The Dating Life

Houston's Most Eligible Bachelors & Bachelorettes: 20 hot singles for your summer pleasure


Mystery Date, game
Marcy, most eligible, July 2012, Cynthia Birdwell
Photo by Julie Soefer
Marcy, most eligible, July 2012, Ali Ansari
Courtesy Photo
Marcy, most eligible, July 2012, Taylor Byrne Dodge
Photo by Claire Learned/Halcyon Claire Photography
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Charles Clark
Photo by Todd Parker/STP Images
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Megan Doucette
Courtesy Photo
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Jon Deutser
Courtesy Photo
Marcy, most eligible, Lily Jang
Courtesy of Photo courtesy of KHOU Houston/Channel 11
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Al Farb
Photo by Kristy Mapp
Marcy, most eligible, Dana Kantalis
Courtesy of Photo courtesy of Annie Hewitt Photography
Travis Harper
Photo by Marcy de Luna
Marcy, most eligible, August 2012, Laura A. Schlameus
Courtesy of Photo courtesy of Dawn Zajicek Photography
Marcy, most eligible, July 2012, Jake Joseph
Photo by Amy Dickerson
Marcy, most eligible, July 2012, Julie Soefer
Photo by Kelli Durham
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Philippe Schmit
Photo by Bode Helm
Marcy, most eligible, June 2012, Ashley Wyatt
Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Marcy, most eligible, August 2012, James Sivco
Photo by Julie Soefer
Rebecca Spera
Photo by Bruce Senior/Senior Pro-Imaginig
Marcy, most eligible, Christopher Williams, August 2012
Photo by Marcy de Luna
Marcy, most eligible, August 2012, Laura Sussman
Courtesy Photo

When CultureMap decided to seek out Houston’s Most Eligible Bachelors and Bachelorettes, we predictably found that there’s no shortage of spectacular singles in the city.

Houston's the fourth-largest city in the United States and one of the most international. Certainly, not everyone is looking for the same thing.

However, we’ve found 20 wonderful candidates to start a new regular series.

(Don't worry if your favorite is not on this list. We'll highlight more bachelor and bachelorettes in the months to come).

More than just attractive, these charming standouts are bright, driven, fun-loving and talented.

Whether a professional athlete, top chef, real estate guru, or photographer, they’re interesting, too. In other words . . . the total package.

Let us know who you'd nominate for future editions!

CONNOR BARWIN
Age: 25
Zodiac sign: Libra

Barwin, a Houston Texans linebacker, may be a tough cookie on the football field, but off the field his charming personality is what melts our hearts. He's cheerful, energetic and down-to-earth.

He's also one of the few athletes in major pro sports to speak up for gay rights.

The youngest of four boys, Barwin’s originally from Detroit. Now in his fourth year with the Texans, he feels right at home in Houston.

“I love it here . . . the cultural diversity, the music scene," he says.

Barwin's favorite local haunts are Fitzgerald’s, Warehouse Live and House of Blues.

• Hobbies: Traveling, basketball, live music, boating.
• Habits: Flossing.
• Mountains/ Beach: Beach.
• Cats/ Dogs: Dogs.
• PDA/ No PDA: PDA.
• Motto: “Good times and hard work go together, but hard work always comes first."  - Wade Phillips
• My Ideal Mate is: Yoga instructor.
• Deal Breakers: Unemployed and bad teeth.

 

CYNTHIA BIRDWELL
Age: 41
Zodiac sign: Leo

This third-generation Longhorn hails from Northeast Texas and has had an impressive career in marketing luxury hotels, multi-family high rises and nationally recognized law firms. After whirlwind stints in Colorado, Washington D.C. and New York, she made her way back to Texas.

“I love the cultural aspect of Houston and its diversity," she says. "I wouldn’t live anywhere else in Texas!”

Friends know her for her keen wit and sense of humor, her ability to easily adapt to any occasion, and her healthy lifestyle — she and her young daughter have even taken to doing triathlons together.

