Ah America! That great land of plenty so it is. What a vast nation, stretching luxuriously across an entire continent full of almost unlimited bounty. Oh my dear New York; that ripe, luscious Big Apple, just like its biblical kind it beguiles you, luring you in seductively with unintended consequences. It never sleeps they say and all the world’s great and good, with some of the bad too seem to be attracted like a magnet to it. It is a city of great hope and expectation but also of unbearable frustration and anger. I love it.
As a wandering gypsy, I seem to end up quite often in the self-titled Greatest City on Earth for lengthy periods of time. I dearly love it and with love comes a whole spectrum of emotions. Having spent numerous months in New York, I have dipped my toe quite often into the dating scene in the city and the experience has left me itching to tell my story and thus give an outsider’s experience in a city that seems to be obsessed with the concept of dating. Indeed, going on a date in New York is probably one of those integral things you should do if you have a bit of time there. For the sake of time and convenience I will just elaborate on some observations about dating in NYC.
First things first; this city is groaning under the weight of pure hotness that can be found here. Seriously, at times walking the streets of Manhattan it is like I have walked in to some surreal parallel world in which a distinct class of gym-buff, super-confident men of every kind rule the land. You just ogle in awe while considering maybe it might have been a good idea to wear a black bag over yourself for being unworthy in their presence. The city pulls them in and churns them out like some sort of giant catalogue machine, creating models of the finest subsets of manhood; from hipsters to gym bunnies to the most succulent of bears imaginable. Your confidence is immediately questioned and challenged, even if you look like the twin brother David Beckham or something.
The most important thing to remember about dating in New York is that you are from the onset disposable. You are a commodity to be used, poked, and prodded, with all puns intended. You are like some sort of gadget, maybe a new foreign import and as such once the new iBoy comes out or a better model arrives from JFK or to be found in a bar, you run the risk of being immediately forgotten like those puppies you hear about after Christmas. That fantastic first date you had with that great guy who liked the same music as you and got all your jokes and said how amazing you were? He’s gone; never to be heard of again, unless you bump in to him awkwardly in some bar months later wearing the face off a better looking guy. You always run the risk of guys looking over your shoulder at all times, distracted by something more shiny. Yes this is a universal experience but in New York in this respect it is like being in some hyper-accentuated slipstream where things move faster and it at times bewilders you. But that is what you get in a city like New York where the caliber is so high with all the hotties whooshing by you from every corner.
In New York, where everyone seems to have some sort of smart phone, iPad and most certainly easy access to the internet, never, ever experience a response to a text or email and if you do, don’t expect it within a respectful period of time. This I have found to be a major gripe from non-Americans dating New Yorkers, especially Europeans in planning to meet up for the first, second, whatever date. New Yorkers seem to be surgically attached to their blackberrys and iPhones; receiving texts, Facebook notificationsor dirty pics on Grindr, basically communicating with everyone. Except you. It is not a question that they are overwhelmed by this cacophony of technology, they just decided not to reply to your message until two or three days later if at all, by which stage that plan you chatted previously about meeting up for drinks or dinner has almost lapsed. When you make a point out of it, their reply is not that they have been too busy but that they just didn’t reply, stating in that tone similar to people working at a check out in some dismal convenience store when they ask if you want to pay with cash or credit. I have essentially put this down to cultural differences and as an occupational hazard to being in America as frustrating as that may seem
For a nation built on immigrants where they can be blasé about foreigners, an accent and good life story go a long way. This is always good for a first date. You will invariably run the gamut of your date attempting to mimic your accent, especially if they’re some horrid Broadway wannabe gay who upon trying you just know they should stick to waiting tables. If things go well, you become a shiny new trinket for your other half to show off and have their friends coo all over you and again try that accent that sounds like an abortion of Colin Farrell’s.
New Yorkers are supremely confident, which to this Irishman is attractive and alluring but can at times be over the top. New Yorkers are very quick and good at chatting you up at a bar. This is compared to at home where it’s like some horrid experience from a Smiths song of shy, introverted individuals where the closest thing to a chat up at the bar is a drunken stumble up beside to you slurring “You’re a bit alright”. To many Europeans, while being extremely social among their group of friends out, the level of chatting up to be found is completely tiny compared to what is found in New York. It can at times be very flattering or grating but ultimately a positive thing.
New Yorkers are very schizophrenic when it comes to what they like. One moment they are regaling you with notions of marriage, the next they are shunting you off as just a casual encounter, a piece on the side to dabble in when one sees fit or when they feel insecure. This is the paradox of New Yorkers. For all their confidence deep down they are like lost children but with all the candy they ever wanted. One moment they gorge on all the treats of humanity to be found, the next they fear that their biological clock is ticking and the fear of dying alone while on Grindr at the age of 60 and their pet pug dry humps and nibbles on their carcass for days until they are found. Love can be found in New York but it is wrapped in a squidgy layer of insecurity that I personally find endearing.
Finally, for all the frustration, time consumed, hair being pulled out, dating in New York is really, really worth it. Not only can it be a surreal journey at times, New York is full of the most fascinating people on earth and dating is a great way to experience that side of New York and its residents. Most importantly there is love to be found, true, satisfying love, the kind that makes you skip in the morning and have that annoying smile on your face that people just want to slap out of you. New York is not an easy city and nothing is served to you on a plate. It kicks you down but it spurs you on and makes you want to do better and with that mentality you will find that perfect guy for you.