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2006 Top Singles: Sole Patrol

You want smart, sexy singles? We’ve got 19 who fit the bill. Match.com ain’t got nothin' on us.

Photographs by Katherine Bish & Sarah Carmody

Complaints about the dating scene in St. Louis are as tired and busted as the myth that there’s never anything to do here. Fact is, the city’s got plenty of both—you just have to know what you’re looking for. We knew exactly what we wanted when we went hunting for this year’s crop of top singles—success, depth, excitement, hotness and, with apologies to Iggy, a lust for life—and we found it in each of these eligible St. Louisans. So you can stop whining about the local pool of prospects now. And if you’re still looking for something to do, head to the Chase Park Plaza’s Khorassan Ballroom on November 22 at 7 p.m. to meet these singles—and a couple thousand others—at St. Louis Magazine’s 2006 Top Singles Bash. (Plus, proceeds benefit Food Outreach, so you can feel good about going out on the prowl.)

Jill Devine

Music director | 29 | never married | O’Fallon

Some songs you wish you could forget. (We’re looking at you, “You’re Beautiful.”) Others burrow so deeply into our memories that they compose the soundtrack to our lives. Jill’s inner mixtape is longer than most. “I love that music creates memories for people,” she says. “It can be as stupid as hearing a song and remembering jamming out to it in the car with friends.”

With a love for music—and impromptu dance parties—it’s only fitting that Jill landed the music-director gig at 101.1 The River (now Movin 101.1). That was Proudest Moment #1. It’s a demanding job, but it did lead to Proudest Moment #2 (a.k.a. The Day She Bought Her House), so forgive her if she yells at you for putting your feet on her coffee table. “I am a clean freak,” she admits. “If the house gets messed up, I start cleaning without even knowing it.”

Scrappy come-from-behind types, like, say, Patrick Dempsey, might earn a pass on that rule, though. Sure, he’s Dr. McDreamy now, but Jill remembers Dempsey from the Can’t Buy Me Love days. “The great thing about him is that you see how much people can change as they grow,” she says. “Sometimes it just takes people a while to grow into their skins.”

Stop it, Jill, we’re gettin’ all misty.

She had us at ... her odd—but completely platonic—celebrity crush: “I have an obsession with Marilyn Monroe.”

Pamela Raymond

Independent consultant | 35 | divorced | Sunset Hills

Fear is just a nuisance, as far as Pamela is concerned. It didn’t stop her from kayaking in Jamaica (though she can’t swim), it didn’t prevent her from crashing a posh wedding reception at the Chase, and it sure didn’t interfere when she started her own independent consulting business, Raymond Creative, despite a complete lack of clients.

Busy as she is, this New Orleans native (who’s been in St. Louis the last 12 years) never questions the extra hours she devotes to her volunteer positions with the Professional Organization of Women and Venus Envy. “There is a responsibility to use your time, talent and resources to improve the community in which you live,” she says humbly.

In keeping with her modesty, Pamela’s reluctant to take the credit for her unwavering confidence. “A lot of who I am comes from my twin sister,” she explains. “She’s the key to my success and my sanity.” 

A beautiful, successful woman ... with an identical twin? Prospective suitors, please form an orderly line.

She had us at ... her refusal to imagine herself with four legs: “What kind of animal would I be? That is a ridiculous question and I cannot, in good conscience, answer it.”

Jennifer Estes

Marketing manager | 31 | divorced | Lafayette Square

Jennifer began her professional career in information technology, but when it proved a less-than-satisfying career choice for the effervescent young woman, she switched to marketing.

Sound easy? It’s not—but nor is it easy to deter this driven St. Louis native from anything she develops an interest in. She’s a natural-born social butterfly who quickly tired of waiting for the party to come to her.

“I was one of those typical St. Louisans, whining about how there’s nothing to do in this city,” she admits. But no longer: A few social and leadership events sent Jennifer into a tailspin of volunteer work, and she now counts herself as an active member of 10 community organizations and committees.