• Hobbies: I love cycling and did the MS150. I shoot with a sporting clays club. I’m a big baseball fan and try to take in a game no matter what city I’m in, and I’m a seasoned traveler.
• Read the Book/ See the Movie: I’m probably 50/50 percent on that one, since I’m a Kindle and a Netflix junkie.
• ITL/ OTL: ITL. I need GPS for anything outside a 10-mile radius of my house.
• Guilty Pleasure: A Woodford Reserve Manhattan on the rocks.
• Deal Breakers:
Smokers.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: How about just plain blessed.
 

ALI ANSARI
Age: 33
Zodiac sign: Libra     

Ansari doesn’t take his success for granted. After he accepted an analyst position at Enron, the infamous company collapsed.

That didn’t stop Ansari from a thriving career.

He not only started a successful division at Fresh Brew Group, USA, the former world-ranked professional tennis player branched out with a new company, GEG Group.

Focusing on entertainment ventures, GEG's projects have included bringing popular LA sushi hot spot Katsuya to town. We can’t wait to see what he does next.

• Hobbies: Playing poker, paddle tennis, basketball, traveling the world as much as possible!
• Habits: Missing breakfast on a regular basis and waiting for my gas tank to reach empty before refilling.
• PDA/ No PDA: Controlled PDA
• Guilty Pleasure: Persian bread and cheese, pizza, basically anything with carbs.
• My Ideal Mate is: Family oriented, passionate, compassionate, smart, sexy, strong, and definitely knows how to rock a nice pair of heels.
• Deal Breakers: Habitual cigarette smoker, bad personality.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Rich so that I can do some amazing things with my wealth and help as many people in need that I could.

TAYLOR BYRNE DODGE
Age: 28
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

With a close-knit family and a love for social media, marketing and PR, it stands to reason that Byrne Dodge would end up working in the family business at My Table Magazine. Outspoken and outgoing, Byrne Dodge enjoys engaging and exchanging ideas with other people.

She collects printed media and likes entertaining and making dinner for family and friends.

• Habits: I can't seem to toss old issues of Elle Decor or Town & Country. I'm a collector of print media -- I moved recently and had to part ways with some books and magazines. It pained me.

Also, I can't pass up an estate sale. Lately I've been buying way too much vintage barware. How many highball glasses does one person need? I'm turning into my mom!
• Kids/ No Kids: Kids are pretty funny; I might want a few in the future.
• Mountains/ Beach: That is tough . . .  I'd have to say mountains, because I like cold and hot weather, and I look great in winterwear!
• Motto: I borrowed this one from Ingrid Bergman: "Be yourself. The world worships an original."
• Guilty Pleasure: Champagne. I like to drink it in bed and make myself a little cheese and salami plate and watch a movie after a long day. And trips to Costco. I could get in so much trouble there.
• My Ideal Mate is: A whole person, not someone looking for another person to fulfill him or fill some void. Being satisfied with your life and yourself is key to attracting the best partners.

 

CHARLES CLARK
Age: 50
Zodiac sign: Libra

Chef Clark started in the restaurant business as a waiter and worked his way from the ground up, eventually attending culinary school where he graduated with honors. Clark has gone on to open five restaurants: Ibiza Food and Wine Bar, Coppa Ristorante, Brasserie 19, and Coppa’s soon to open cousins, Coppa Osteria in West U and Coppa Dallas.

While Clark’s a self-professed workaholic, he’s willing to slow down for the right girl. Austin is his quick getaway of choice.

“I enjoy the drive," he says. "I like getting lost on the back roads and stopping at off-the- beaten-path restaurants along the way.”

