this dataset. Aurora comes in at $1,128 for a one-bedroom. A similar living situation in Denver will on average cost about $400 more (they ranked 17 for best cities for couples) and $744 in Laredo, Texas, aka Lover’s Paradise, according to Zumper.

Aurora’s marriage rate is 36% and its divorce rate is 31%. Absolutely nobody is getting engaged on Valentine’s Day (-4% is the ranking here) and there are about 58 restaurants per 100,000 people. 

Why these criteria are the chosen ones is anybody’s guess. But perhaps finding the truth about love around these parts can’t be found in an inbox. Reddit is obviously the next best option, or at least the most entertaining one. Over there things become a bit more obvious why love is neither easy nor enjoyable in this sprawling metropolis. 

One user polled the online community where a good place for singles on Valentine’s Day would be. The first response? 

“Costco on Havana”

No punctuation. No chance you’d tell the kids that’s how you and your heartthrob met.

Kara Mason is a Sentinel Colorado reporter.