With all that networking, one would expect Jennifer to cling to her “me time,” but her favorite pastime is entertaining. She’s honed her braising and sautéing techniques at the Viking Cooking School, and, because she’s also a budding oenophile, there are always plenty of libations for her lucky guests. It seems you can take the hostess out of the party, but you can’t take the party out of this hostess.

She had us at ... her scary-long list of community-based groups. Period.

Sarah Kramer

Corporate communications | 30 |  never married | St. Charles

Coming to our photo shoot was a big step for Sarah, whose last visit to the Pin-Up Bowl ended in Bridget Jones–like disaster, when she celebrated a rare strike with an ill-conceived James Brown imitation: “Let’s just say, doing the splits in a skirt and bowling shoes is not one of my more impressive looks.”

But one torn hamstring and hours of physical therapy later, the corporate-communications manager at Mallinckrodt/Tyco Healthcare (whose daunting job title belies her carefree attitude) is back up on the proverbial horse.

Traumatic as it may have been, events like that are the aspiring humor writer’s bread and butter—which is why she needs a partner who shares her sense of humor. “I think laughing at yourself is the most powerful thing you can ever do,” she claims, which would make Sarah a veritable Wonder Woman. Despite her self-deprecating bent, though, she remains optimistic about relationships.

“You know how it is when you’re doing something so fun and you know that will be a great memory you’ll have for the rest of your life? When that happens, I want someone sitting next to me to turn to.”

She had us at ... her appreciation for the finer things in life: “I want to positively influence and create change in the lives of the less fortunate children of St. Louis. We have a situation here that needs to be dealt with, and this is my generation’s chance to figure it out.”

Peg Weathers

Executive | 45 | never married | Central West End

“I want diversity and eclecticism,” muses Peg. Though she says this in reference to her taste in neighborhoods (she lives in the Central West End, natch), it’s readily apparent that this sentiment colors most aspects of Peg’s life. There are no hard-and-fast rules when playing with Grand Center’s executive VP, save one—the staunchly liberal Peg, who once worked for the Clinton administration, may be daring enough to munch fried locusts in Manila, but she can’t quite muster up the courage to date a conservative. “It’d be like oil and water,” she says.

That’s not to say that Peg isn’t up to a challenge. After all, she recently joined the circus—well, as a board member, but still.

Yep, at a time when most people want to settle down, Peg’s got a lot left on the old to-do list: “I’m looking for someone with a feel for adventure.” She explains, “I know I want to be involved in a committed relationship, but I don’t know what ‘settling down’ means. I want to see the pyramids and Machu Picchu, and I want someone to see them with, too!”

She had us at ... her blatant disregard for speed limits: “I drive a convertible, and there is nothing better than racing down the highway with the music up and the top down!”

S. Cady Scott

Student | 28 | never married | University City

Cady Scott is plagued by logophilia. Never heard of it? Here’s a hint: She’s an aspiring writer who describes herself as “curious, capricious and callipygian.” You’re going to have to look that last one up—we’re not telling.

Although the grad student seeks an intellectual curiosity similar to her own in a partner, she stresses that said curiosity need not bear a formal academic stamp of approval. “It’s being interested in something outside yourself that’s important,” she clarifies.

In her case, those interests are innumerable and include traveling, scuba diving and volunteering as a youth minister at her church. But it was her love of cities that drove her to quit a job in marketing for a car-wash chain and return to school to study urban planning.

It’s a big leap from industrial-strength scrub brushes to architectural history, and it’s kept Cady’s schedule full, so much so that one wonders whether she needs, or even wants, romance. But her independence doesn’t prevent her from admitting that a healthy relationship would be nice: “It’s important to find someone who can add ballast to your life, or for whom you can do the same, and keep everything even-keeled.”

She had us at ... her love of the intentional bastardization of proper English for the sake of making a statement: “Upon being asked to use the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence, Dorothy Parker once said, ‘You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.’”

