*With thanks to my friend Hannah for the title.
Usually, I keep things far from personal in this space, always fearful of what will be attached to my name on my internet. But you know what? F*&^ it. I tend towards the too cautious so I’m putting this out there (possibly to be deleted and re-posted half a dozen times). It sounds cynical, but I think you have to keep some distance or you’ll never survive. (And of course, I am exercising my right to poetic licence etc etc so apologies to the guys I’ve dated and thanks for the copy, as Nora Ephron would say).
August 2015 found me single in New York. After almost six months settling in, early this year, I decided to dip my toes into the world of dating in the city. What I’ve found is at times an amazing, fun and hopeful place but is often about nothing more than dodging yet another jerk. You’re totally aware of the fact that there are fifteen million people crammed into this tiny space and thus the whole city is throbbing with possibility and excitement. You know what else it means? The most profound sense of FOMO you can imagine. I mean, how do you pick one person when there are literally millions of other potential dates one swipe away. And when you’re someone who isn’t interested in dating someone different every night of the week, how do you figure out who’s taking you for a ride and who is genuine? I am yet to figure out the answer to this question. My track record is not particularly impressive on this front. So if you figure it out, let me know, k? While I haven’t cracked the code, here are a few things I’ve learned about dating (and men) in the best / worst place to date on Mother Earth.
Take 2-3 inches off every guy’s height description. At least. 6′? You wish my friend, try 5′ 10″ (on a good day).
Do not date screenwriters.
Do not go on a second date with a guy who asks you out for coffee and then tells the server we’re going to split the check for that $4 cup of chai.
Do not believe everything he says, especially when he says he has deleted whatever ridiculous app it is you met him on or mentions a million dates he’s going to take you on before you’ve even met (why do guys think girls like this??). Unless he says that he isn’t looking for anything serious, in which case you should definitely take him at his word. This is an important survival mechanism.
Do not go on a date with any man who tries to sext you before you’ve even met. Ditto requests for pictures (I cannot believe I am even writing this down. Men of New York, HOW IS THIS EVEN A THING?).
Bumble profiles that contain shirtless photos, ex-girlfriends, request “blondes only”, specify that “vegetarians need not apply” or contain any mention of cross-fit, paleo, Class Pass or karaoke? SWIPE LEFT.
Congratulations! You made it to the mythical land of the third date! For the first time in a long time, you think this could be going somewhere. Don’t get too excited though. He is just about to drop a bombshell. He’s actually in a relationship (surprise!) or has decided to give things another go with his ex or is still totally pining over the last woman to break his heart.
Which brings me to my final tip, 95% of the guys you date are going to do the fade out or ghost you. At first, this feels undoubtedly shitty but once you’ve had one awkward, “Um, I can’t see you again BECAUSE I’M GETTING BACK WITH MY EX” conversation, you’ll begin to appreciate the fade.
All of this makes me kind of excited to move back to Australia, where dating happens so much more organically and you don’t have to worry that your date is actually seeing three other people (because, um, even Sydney is way too small for that to be kept a secret). Having said that, I’ve met some really cool people. So, finishing on a more positive note this time around, because good things do happen: dating also means guys who track down tim tams because your stash is running low, noodle soup in Chinatown at 2am, room service, wine bars that serve grilled cheese sandwiches, Ice & Vice, and cornbread and honey.