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Issue Date: February 2012

20 Sexy Singles 2012: Maria Shaker

Maria Shaker, 32

Resident at University Hospital

The perfect date: Has a nice balance of conversation and laughter. If it's one-sided, I'm out of there.

Something most people don't know about me: I was once a horrible figure skater. I was too afraid to try a single axel.

My passion: Making the world a better place one day at a time. Being as positive as I can be and hope it's contagious.

Biggest turn-on: Somebody who appreciates my independence and challenges me to achieve my goals.

Biggest turnoff: Somebody who's boastful or pompous

I own too many: Hello Kitty collectibles. But I don't have a room dedicated to her.

My favorite ... place in Cleveland: Cleveland Botanical Gardens. I'm an aspiring gardener. I like to think I inherited a green thumb. ... book: Ferdinand the Bull. He liked to stop and smell the flowers. ... musician/band: U2. I've seen them live three times and every time it's a life-altering experience. ... sports team: Cleveland Indians and Yukon Huskie girls volleyball team. I used to play for them. ... TV show: CBS Sunday Morning, a good mix of news and entertainment. ... vacation destination: I'm a sucker for Central America. I've been to Guatemala and Costa Rica. I love the cultures there. ... dessert: Tiramisu. I think it means "pick me up" in Italian. ... blog: I'm not really into blogs.

My usual hangout: Presti's in Little Italy.

In high school I was ... trying to figure out who I was.

And now I'm ... pretty sure I found myself.

My best feature: My smile

My bad habit: I'm easily distractible. And I try to multitask too much.

My first kiss: In Mexico in my early teens

My guilty pleasure: Elvis Chill smoothie from Liquid Planet. It has bananas, peanut butter, honey and yogurt.

How my ex would describe me: "Too focused on my career and family"

Going out or staying in: I love both.

Early, late or right on time: In school they taught us if you're on time, you're late. So I strive to be early.

Dogs or cats: Both. I'm an animal lover.

Dancing ... yes or no? Yes! We need more dancing venues in Cleveland.

Twitter ... yes or no? I hate Twitter. I don't understand it.

My longest relationship: 2 1/2 years

Beer, wine or martinis: It depends on the season and what I'm eating. I love a red wine in the winter and margaritas in the summer.

Roses or chocolates: Dahlias. There are so many blooms and sizes.

My No. 1 dating rule: No talking about exes on the first date.

My deal-breaker: Smoking

I hate when a date ... talks and talks and talks and doesn't ask me one thing about myself.

But I love when a date ... greets me with a hug.

Worst pickup line: One of the football players at UCONN used to say, "Hey, big thighs" to me in the weight room.

If I could date anyone: Nathan Fillion from Castle. He's so handsome. And his character is so witty, creative and sensitive.

On a first date I never ... kiss.

Best place to meet someone: The patio at L'Albatros. I think it's one of the most romantic places in Cleveland.

Most unusual place I've met someone: At a beach volleyball tournament at Edgewater. He was my opponent. I caught his attention because I could dig his spikes.

My take on Cleveland's single scene: There's so much to do and see. You just have to be proactive about planning your itinerary and making the most of the Cleveland scene.

What I find sexy about myself: When I converse with someone, I try to focus on making them feel like they're the only one in the room and the only thing on my mind.

Why I'm single: I'm an independent woman and career-oriented. And some guys are intimidated I'm a doctor.

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