Amie Needham

Attorney | 32 | never married | Benton Park

It didn’t take Amie long after being named a Top Single to play her “woman’s prerogative” card. After initially telling us that Kate Beckinsale would be her celebrity dream date, the employment lawyer later switched her choice to Reese Witherspoon.

“How could I have been so silly?” she asked. Guess that takes care of the “blondes or brunettes” question.
Other things—like her love for Benton Park in general and its restaurants in particular—are a little more concrete. If she’s not downtown hanging out with friends from Lawyers for Equality or Saint Louis Effort for AIDS, you’re likely to find her at Juniper Grill with a group of friends of the glass-is-half-full variety. “I have zero tolerance for negativity,” she says.

And why would she, after spending her day trying workplace-discrimination and sexual-harassment cases? Girl’s got to unwind. And some of the best unwinding takes place at her three-story rehabbed abode—it seems she’s got a thing for playing hostess. “I throw a big Champagne Christmas party every year,” she says. “It’s so festive, and everyone dresses up and seems happy. It’s holiday cheer run amok.”

She had us at ... her refusal to act her age: “Dates at the City Museum are great because you can tell so much about a person if they’re willing to be silly and crawl around on a jungle gym.”

Kate Spencer

Admissions counselor | 29 | never married | Central West End

We all have our own ways of expressing our inner selves. For some, it’s standing on the corner, screaming obscenities at a light pole. For Kate, it’s art—particularly mixed-media installation art that may include photography, video, sculpture ... or the occasional barnyard accoutrement. “For my senior thesis, I was able to open up a lot more by using found objects and a lot of hay,” she says. Sensing that might sound a little strange, she goes on: “It’s hard to explain, but there’s always a function of duality to my pieces. It’s about how you feel inside versus how you present yourself to others.”

There’s not a lot of time for the art these days, what with Kate’s job as an admissions counselor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, but there’s still that element of yin and yang in her life. Some nights, the “avid Netflixer” is satisfied with dinner and a movie at home—just as long as it isn’t a Tom Cruise flick. (“He’s a little nutty.”)

Other nights, she’s on the prowl for good sushi and better conversation with her friends. “I go out three or four nights a week,” she says. “I love trying new restaurants.” May we suggest finishing the night with a stop at an art gallery for deep analysis of a hay-based piece?

She had us at ... her pom-pom propensity in college: “I was a Division I cheerleader.”

Adrienne Walker

Office assistant | 30 | never married | Bel Ridge

We see Adrienne’s future, and it’s furnished with low-slung overstuffed couches with plush pillows and set to a samba-meets-electronica soundtrack. We’re getting visions of low lights and a crowded room. Oh yeah, and there’s chocolate, obscene amounts of chocolate—in truffle form, in cake form, in drink form ... Make your reservations now for a table at Adrienne’s Decadent Dessert Bar1, which just happens to be a plan bubbling up for the entrepreneur-to-be. She says she just wants her own business, but we’re inclined to think that a love of all things indulgent might have something to do with it, too. “OK, I like wine, I like dessert, I like to talk,” she admits with a laugh. “It’s a good fit.”

Until the brownies-and-Burgundy thing gets going, though, she’s funneling all of her energy into her kids—an 8- and a 1-year-old—which, lately, means she never leaves Forest Park. She already spends her days working at the Missouri Historical Society, but then it’s right back at night and on the weekends for trips to the zoo, the Science Center, the park ... you get the idea. “We’re fixtures there,” she says.

OK, so tell us more about the desserts, Adrienne. “How about just-out-of-the-oven double-fudge brownies with two heaping scoops of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean ice cream?”2

She had us at ... her “how I quit my job” story that might make some people really, really jealous: “I told my former boss from hell just where she could stuff it.”

1 This name is purely fictional, but if Adrienne chooses to use it, we will go all "intellectual property" on her and demand royalties.

