ADMITTEDLY, WRITING about Sexy Singles isn't in my wheelhouse. Unless the sexy singles in question are being dumped on, discriminated against or otherwise in need of justice. (Buzzkill. Party of one.)
But when I heard about a group of guys in City Hall - City Hall, of all places - plotting to become Daily News Sexy Singles, I felt duty-bound to investigate.
I'm way out of the dating scene, but City Hall has never struck me as being awash in hotties. (No offense, we're not exactly a bunch of supermodels over here, either.)
My completely, totally, not-creepy-at-all professional verdict: Forget the bars and the blind dates, Philly singles. Give your index fingers a rest from all that swiping right and left on Tinder.
You want to find a good man in this city? City Hall may be a good place to start. You just have to know where to look.
Inside a fifth-floor office, for instance, five super-decent dudes who work for Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez went to an awards ceremony last year, realized they clean up quite nicely - I saw the picture, they do - and wondered why they were single.
There's Carlos "call me Andy" Rendon, 36, whose creativity and sense of humor jump-started the group's campaign to become Sexy Singles.
"It started off as a dream," he semi-jokes, when he describes the vision that came to him in the wee hours. "I thought, we're all cool, good-looking . . . we should be Sexy Singles."
Danilo Burgos, 37, is a father of six with a bottomless well of deep thoughts, even when talking about the kind of woman he's looking for.
"This is a lot of fun," he says, "but it can also help to bring light to our neighborhoods that don't always get attention for the right reasons."
Hakim Mubarak, 29, is a father of two girls, ages 5 and 8, with two jobs who still manages to make time for the gym. (More on that later.) But these two tidbits say a lot about Mubarak: His favorite singer-songwriter is Marvin Gaye, and his first crush was the matriarch of "The Cosby Show," Clair Huxtable.
Andre Del Valle, 22, is the youngest of the bunch. The recent college graduate is headed to law school soon, but he's already created a cool news app called NutShell Politics, with real-time updates and information on Philly elections. My advice? An equally accomplished and motivated young woman probably wants to get in early, before Silicon Valley comes calling and he leaves everyone in the dust.
Rafael Alvarez Febo, 26, a superstylish sweetheart, summed up the bigger reason the guys are putting themselves out there. (And yes, I warned them about Philly.com commenters.)
Men of color don't get coverage, unless it's negative, he says, echoing a point all the guys made.
"I felt strongly that we need to be present, tú sabes, presente. I'm a gay Latino man doing a lot of stuff that most of us are not able to. I take that very seriously. I'm an activist, on boards, an urban gardener. And that diversity isn't always put out there."
Fair warning, say his City Hall bros: He's also picky. So bring your A+ game, fellas.
The co-workers consider each other family. So they were genuinely thrown when I told them that they'd be pitted against one another. Hey, all's fair in love and Sexy Singles, and it's on you, readers, to crown our first People's Choice Sexy Single from this group.
Once the guys came to terms with being competitors, they playfully threw each other under the bus.
"I'm going to crush you," Rendon joked. At least I think he was joking. The glint in his green eyes hinted that maybe the other guys should watch their backs. "Have you seen my green eyes?" he said, pointing to the asset he's betting will take him all the way.
Alvarez isn't worried. Apparently without his fashion advice, the rest of the guys would be bumping into the walls of their closets wondering what tie goes with what shoes.
But can Alvarez's fashion sense compete with Burgos' connections as founding member and past president of the Philadelphia Dominican Grocers Association? What do bodegas have to do with anything, you ask? You know what's sold at and around bodegas? The Daily News, where his network is primed to buy the paper for the coupon to vote for their guy.
As the youngest of the bunch, Del Valle will no doubt have the millennial vote - I mean, if millennials actually voted. (We interrupt this Sexy Singles column for a short PSA begging the city's millennials to vote in the upcoming mayoral election.)
Now if the Sexy Singles vote comes down to brawn, then everyone should just go home, because to borrow a line from rapper Lupe Fiasco, Mubarak looks like he bench-presses elephants.
I found it impossible to pick a favorite. But a favorite we must choose, people. Vote for your guy, drum up support online by using #DNsexysingles and tagging @NotesfromHel and @PhillyDailyNews (But don't forget to send in the original coupon found in the paper; only those votes will be counted) and help us crown the first People Paper People's Choice Sexy Single.
On Twitter: @NotesFromHel
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