Dating in London – Catching a Decent Date (part one)

The Twenties can be a very conflicting age. Priorities for people range from ‘Can I afford that Five Guys burger?’ to ‘Can I afford my child’s daycare?’. Yep, half of us are Insta-spamming with our engagement bling and popping babies out like tic tacs. The other half are a harem of single, broke bitches still blacking out on a Friday night. Some of you have spent years with your partners that you met at high school or university, but for some the longest relationship has been their coke dealer. Half of the twenties are gallivanting starry eyed through Soho and Shoreditch on the weekends while half of us are warming up the oven for a bun.

For the single half of the millennial’s, Gen Y, you know, the Soho Spinsters and club-goers… relationships seems to be less of a priority. Our generation are swimming in options and can swipe our way to China. Literally. Having such a vast amount sex potential thrown in front of us constantly means commitment is difficult. We dip our toes in to the relationship pools rather than deep dive in, and most of the time end up jumping straight back out. Why is commitment no longer trending? Who started the plague of ‘ghosting’, ‘haunting’ and ‘orbiting’?

‘Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.’
– Carrie Bradshaw

Yeah, okay Carrie. I mean we’re taking our time sure, but we’re taking so much fucking time that we seem happier without partners altogether. Being happier single means the dating game has become ruthless. It’s survival of the fittest. It’s like being a toy on a mass production line in a factory. To be picked the toy has to be the perfect model. Clean packaging (no extra baggage), enticing marketing (a good bio) a cool unique selling point (like a firecracker personality, or the ability to perform gymnastics in the bedroom). Not fitting the requirements means you’re destined to be discarded because of your defects (ghosted.)
Or maybe the problem with the dating game is that you’re like me, on the other side of the fence. You keep picking the defect toys and shopping in the wrong aisle altogether (the FUCK-BOY AISLE) wasting your energy on chasing the ‘Peter-Pan’ types who never want to grow up.

I’ve been offered in the past some hilarious but brilliant anecdotes about my dating life. Memorable ones;
Colleague: “It’s like you go dredging in the sewers thinking you’ll catch gold”
Friend: “It’s like you’re casting a net so wide that you have your hands full holding it, so when the right fish swims in you’ll have no hands left to catch one”
Friend: “Why are you still trying to bait sea slugs when there’s plenty of nice, normal fish in the sea”
Besides being completely fucking offended, it’s also true. Why am I picking all the wrong people to date? Are the Colin Firth’s and Hugh Grants of London an urban myth?
I think a lot of people in the dating game suffer. Maybe you are someone who has lost count of how many first dates you’ve had that have gone nowhere. Maybe you’re someone with thumb abrasions from excessive swiping. Or maybe you’re just wondering how to whittle down the masses to find someone decent, trying to filter out the fuck-boys, lost-boys, crazy girls and psychopaths.

Considering this, I made a vow this week to stop ‘dredging in the sewers’ or in other words, stop meeting psychopaths via Instagram DMs. Kind of a social experiment in favour of my readers which is how easy is it to catch a date IRL and how can I make sure that date is a normal, functioning human being?
I do often meet dates in person or through mutual friends and rarely use dating apps because my boredom threshold is low… too low to be swiping and small-talking. But even when I do meet the ol’ fashioned way, they wind up in distaster (The Hungarian Bartender, Vacay Bae etc.)
If I’m going to avoid the sewer the best place to begin would be work, right? At least then I can confirm they have a job. The Television Centre, it’s a famous building hosting thousands of ITV/BBC staff, celebrities and a Soho House as the cherry on top. I imagine that among the many floors there are the elite, intelligent, hard-working sexy singletons. Basically it’s a Utopia for meeting the perfect date. The workplace is always a good place to meet people because you can guarantee they are like-minded. They have chosen the same occupation as you, so you’ve got one thing in common. I have two viable candidates that already come to mind, both of who have caught my eye.

The first, let’s call The Espanõl Enchilada (Spanish). He swans around the floor with blonde hair coiled up in my man-bun, YSL trousers and an ironed button down shirt.

The second, let’s call The Sexy Vegemite (Australian). I think he is a freelancer considering he sits in the communal break-out areas. Casually dressed in Nike trainers and a black jersey he emulates on of those graphic designer, millennial types. You know, a Mark Zuckerberg type. The kind who probably has a million pounds in the bank from an obscure start up business. By passing him daily and tactfully eavesdropping, I’ve worked out that he is Australian because I’d recognise that twangy accent anywhere.

OKAY so the Mission: Make contact and catch a date.
Easy right? I can prove to everyone that it’s easy to catch dates without the armour of the internet. Nope, not so easy. I realised quickly that baiting them was harder than I anticipated. Enchilada and Vegemite never enter the kitchen space which is the mating ground for office dalliances. Love typically blossoms over cups of coffee but I couldn’t use that to my advantage. Right, next thought. I could park up in their work space? But that seems a little transparent. They sit with their teams so I would be a visible intruder.
Of course the other option, would be to do the slow dance and wait until they caught my eye, but patience isn’t in my nature and also for the purpose of this experiment I wanted some quick-bait.
Seriously, how do men do this, it’s so hard. I was stumped. It was going to take some extra effort to play the game. Que a hefty ASOS order, and I start floating around the office in dresses and heels more, in blinding shades of red and gold to cause a stir. Like a bull to a red cloth, it seemed to work. I’ve caught them throwing glances across the room.
Espanõl Enchilada is in the lead currently because his glances are more assertive, you know, like an ‘I might shove you against the wall’ kind of stare. But Vegemite has more of a lustful ‘I would light candles and take you to dinner’ stare. Either way both are moving at absolute snail pace. I need this to move at a hastier speed.

The lightbulb comes as I’m sitting in a hidden booth, shielded from view of the office. Even if I want to stay off the apps they can still help me in the hunt, right? I set my location to 2km, the lowest boundary, meaning it will fire up profiles from those around me in The Television Centre sending fellow singletons my way. Within minutes BANG found them. Found them both! I laugh in disbelief, swipe right and message all my girls.
Where’s my FBI medal BITCHES.
I literally couldn’t stop laughing to myself in my booth. The chase can be thrilling. It’s an adrenaline rush, and you don’t get that from sitting in your bed swiping yes to everyone you like. Rather than being a lion in the zoo eating the meat thrown at you, you can be a lion in the wild hunting yourself. In a world where dating is exhausting and the options are endless it’s good to remind yourself to have fun with it. Don’t waste time with small-talk online, or waiting for the asshole that leaves you on read to come around. Lace up your Nikes, grab your confidence, and take your fishing rod out there to catch yourself a real fish.
So back to real time, my bait is set. All I have to do is sit back with my net cast and see which fish; The Enchilada or The Vegemite, is going to swim up the river first.


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