2 Table for two, please.

Krista Mallette

Director of event marketing | 29 | never married | Old Florissant

Krista loves a lot of things. She loves St. Louis. Sure, her family’s here and so are her friends, but her passion isn’t taking from the city—it’s giving back. So the fact that she’s made a career out of working with a variety of local charities—Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Easter Seals among them—makes sense. It also makes her happy. “My job has an intrinsic value to it,” she says. “There’s more to it than just a paycheck.”

She loves Paris. She visited the City of Light with her sister when she was 18 and was taken by the art and history of it all, but she’s ready to go back and experience it in a completely different way now. “It just breathed romance and love,” she says. “I’d love to go back and visit it again with someone special.”

She loves clothes. “I have to be a little more business-conscious at work,” she says, “but at night I tend to be more colorful. I wear a lot of dresses and heels.”

She does not love bad table manners. “I can’t handle people who won’t eat properly or who scrape their knives and forks on the plate,” she says. “It’s like nails on a chalkboard.” We promise not to eat with our mouths open.

She had us at ... her willingness to risk life and limb for art: “I laid in the middle of a busy street in Paris to get the best angle for a photo of the Eiffel Tower.”

Leslie L. Farr II

Political consultant | 28 | divorced | Fairgrounds South

Leslie is surprisingly lighthearted for a man who’s been known to voluntarily wade into the most impoverished segments of society—but perhaps his joviality is a necessary antidote to the tragedy he sees in his volunteer work at the St. Patrick Center, one of several community groups he’s involved with. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

“My life’s a comedy, believe me,” Farr chuckles.

Politicians these days make car salesmen look saintly, so it might be natural to be skeptical of this former congressional candidate’s motives—but even though Leslie has recently retreated behind the scenes politically, his do-gooder pursuits have remained front and center as he continues his career as a consultant. He’s looking for a similar heart of gold in a partner. “I think community service is important,” he says. “When you’re dating someone and they don’t get involved in the things you do, it’s difficult to be with them.”

That’s not to say that life with Leslie is all hair shirts and stumping. In fact, a well-stocked wardrobe is one his favorite indulgences. And come on—his favorite shows are Girlfriends and Bridezillas. How dour can he be?

He had us at ... his patriotic choice for a three-month vacation, given a world of options: “Orlando—can’t get enough of roller coasters and the mouse.”

Miguel Cotignola

Information technology | 35 | divorced | The Loft District

Miguel is allergic to cats, but he owns one (Tom).

Miguel is a self-described city boy, but for years he spent his weekends helping his ex raise alpacas.

Miguel, it would seem, is a fool for love.

Either that or he’s a glutton for punishment. Anyone who looks at the rigorous triathlon training schedule this information technology team leader voluntarily inflicts on himself (which includes one or two hours of running, biking or swimming, daily) would be inclined toward the latter.

Luckily, his expectations for a partner are much more reasonable. “Caring and respect are the two qualities I look for,” the Madrid native says.

Sounds simple, but wait—it gets better. Although he’s content to train solo, Miguel does want a partner with whom he can indulge in his other passion, travel—specifically, to warm, sunny Spanish beaches. Certainly it wouldn’t be hard to care about a man who spends his time on such respectable pursuits.

He had us at ... his courage—and lack of common sense—in the face of danger: “I once chased a bear through the woods of Yosemite National Park trying to take a picture.”

Sig Mejdal

Analyst | 40 | never married | Central West End

What does the enterprising sports fan with degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering, mathematical modeling and cognitive psychology do when the job he wants doesn’t exist? He calls the Cardinals, makes his pitch for a position that involves scouting young talent using statistical models and pesters them until they give him an interview—and then he doesn’t leave until they give him the job. Wrapping your brain around exactly what Sig does ain’t easy, but it doesn’t take a genius to relate to his love for the job: “To see guys play and get to realize their dreams because of some­thing I did—that’s really rewarding.”

Something else he’s proud of—though there are those who might find it depressing—is the fact that he’s been to 74 weddings. “That’s a lot of chicken and rice,” he says.

