- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2000

SEATTLE
''Single white geek looking for mate who likes pizza by the light of a PC and crunching numbers past midnight, and won't mind sharing me with 80-hour-a-week career."
That's the plaintive cry among a lot of Seattle-area techies who are too busy trying to build start-ups, develop killer applications and count their stock options to have a love life.
Kevin Adams co-founded an Internet start-up three years ago and routinely put in 80-hour workweeks, with no weekends, before the company went belly-up 18 months ago. As for romance, forget it.
"For the first six months, I basically did nothing but work," he said.
Mr. Adams, 34, of suburban Bellevue, is now at Amazon.com and clocks in a mere 60 hours a week. But finding time for romance is still tough.
"You look at it and say, 'Is it worth working a couple of years for the opportunity to retire early?' " he said during a recent outing organized by a singles club.
The abundance of young, eligible techies with no time for romance has spawned a plethora of singles clubs and predictably on-line dating services in this high-tech Mecca.
Dante Martin said the Web site www.SinglesinSeattle.com, which he co-founded eight months ago, averages more than 6,000 visits a day.
"Our target audience is the rookies in their careers working 80 hours a week," said Mr. Martin, a senior at the University of Washington business school. "They're very techno-savvy."
Tom Lee, a life and relationship coach who teaches a class for singles at Discover U, a Seattle-based professional and personal-development learning program, said most are searching for low-maintenance relationships.
"Most high-tech people are so busy and so fulfilled in their work, they want to download. They don't want to upload," he said. "If they're in a relationship that doesn't help them, they really don't want the extra pressure."
The Puget Sound area is home to some 14,000 computer-related companies. Microsoft, the largest, employs 40 percent of the region's software work force, with about 17,000 employees three-fourths of them men at its headquarters in suburban Redmond.
There, techies in tiny, individual offices spend long hours writing code and debugging programs. Occasionally, they sleep over at work. On the company grounds are cafeterias, stores, TV lounges, video games, even athletic fields. There's little incentive to experience life on the outside.
"If you don't date people on the job, you're going to stay single the rest of your life," said Richard Gosse, chairman of the Web site AmericanSingles.com, based in Palo Alto, Calif. "You get to know them gradually over a period of months. On a good hair day and a bad hair day."
In fact, that's how Microsoft's Bill Gates once the ultimate eligible techie met his wife, Melinda, who was general manager for product development. When they married in 1994, Mr. Gates was in his late 30s.
Time crunches are not the only barrier to romance.
"There's an unfair stereotype out there that all those who work in the high-tech industry wear a pocket protector, dress badly and have no social skills," Mr. Gosse said. "But there are some cute guys who work in the industry."

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