• Hobbies: Table tennis, skateboarding and fast cars.
• Habits: Shopping online after too much Cava.
• Kids/ No Kids: Two darling girls Cecelia Paige and Ella Charles.
• PDA/ No PDA: No PDA unless Al Green is playing.
• Motto: What does not kill you, makes you stronger.
• Guilty Pleasure: Clothes and shoes made in Italy.
• My Ideal Mate is: A girl who has a good heart and very spontaneous and is just as comfortable at a three star Michelin restaurant in Paris or drinking a Lone Star Beer in jeans at Gruene Hall.
• Deal breakers: Girls that smoke.

 

MEGAN DOUCETTE
Age: 31
Zodiac sign: Pisces

Doucette packed her bags, left her family behind in Rhode Island and headed to Houston for a career in medical sales. She so loves this city that eight years later, she's still here.

That doesn’t mean she’s lost touch with her family, though. They visit frequently often taking in a Houston Texans game (they're especially excited for the Packers game this season) and going out dancing for good times and fun.

“My whole family loves it!," she says. "Dancing’s in our blood.”

Doucette gives back by helping care for the blind through the Houston Council for the Blind.

• Hobbies: Volunteering, dancing, traveling, fashion, working out.
• Habits: Arriving everywhere early (if I"m not early, I"m late). Sometimes forgetting to pronounce my "R's".
• PDA/ No PDA: Everything in moderation.
• Motto: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
• My Ideal Mate is: Humorous, intelligent, works out, family values, Christian.
• Deal Breakers: Smoking, atheist.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Rich, so I could help others in need.

JON DEUTSER
Age: 46
Zodiac sign: Aquarius

A fourth-generation Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Texas, Deutser’s vast interests include playing guitar, working out and flying planes — he’s an instrument-rated pilot.

Although his role as a real estate and construction entrepreneur is substantial, his kids are his priority.

“They’re the center of my universe,” Deutser says.

It’s no surprise then, that he has a heart for children’s charities. Deutser serves on the advisory board for Child Advocates.

• Habits: Late night bowl of cereal.
• Mountains/ Beach: Both . . . why choose!
• ITL/ OTL: I live OTL. I play ITL.
• Read the Book/ See the Movie: The book is usually better, but I love going to movies.
• PDA/ No PDA: PDA is great with the right person.
• Motto: "Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been." -Jimmy Buffet
• Guilty Pleasure: Piping hot donuts with cold glass of milk on my birthday.
• My Ideal Mate is: M.I.A.

LILY JANG
Age: Thirtysomething
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

This fun-loving KHOU morning news anchor is a self-professed foodie who dines out frequently and social media addict — she has twice been honored by The Huffington Post as a Twitter Powerhouse.

With a bright smile, Jang's cordial and approachable. She’s also trilingual and a die-hard Longhorn fan.

“Bleed burnt orange till the day I die #HookEmHorns,” she writes.

• Hobbies: Traveling, running Memorial Park, Pilates, Crossfit, long drives, happy hours, discovering new restaurants, trying new wines, cooking, happy hours with the girls.
• Habits: Texting at the table (sorry mom), falling asleep at movie theaters, eating dessert before dinner!
• Cats/ Dogs: Love dogs. Allergic to cats.
• Motto: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind” - Dr Seuss
• Guilty Pleasure: Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County and New York. Stop laughing.
• My Ideal Mate is: Smart. Kind. Thoughtful. Funny. Ambitious. Giving. Loyal.
• Deal Breakers: Bad tempers. Bad drivers. Smokers.

AL FARB
Age: 25
Zodiac sign: Pisces

Born and raised in Houston, Farb fell into radio at the age of 13 when he did his first on-air interview.

“It was my goal to be in radio and at 93Q  — I grew up listening to it.”

Farb worked hard to make his dream come true. Today’s he’s the producer for the Q Morning Zoo on The New 93Q.

