LIFESTYLE / THE DATING GAME IN LONDON
Meeting new people, in a traditional sense, doesn't intimidate me whatsoever but there's just something about first dates and dating in general that makes me shudder. They're filled with almost vomit-inducing jitters, awkward silences, trying to avoiding eye contact, all whilst desperately wanting to seem aloof and super cool. Basically, not revealing that, like me, you're actually a complete nutter.
But if you don't put yourself through it, how on earth do you meet someone? People always harp on with the infamous "these things just fall into your lap when you least expect them to" malarkey but that's not helpful, is it? Those words aren't going to find you your future husband and without wearing a t-shirt with your credentials and phone number on it, meeting someone suitable (and worthy) is a tricky one.
London is notorious for being one of the worst places in the world to start dating in. With a population of over eight and a half million, London is certainly not short of people. However when it comes to getting a date, it can sometimes feel like a very big pond to fish in. Although I haven't had THAT much experience in it, I have dabbled here and there and am also privy to hilarious dating stories from my flatmate who is on the hunt for her perfect man.
1. 99% of Londoners are addicted to swiping.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that as a singleton in London, even though you’re constantly surrounded by people, it’s incredibly difficult to meet someone nice and genuine. We’re a city where eye contact on the Tube is pretty much taboo. And even with the aid of liquid lubrication in a flatteringly lit bar, your chances of meeting someone for more than one night seem pretty slim. So, with that in mind, the majority of people call to the good ol' internet and apps.
Any former stigmas of online / app dating are long gone and Tinder and Bumble definitely call all the shots here in London. The good news is that everyone's on Tinder. The terrible news is that everyone's on Tinder. Any app user has access to countless singles and spends hours and hours and hours swiping away in the hope of finding someone at least remotely decent. I feel like there are two types of people that use Tinder; those that are in it for some no-strings 'fun' or those that will meticulously obsess over every single line of the other persons bio with the hope of finding something to connect over.
Often there is around a week of talking before someone plucks up the courage to suggest going for a drink. A week. A whole bloody week of talking to someone you don't even know if you're going to fancy in real life. If that date is a dud, you can simply go back and resume your search but it's often when the date goes well that problems occur. You like this person, but does that mean it's time to abandon Tinder so early on? Is he or she still using it? YES? What a jerk. But, wait, so are you. Is this person just staying active to see if you're still active? What are they thinking? Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh. And so the obsession begins.
2. Transport issues.
One minute you're batting eyelashes and ordering another G&T. The next, you're grabbing your Oyster card and settling for a hurried peck outside Green Park station because you need to catch the last train home. It's like Cinderella, only with the added option of Uber (not for long...) or a night bus. The night bus is a no-go situation, however you may get hit on by a man who has a few teeth missing, so y'know, whatever floats your boat. Missing that train and not having an appealing back-up is a totally loaded situation. Do you go home with your date? What happens then? What does this mean? I can't help but wonder how many relationships started up simply because someone missed the Tube and had nowhere else to go.
3. Londoners are already in a relationship... with their careers.
London is one of the most competitive cities in the world, and your insane rent doesn't pay for itself. When you’re waking up at 6:30am to squeeze into an overcrowded Tube, working until 8pm to hit deadlines, maybe hitting the gym for a bit (ha), and then somehow eating, seeing your friends and finding hobbies to make you seem more interesting... who has time for dating?
This is one that I can totally vouch for. Now that I'm blogging full time, and even before that when I juggled my blog AND a full time job, I genuinely don't know how I would be able to make time for a serious dating schedule. I'm surgically attached to my phone or laptop all day long, the only rest bite being when I'm forced to go phone silent underground, or I'm at meetings and events and networking shizz, and if I'm not physically working, I'm thinking about work. This #girlboss has no time to be spending 5 nights a week meeting people that she may / may not want to pursue romantically. Instead you'll find me tweeting some random nonsense and hugging my pillow.
4. Dinner and a movie?
Long gone are the days of candlelit dinners, romantic strolls in the park and fancy trips to the cinema whilst desperately trying to avoid touching hands as you reach into the shared box of popcorn. Whilst some folks may be more creative and capable of dreaming up memorable outings, the rest of us are commitment-phobes who can't handle anything more serious than an after-work drink. If that goes well, only then can we talk dinner. And, since we Londoners enjoy our tipples, dating has become synonymous with going on one long, extended bender. A bender with lots of small talk, mixed signals, and awkward silences. Our memories are blurry, our livers have had it, and our heads are pounding. I feel like we should make sober dating a thing just for the sake of our healths!
For any of you who's dating profiles seem a touch... lacking, I'd definitely suggest checking out the video below. Not only is it hilarious but it just shows what lengths people'll go to to get a date! That tiger though...