At 36 years old, Jana Shortal is retired. From dating, that is.
Luckily for Twin Cities singles, this retirement is more Brett Favre than Barry Sanders, and the crop-haired sylph should be back in the game once winter relents. But for now, she seems to be enjoying the breather.
“Girls are confusing, you know this,” she tells me, sitting at the end of the bar at Parlour. “Are you supposed to ask them to dinner on the first time? I don’t know, I’m new to this whole dating thing.”
After coming out of a two-year relationship, the charismatic reporter chick waded back into the dating pool, going out with friends of friends and dabbling with OKCupid and the dating app Tinder. “I had some really strange messages from like Stan, 48, from Blaine,” she said.
After meeting “boring as fuck” sweethearts, third-date arm wrestlers and too-forward tantric-sex aspirants, Shortal seems a little weary of the courtship song-and-dance. “Let’s be honest with each other, we both want a cheeseburger and if you don’t admit that I don’t think we should go out again anyway, because I don’t want salad,” she says.
Shortal dated dudes exclusively until she was 26 and now describes herself as “teeter-tottery,” but never had a coming-out of sorts. (“It’s [more] like, ‘Who’s Jana going to bring home this year?’ ” she says.) But when her former beaus learn that she’s since dated women, she says they either assume it’s because she could never find another man like them or they wonder if it makes them gay. “Both extremely logical reactions,” she cracks. “Thanks for calling. Get a therapist.”
Born a middle child in small-town southern Illinois, the University of Missouri grad came to the Twin Cities in 2003, when she landed her TV reporter gig. She says her hometown (where her family still lives within a block of each other) and high school experience was basically “Varsity Blues” — Friday-night football, pickup trucks and lots of Natty’s Light. “People went to the prom when they were, like, 30, with high school sophomores and it was not frowned upon, it was normal,” she recalls.
It’s hard to imagine the hip North Loop dweller feeling unembraced by Minneapolis, but she hated her first two years here and initially had trouble making friends. After enough solo, book-toting trips to Bryant-Lake Bowl, however, the quick-witted music head — who digs everything from Chvrches to Beyoncé— started meeting people and took to the Twin Cities.
Our Crush vixen doesn’t seem like the shy type, brandishing her smart sarcasm and slipping in the occasional four-letter word when appropriate — her mother still can’t believe she’s never dropped an on-air f-bomb. But Shortal says she isn’t one to make the first move, which sometimes gets her “friend-zoned.”
“It’s like, ‘Well, she didn’t rip my clothes off, so I guess we’re friends,’ ” she jokes.
For any would-be suitors looking to catch the stylish journo’s eye, dark, curly hair and a great sense of humor help. Just don’t ask her where she sees herself in five years. “What are you, my high school guidance counselor?” she says.
And if you do get a date, for Chrissake, order the cheeseburger.
PROFILE: JANA SHORTAL
Lives in: North Loop, Mpls.
Orientation (optional): Yes, orientation I’m finding in the dating world is now, in fact, optional.
Education: BA in journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia.
Occupation: Reporter, KARE-11 News.
Favorite hangouts: I basically fund Kim Bartmann’s lifestyle with the amount of money/time spent in Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette and Pat’s Tap. But to be fair, I Muddy the Waters. North Loop’s haunts like Parlour, Moose & Sadie’s and Bar La Grassa also come my way a fair amount.
Turn-ons: A pulse. Wit. Schmaltzy charm can sit aside. Sexy is smart. Or is that the other way around? Authenticity. Stop it if you are just going to name-drop the latest name-droppable band/restaurant/trendy snowcap. Dark hair. Curly takes it to the next level. And clean fingernails. Not to be confused with Lee Press-On Nails.
Who nominated you: My co-worker John, aka AirDive.