Farb applies the same strong work ethic to the charity work he does. He serves on no less than two committees for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

• Hobbies: Radio. I'm one of the lucky few who's work is also my hobby.
• Habits: My iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, trying new restaurants, giving back to the community.
• Kids/ No Kids: No kids at the moment, but I do have my nephews and niece.
• Motto: "Attitude is Everything!" Coined by my Grandfather Harold.
• PDA/ No PDA: Uh, iPhone please!
• Guilty Pleasure: Molten chocolate lava cake!
• My Ideal Mate is: My best friend. A lifelong partner.
• Deal Breakers: You know, the usual . . . liars, cheats, thieves . . .

DANA KANTALIS
Age: 35
Zodiac sign: Capricorn

A retail consultant by day, Kantalis stays close to her Greek roots by serving on the governing board for the Greek Festival. She’s always on-the-go and always easy going.

"I'm a happy person," she says. "I've got a great family and I love what I do."

On Kantalis's music playlist: techno music. However, you’ll also catch her humming along to country and just anything with a beat.

Of her hometown Kantalis says, "Houston is an awesome city with all kinds of treasures  —The Menil, The Butterfly Exhibit, the Rodeo & amazing retail.

"There's always something to do. I'm lucky to live here."

• Hobbies: Writing & photography.
• Motto: “Worry is the misuse of imagination” (not sure it's my life motto so to speak, but I remind myself daily).
• Guilty Pleasure: Sitting on a beach (& some really bad television).
• My Ideal Mate is: Kind, driven & outgoing with a sense of humor.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Attractive, I suppose, because I don't really care to be famous and riches are relative.

TRAVIS HARPER
Age: 30
Zodiac sign: Taurus

With the exception of college, Harper's been living in the same zip code his whole life, but don’t let that fool you. He's well traveled, well cultured and fluent in French.

About his job working for PR Newswire Harper says, “Tenacity, industriousness and hard work is how I landed a great job and is the reason for my success.”

• Habits: Doing nothing in moderation (or so I've been told). The Container Store. Sunday New York Times. Mexican Riviera.
• Kids/ No Kids: Absolutely not. I prefer clean fabric.
• ITL/ OTL: Puh-lease.  ITL.
• Motto: You can if you think you can.
• Read the Book/ See the Movie: Both. But, if push comes to shove, see the movie.
• Guilty Pleasure: Bananas foster from Brennan's.
• My Ideal Mate is: Honest, respectful, understanding, handsome.
• Deal Breakers: The clingy type.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Attractive. The others are doable.

 

LAURA SCHLAMEUS
Age: 36
Zodiac sign: Leo

Family is important to Schlameus, who works with her father in commercial real estate, and so is health and fitness. She’s a certified Pilates instructor.

A Texas girl at heart, Schlameus likes “the laid-back, beer-drinking vibe of Houston.” Also on her list of likes: College football, tailgating, and the charm of Southern Gentlemen.

She stays involved in the community by volunteering for Kids Meals.

• Habits: I’m a Pilates instructor so exercise is a habit of mine. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I have any habits quirkier than others. Does the fact that I occasionally play old school hip hop while I have Dance Party USA at my house count?
• Guilty Pleasure: My pleasures hit the fundamentals: eat (frozen yogurt), drink (good tequila) and laugh till my sides hurt.
• Mountains/ Beach: Do I have to choose? I’ll take either, but more often than not, I’m beach prone.
Read the Book/ See the Movie: I prefer a book over a movie. It’s all in the details.
• PDA/ No PDA: I enjoy appropriate PDA. Hold my hand, hug me tight, but leave the more private stuff . . . private.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: At face value, hard to pick one quality. I choose attractive because it encompasses a lot of characteristics & differentiates us from the mass.

I think it's sexy to be your own person. I’ll take that over rich or famous.

JAKE JOSEPH
Age: 32
Zodiac sign: Pisces

Joseph has gone from working in the beverage industry for the likes of Red Bull to designing his own men’s underwear line, Jake Joseph Underwear Co. — quite a transition.

His love of clothing plus a lot of hard work have allowed him to make it this far.

“If you make a great product and you’re passionate about it, people will respond,” he says.