Ladies, put on your smart-ass caps. Asking Sig to describe himself in three words (“completely felony-free”) reveals his most marketable trait—and it isn’t his lack of jail time: There’s a bone-dry sense of humor behind the bookish exterior. “When people say, ‘Huh, you’re not a Rain Man after all,’ I take that as a compliment,” he says. (We didn’t drop a box of toothpicks to test his quick-counting skills, but it crossed our minds.)

He had us at ... his creativity in securing a ransom: “I faked my own kidnapping once.”

Keith Kohler

Executive | 44 | never married | Glendale

You gotta feel sorry for Keith’s passport—poor thing’s been inked up more than a jailhouse-tattoo test subject. Here’s a sampling of his recent travel itinerary: a week spent visiting AIDS orphanages and exploring the bush country in South Africa, paragliding off the face of a 10,000-foot peak in the Swiss Alps and jetting from Hawaii to L.A. to Miami to Costa Rica to Antigua in one week. “There’s something to be said for getting outside of our cocoon in America,” he says. No kidding.

Given that impressive travel résumé, you shouldn’t have to ask about this print marketing CEO’s thoughts on environ­mental issues, but, if you insist, here’s a clue: His favorite recent movie was Al Gore’s
An Inconvenient Truth. “If our legacy is just to take what we can and not think about the consequences or the future,” he says, “then shame on us.”

Woe be to the girl who dismisses Keith as just some hemp-pants–wearing, granola-eating, tree-hugging wingnut, though. The guy has a taste for the finer things in life, too: “I love great wine and great food, and I enjoy it all too often, as my credit-card bill will show,” he says. “We’re on this earth for such a snapshot of time that we have to enjoy it while we’re here.”

He had us at ... his circle of pan-flute–playing friends. “I was once invited in for tea at the home of Ian Anderson [of Jethro Tull fame].”

Randy Grim

Founder, Stray Rescue | 44 | never married | Benton Park

“I thought there must be more to life than asking, ‘Chicken or beef?’” explains the soft-spoken Randy, struggling to demonstrate how a dissatisfying career as “the world’s worst flight attendant” and an unbridled compassion for homeless animals led him to found Stray Rescue of St. Louis and, in turn, become a radio host, published author and the subject of Melinda Roth’s The Man Who Talks to Dogs.

Make no mistake—yes, he loves talking to dogs, but this man is equally eager to talk to people. He just has to be coaxed out of his shell.

“I’m shy,” Randy admits, “so I can’t date someone who doesn’t talk, because then we’d just be sitting there looking at each other. That’s happened.” He chuckles. “I said, ‘This drink tastes good’ about five times!”

Randy looks forward to meeting the right guy and demonstrating that he has far more facets than his public persona reveals. For example, this nationally renowned ballroom dancer does a mean cha-cha, but is just as happy to curl up on the couch and indulge in some cheesy reality TV. Although no one, Randy included, can predict where his interests will take him next, one thing’s for sure: You’ll need a lint roller when you get there.

He had us at ... his fear of religious statuary (among other things): “I’m afraid of being coughed on, extreme heights, buffets and the thought of living in a trailer with a flamingo and the statue of the Virgin Mary in my yard.”

Joseph E. Fournier

Attorney | 29 | never married | The Loft District

One of the lesser-known perks of being a member of the Air Force’s Judge Advocate General corps, or “JAG”—that’s “lawyer” to you and me—is that the job title is pickup-line gold. But Joe refuses to play his trump card. “I don’t tell anybody this is what I do for a living when I meet them,” he remarks. “It’s not all of who I am.”

Of course, it is a huge part of his life. The Massachusetts native has moved all over the country in the years since he joined the Air Force, but Missouri, where’s he spent the last two, is his favorite thus far. He’s particularly fond of Forest Park and—despite hailing from Red Sox country—the Cardinals.

