How To Survive Dating In The Big City As Told By A Small Town Girl

Having recently moved from a small town, population approximately 6,000, to London, population approximately 5 billion (and thatโ€™s on Oxford Street alone Iโ€™m sure of it), there are countless changes to get used to; public transport running past 8 O'clock, one round of G&Ts costing more than my rent back home and my snot being permanently dirt coloured, to name a few.

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But the biggest difference to note is dating. Moving from a dating pool the size of a puddle to essentially the Atlantic Ocean can be a tad overwhelming...

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(Actual footage of me in the dating pool)

The Sad Statistics

In order to fully understand the plight of small town dating, letโ€™s do some simple maths. 6000 people, 50% of which are female, immediately cuts dating potential in half. Factoring my unwillingness to date either a sugar daddy or a teenager, the men outside the 20-32 sweet spot totals a whopping 67%. Statistically a third of the remaining 33% are in a relationship, and 2% identify as gay.

This leaves 582 men.

582 may seem plenty. Spoilt for choice even. But if we sift out exes, friends of exes, friendโ€™s exes, previous sexual conquests, male relatives, friends of male relatives, men you work with and men who have their car as a profile picture on facebook, the outlook begins to look extremely bleak.

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If, against all odds, you do find someone you are mildly attracted to date, look forward to awkward chat about mutual friends youโ€™ve definitely shared DNA with, bumping into exes/family friends/old teachers and rumours that you are finally in a relationship spreading like wildfire across the town. And god forbid you try to do the walk of shame unnoticed.  

Moving to London

My first impression of London: fit men. Fit men everywhere. Fit men everywhere and no way of talking to them. The deathly silence of the tube hardly invites casual flirting, and catching eye contact with another commuter is more painfully awkward than sultry and suggestive. So I decided to try my hand at a dating app; with a far more โ€˜dilutedโ€™ ( a politer term for less incestuous) dating pool to dip my toes into. What could go wrong?!

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(Actual footage of me trying to navigate London transport)

Reckless dating

Note to self: convenience isnโ€™t always good. After a few days of swiping, I bagged a date with a boy who seemed nice, sweet and, most importantly, less than 0.2 miles away from where I lived (perfect for a London newbie still terrified of navigating the tube). After spending the dullest two hours of my life listening to the intricate workings of the financial world and being requested to review his dating profile and my overall impression of him MID-DATE, I quickly made my excuses, and ghosted. Now, I bump into said dull date bimonthly, and we pretend not to know each other.

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(Actual footage of me listening to my date)

Upgrading my search

Newly educated to the importance of location when dating, my friend suggested the dating app Badoo. I liked the fact that it allowed you to specify the location of your search. As a sucker for a preppy rugby boy, identifying my perfect location was easy; Clapham.

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I was surprised at how many fit guys were on there, and, even better, I knew the chances of bumping into them North of the river (where I live) was minimal.

Swiping through guys I actually fancy on Badoo has revolutionised my dating app experience. I have been on a handful of dates, none of which included a lecture on the British banking system, which I now consider to be the benchmark of a successful date. I have been to rooftop bars on multi-story carparks, eaten dinner in the dark and played bingo with Bogans. Not bad for a London novice who is scared of the tube.

Abbie McMahon