Up next for Joseph? Expanding the brand to include other clothing items like tees.

• Hobbies: Boxing.
• Habits: Persistence and flossing!
• Kids/ No Kids: For sure in the future.
• Mountains/ Beach: Without a doubt — the beach.
• Guilty Pleasure: Oreo Milkshake or pretty much anything Oreo makes, They can't go wrong.
• Deal Breakers: Laziness.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: If you are rich . . . cant you have anything?

JULIE SOEFER
Age: 31
Zodiac sign: Taurus

An intro-to-photography class at the Kinkaid School helped jumpstart a passion for Houston-based photographer Soefer. The laid-back talent, who graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, is an accomplished shooter whose work has appeared in a number of publications including Houston Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and several cookbooks.

When she isn't working, Soefer loves to travel and spoil her dog, Leo.

"As much as I fantasize about escaping the Houston humidity, I couldn't imagine having a better quality of life in another city . . . or having to exist without Hugo's Malinche margaritas," she says.

• Hobbies: Travel, dining out, tug of war with my dog.
• Habits: Brutal honesty.
• Cats/ Dogs: Dogs.
• Kids/ No Kids: Dogs.
• Mountains/ Beach: I'll take both.
• Motto: "Aim for the sky, because even if you miss, you will still be among the stars" - All great life mottos come from cookies.
• Guilty Pleasure: Greygoose Greyhounds.
• My Ideal Mate is: Kind, confident, out there somewhere.
• Deal Breakers: Lying, insincerity, body odor.
 

PHILIPPE SCHMIT
Age: Old enough
Zodiac sign: Capricorn

It was kismet that Schmit would become a chef. He was born near Lyon, France where, as home to a three star Michelin restaurant, food’s in the spotlight.

But the path wasn’t always easy.

“It was tough at the time to become an apprentice, but I liked it from the start," he says. "Passion grows inside and then never leaves you.”

According to Schmit, Houston was the perfect place to open his own restaurant, Philippe Restaurant + Lounge. “If you work hard and have talent, Houston will give you the opportunity . . .”

• Hobbies: Running, ballroom dancing, dining out, cooking, fundraising, and volunteering for various charities.
• Habits: Relentless flirting; as a true Frenchman and a chef, there is nothing I won't eat; going to Houston Dynamo games.
• Mountains/ Beach: Beach but I like the mountains for romance.
• PDA/ No PDA: Yes, PDA. French kissing like there is no tomorrow (after all, I invented that kiss).
• Motto: Every second counts. Live every second with passion.
• Guilty Pleasure: Eating chocolates, watching Dancing with the Stars, adventurous sex . . . but not all at the same time.
• Deal Breakers: Smokers and heavy drinkers.

ASHLEY D. WYATT
Age: 25
Zodiac sign: Pisces

As owner of a public relations firm and director of public relations for a political and business consulting company, the well-rounded Wyatt keeps busy. However, she always makes time for family, especially her younger brother.

Wyatt also makes time for the US Dream Academy where she's a mentor.

• Hobbies: Mentoring, playing volleyball and tennis, reading, cooking.
Habits: Eating healthy, constantly cleaning, online shopping.
• Cats/ Dogs: Dogs, I have a Yorkie.
• Motto: Be grateful.
• Guilty Pleasure: Playing video games.
• My Ideal Mate is: Someone who complements me in every way . . . The 7 S's: Spontaneous, smart, strong, successful, a tad sensitive, sense of humor, sincere.
• Deal Breakers: Bad hygiene, not grooming yourself, uncultured, closed-minded, dishonest.

 

JAMES SIVCO
Age: 39
Zodiac sign: Aries

This lighthearted fund manager can be spotted on a cool morning riding his bike to work in helmet corduroy and wool. Saturday mornings are usually started from the back tees on a golf course.

“No woman will ever have to do an ounce of my laundry," he says. "I send everything out  — from oven mitts to underwear.

