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You can’t furlough love.
If you’ve ever been single around the holidays, you know it’s lame. The combination of time off from work, social outings with happy couples, and all that mistletoe hanging around sparks a special kind of yearning that drives us to online dating sites and singles apps.
But a look back at dating site traffic for 2013 reveals another, more unexpected spike in singles perusing the market: The government shutdown.
It seems that while Congress was battling a raging case of crazy in mid-October, furloughed government workers were spending their sudden free time searching for a special person who’d bring joy, romance and piña coladas to their lives. (Or, at least, someone who’d be game for the occasional hook up, I suppose).
With 800,000 federal employees temporarily off work, Marketwatch reports that the dating site Zoosk had a near 100 percent increase in the number of people playing the “Carousel” game, which lets singles choose from randomly displayed profiles. By the second week of the shutdown, Washington D.C.-based Zoosk members viewed almost 50 percent more profiles than normal.
While those furloughed workers eventually got their checks for back pay, it’s hard to say how many cashed in on love during the shutdown. But, it’s a pretty safe guess that Washington D.C. hospitals will see a surge in government shutdown babies come July.
Sarah Weber is the former editor of Daily Dot’s Parsec section, where she wrote about geek culture. She previously worked as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in the Midwest and was recognized by the Ohio Associated Press for news reporting.