Looking for me in London? You will find me clip-clopping along Fenchurch Street in fabulous shoes with poise and grace, in between furious bouts of typing… I wish. If you see me at all, it will be because I am lost (again), lumbering through Herne Hill, slightly sticky from the train and out of breath from too many weekend fags, sporting the classic London working woman’s look- a wrinkled dress, tights and trainers.
I love London. If you’ve been with me since the dawn of Man Ban days, you’ll know I lived here for a nearly a year of my life. The city excites me- as most cities do. Everywhere and everyone appears to be madly busy, and it truly is the city that never sleeps. Sure, living here you soon grow tired of spending a 30 minute tube journey nestled in the crook of an elderly man’s sweaty armpit, and a night out on the town costing you nearly half your monthly rent, but there really is something wonderfully incomparable about living here. Would I move back? Yes, I would. Living in London made me feel sophisticated and grown up- indescribable when you’re a 19 year old small-town girl.
I have lived in various places throughout my life thus far, but (sadly) only really in London and Oxfordshire during my prime dating years. Unless it counts that I frequently hooked up with old friends/flames when visiting Edinburgh, Newcastle and similar cities close to my heart. I achieved dating goddess status, however, when living in London. Sure, it has the tendency be a really lonely city, but with bodies literally everywhere, it’s your situation to change.
Make no mistake, long gone are my days of swiping until I was burdened with severe finger cramps but, alas, those were the good old days and it doesn’t hurt to reminisce. I am in full support of Tinder, and it made my London dating scene a whole lot easier- when I wasn’t either chasing a handsome stranger out of Sloane Square tube station and furiously documenting his beauty on snapchat, or saving up my daily calorie allowance for numerous expresso martinis and then pouring myself over the nearest tall, dark, rugby player-resembling bloke. And I seriously used to question why I was single!?
Dating in London is nothing in short of a minefield. There are definitely some nice, normal men about town, but you really have to look to sieve them out from their indie/emotionally unstable/already married/workaholic/alcoholic/sexist counterparts. Long story short, the perfect London guy definitely exists, but your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend your time finding him. Plus it’s REALLY hard to try and find someone to actually approach you in attempt at asking you out- the majority of Londoners tend to be slightly unfriendly towards strangers- God forbid you look them in the eye on the tube. It was I who coined the phrase ‘Romance isn’t dead, it’s hiding behind a smartphone’ and I stand by that statement to this day. With a population of over eight million people (the majority of which will probably never, ever speak to you in person) can you really blame me for resorting to Tinder?
Tinder in any city provides a potential partner from almost every walk of life. I’d often open my ‘matches’ to find my latest beaus ranged from the by day estate agent (by night, bodybuilding champion), handsome French expats, Canary Wharf suited and booted types, and something dreadlocked and hailing from Camden. Tinder, more specifically, opened my eyes to the world of local premiership rugby players. Hooray for late night booty calls and secret wives they forgot to tell me about, hooray! I had the most frequent and random sexual encounters whilst living in London, and some of my best and worst ever dates (stories often best told over a comfortable dinner and two or three bottles of Malbec).
London thrives on it’s single community. Need more proof? Find a cocktail bar with a Thursday evening happy hour (and pleeeease take me with you). While I don’t doubt other cities have a similar feel, LDN is a single girl’s paradise. There are umpteen fantastic date spots, hundreds of randy bankers, gorgeous open spaces and green parks for romantic strolls and a hotel on nearly every corner, you know, for a lunchtime quicky. You could even pull the ultimate tourist move and, after a few cocktails, rent a Boris bike for a scenic tour of the city- if, by scenic, you mean unruly pigeons chasing unsuspecting businessmen for their Pret sarnie and black cab drivers screeching around corners, hurling cockney rhyming insults at you for getting in the way.
Joking, obviously, but if day drinking and scenic views are what interest you, then let me recommend Madison for dining, drinks and views of St. Paul’s (definitely pre-book, though, they are particularly busy on weeknights) and Radio Rooftop bar, which is on The Strand, boasts spectacular views but requires you to sell a vital organ before you can enjoy the exquisite albeit fucking expensive tapas and drinks menu. Alternatively if, like me, you are permanently short on cash (may or may not be because you spent your entire wage on Depop), then Primrose Hill calls. While being completely underrated, it makes for the perfect picnic spot where you can drink (shop-bought) rose, and take in the city view. Just remember to pack a coat, we are in England, after all. Or, you know, there is always the option to break into a random penthouse apartment (not morally or legally recommended).
I always recommend drinks for a first date. Always. The city is bustling with quirky cocktail bars and what better way to get to know someone than to spill all your secrets after half a bottle of prosecco? I try and limit myself to a four-drink date rule. Three if they’re cocktails with more than two alcoholic ingredients. This way, you tend to get a nice buzz and feel chatty enough to converse freely, without slurring your words and blabbing about the time your intimate beautician scalded your labia. The best thing about dating in London? If the date goes horribly tits-up or you DO end up re-telling the story of when you lost your virginity in Croydon’s Tesco car park, you’ll probably never see them again.
Single life is oh-so-fun, but can also be massively dangerous- particularly for a woman in any large or strange city. Be careful and look after yourself, always.