"Trust me, it can all be handled at the wash-n-fold.”

His senses of humor, individuality and ease are all part of Sivco’s charm.

Hobbies: Reading, vintage and European board games, golf.
Habits: 24-hour news consumption, Saturday afternoon naps.
• ITL/ OTL: Please. OTL is for trips to IAH.
• PDA/ No PDA: I'll take whatever I can get, wherever I can get it.
• Motto: "You are doing a great job!"
• My Ideal Mate is: Probably laughing at me.
• Deal Breakers: Anyone who is unable or unwilling to read between the lines to find the truth.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Well, attractive and famous can both go very wrong, very quickly.

REBECCA SPERA
Age: 30
Zodiac sign: Aries

“I’ve knew I wanted to be in television from an early age,” Spera says.

Early, indeed. She was only seven when she started writing letters to talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey. She keeps the reply letters at her desk as inspiration.

Spera’s focus and determination paid off: She’s host and producer of Mirror Mirror. While the glamour of television is great, the New Jersey native values family as well as the simplicity of good people, conversation and love.

• Hobbies: My job is my hobby! I love it! And anything beauty product-related.
• Habits: Only good ones, of course.
• ITL/ OTL: ITL, of course. After six years in Houston, OTL still confuses me!
• Motto: It's changed a lot since I've come into my own. Before it was Dream Big. Now, it's: Dream Big. Live Big. Live with No Regrets . . . and always, always, always have compassion for others.
• Guilty Pleasure: Besides Chocolate Chip Cookies, Phoenicia Almond Horns and Rocky Road Ice Cream.
• My ideal Mate is: How many characters do I have? Seriously?
• Deal Breakers: Bad manners, inconsistency in behavior, condescending, egotistical.

CHRISTOPHER R. WILLIAMS
Age: 37
Zodiac sign: Gemini

“My rearing was on a farm in the panhandle of Texas,” Williams says. This small town boy hit the big city of Houston where opportunity led to owning not one, but two businesses: personal training and flipping houses.

It’s a good combination for the innovative and outgoing Williams who is able to "do what I love which is use my hands, be creative, design and use my business skills.”

• Hobbies: Adventure races, triathlons, hiking, skiing, travel, cooking, live music, and most of all, college football. Guns Up!
• Cats/ Dogs: Dogs all the way. Cats make me sneeze!
• Motto: Own it.
• Guilty Pleasure: Star Pizza.
• My Ideal Mate is: Someone who is not afraid to bend the rules or think outside the box. Ultimately, someone that makes me laugh.
• Deal Breakers: Ummm . . . smoking tobacco products usually does the trick.

LAURA SUSSMAN
Age: Thirty-something
Zodiac sign: Gemini

Post college at Emory University, Sussman landed in the Big Apple where jobs included special events for Bloomingdale's and working at a public relations agency for clients such as Cover Girl Cosmetics and Tyra Banks.

She traveled with the top model on a book promotion tour.

More than a decade after returning home, Sussman notes, "Houston’s ever growing and ever expanding. I’m continually impressed by what Houston has to offer everyone and anyone.”

She now applies her skill set to the health care industry where she's able to work for an organization that helps those in need.

• Hobbies: Traveling, fitness, spending time with friends and family, cooking, following all of Houston’s major sports teams. I already have a major case of Linsanity!
• Habits: See hobbies
• Cats/ Dogs: Definitely dogs. I have a puppy, an Australian Labradoodle, Ringo Starr. Cutest. Puppy. Ever.
• Guilty Pleasure: Real Housewives Of . . . absolutely anywhere.
• Read the Book/ See the Movie: Read the book then critique the movie.
• Motto: You’ll never know until you try — at least that’s my life motto as it relates to this exercise!
• Deal Breakers: If you are not nice to the waiter, chances are we’re not going to work.
• Pick One - Attractive, Rich or Famous: Attractive, on the inside.