As much as he loves his job, Joe’s got ever-loftier goals in the works. In a decade, he hopes to add “Congressman” or “Senator” to his list of titles. He also hopes to start a family—once he finds the right woman. “I want an equal that I can talk to, that I can rely on, that I can share things with ... and who is absolutely gorgeous.” It’s good to have dreams.

He had us at ... his choice of jogging partners: “I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, and I have to say, running from a bull that wants to gore you is exhilarating.”

Jeff Rush

Managed account specialist | 32 | never married | Clayton

On paper, Jeff seems a little straitlaced ... at first. “Investment-management consultant with a fondness for documentaries” doesn’t exactly scream “Party!” But turn the page, and things get interesting quickly.

For starters, he says that if he were an animal, he’d be Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua. Then he points out that at age 16 he qualified for the Olympic trials in swimming. Finally there was the ill-advised, not-quite-so-clear-headed cliff-diving incident that permanently scared him off water sports involving rocks and heights. And with that, the mental image of the conservative businessman pops its collar.

In truth, though, Jeff has a strong traditional streak. His 10-year goal is nonnegotiable: He wants to start a family—and, as a former high-school history teacher, he knows his way around children. “The best part of the job was being able to guide the kids and be an advocate for them,” he says.

Though his partner in that venture remains TBD, she’ll have to meet a few stipulations. “I want someone who is sincere, genuine, down-to-earth, charismatic and has a great sense of humor.”

Looks like Paris Hilton is out of luck.

He had us at ... his apparent—and strangely endearing—love for the ‘80s, which we’re basing solely on his celebrity dream date: “Lisa Bonet.”

Steve Chamraz

Investigative reporter | 30 | never married | Lafayette Square

Things you should know about Steve:

(1) He can read your mind.
“In my line of work, you learn to read people really well,” says the chief investigative reporter for KMOV. “You have to, or else you’re going to get lied to and not even know it.”

(2) He has a death wish.
Back in Kansas City—where he lived and worked until he moved here last fall and bought a place in Lafayette Square—he chased storms when he wasn’t sticking his mic in corrupt politicians’ faces. “I’ve never felt more alive than the day that a tornado was coming at me,” he says.

(3) He’s got a bike to sell, if you’re interested.
Between work and hanging out with friends after hours, his workout agenda has taken a hit. “I have a really expensive bike,” he says, “and it’s probably the best clothes rack I’ve ever owned.”

(4) He isn’t really a hard-charging, stone-cold serious guy—he just plays one on TV.
“I’m actually pretty laid-back and shy in public,” he says. “I just hang back and observe.” Observe ... riiight ... and we were just starting to let our guard down, Mr. Two Edward R. Murrow Awards for Investigative Reporting.

He had us at ... his willingness to get down and dirty: “I do the dishes.”

Andy Lohr

Sales/distribution | 29 | never married | Creve Coeur

It’s true, Andy was a Junior Olympic shotgunner. Yes, he’s a diehard fan of that most brutal of sports, hockey, and he plays about three times a week. And, OK, he gets a little revved up about people who drive slow in the fast lane and then speed up when you try to pass them. But he’s not a violent guy—honest. In fact, he’s even a little bit sweet: He wants to be a dad ... like, really, really wants to be a dad. “Two boys and a girl would be perfect,” he says. “I want to be able to dress each of them as a goalie and shoot on them.” Yeah, about that “not a violent guy” thing ...

If he seems like a high-energy guy, it’s because he is. After a day of wrangling the sales staff at Lohr Distributing—yep, that’s why you recognized the name—he’s golfing, working out or, you guessed it, playing hockey. “Personal health is a big thing to me because I want to have a long life,” he says, “and I want to enjoy it.”

All of that to say this: The activity-averse need not apply. Oh, and pigtails are a plus: “There’s something about a girl who wears pigtails.”

He had us at ... his taste in film: “I would say my favorite recent movie was Star Wars: Episode III, but that sounds too immature, so I’ll say Batman Begins, or maybe Superman Returns.”

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