Finding love in a big city: Mission impossible or Easy as 1,2,3?

Population of New York: 8.406 Million. Population of London: 8.539 Million. Population of Tokyo: 12.35 Million.  With such great numbers in the busiest cities of the world- why is it, that we are still incapable of finding love? 

Living in a megapolis is exciting. The rush hour, the bright lights, the horizon filled with skyscrapers. As you move away from home, into unfamiliar grounds you re-assure yourself that you have a plan. Studying, working and making new friends are all on the list; but at the bottom of the list there is a dreadful composition of words. Almost a curse that you refuse to look at, as if one glance would turn you into stone: Find love. Love? Your grandmother and anyone who has known you for longer than a few minutes all have the same advice: “Do not look for love, let love look for you”. What a bunch of nonsense, you tell yourself at the time. However, single and sitting on the floor of your apartment with Chinese food hanging from your mouth, the voices of your beloved ones echo in your mind. It’s not like you are walking around the city with binoculars, scouting for the perfect man to bump into (I have only done that once). The time has come to actually listen to the advice you were given, even if you didn’t ask for it. So you bury yourself in work, and even take up a ridiculous hobby, like birdwatching just so you can let “love” find you, because up until now you did an awful job at finding it yourself…

It is 11 p.m on a Friday night, and I decide for the sake of this article to do the unthinkable and download Tinder (with the sole purpose of using it as a research platform ;)), I panic and have a look around to see if no one noticed that I have installed the evil in the form of the app itself, forgetting that I am indeed alone, still on the floor of my apartment, with Chinese take-out on my carpet and no pants on.  My good friend Susan*, has described Tinder as ‘a way of previewing your one night stand, electronically’. Now just so we’re clear, I will be using Tinder to ask guys what they think about being single in a big city is like, I will then interview women and compare the results. To make things interesting I have decided that I wanted to have a diverse age range, so I will be getting my answers from a twenty something, thirty something and forty something from both genders.

I have been on Tinder for a solid amount of two hours, so far I have only gotten indecent proposals and cheesy pick up lines from the 80s. My favourite one was about me being a toe and getting banged against the kitchen counter, I didn’t fully get it but found it funny at the time. Moving on, I have found my first interviewee. Let’s call him Mike* –

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 21 years old, I study and I work.

What is the best thing about being single?

No accountability

What is the worst thing about being single?

No reason to get out of bed in the morning

Do you like being single?

Yes, I do

How long have you been single for?

21 years.

Mike* hasn’t been in a relationship yet, which is why he is so full of optimism and actually took the time to answer my questions. Now with this in mind, here are Alexandra’s* answers:

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 20, and I’m a student.

What is the best thing about being single?

The freedom.

What is the worst thing about being single?

Sometimes you need someone to be by your side, someone who you can be with at home on a Friday night watching Netflix

Do you like being single? 

Hell yes.

How long have you been single?

For a year now.

Notice the resemblance in the answers I was given from both genders. It’s true, this is the prime time of these people’s lives. All they want to do right now is go out and have fun, and hopefully graduate from university at the same time. The search for ‘the one’ hasn’t officially begun for them just yet…

Let’s say you do meet someone on the street, a bakery or the supermarket. What are the chances of you actually going on a date with them? Because as far as you may know, they could be a serial killer or they might enjoy all of the Minions sequels, both of these are equally terrifying. You also have a check list they must cross off in order to obtain a date with you. Is he tall enough? Did he finish high school? Does he love his mother? All of these things are unknown territory because he is a stranger. This would all have been easier if you had friends in common that could be used as a Wikipedia to answer your burning enquiries. Standing there in the cheese aisle, you kindly smile and tell them you are seeing someone, because it’s easier than doing all of the things mentioned above.

Fun fact: Once you’ve been on tinder for more than five hours, it becomes an addiction. Something you constantly need to check, but are also incredibly ashamed of. You constantly made fun of people on Tinder, now you are one of them.

Onto the thirty-year olds:

Max*

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 34, I work in a PR firm

What is the best thing about being single?

At this age, if you’re not married or dating the only good thing about being single is watching the sport channel without any complaints.

What is the worst thing about being single?

You start thinking that you’re never going to find someone to share your life with.

Do you like being single? 

I did, when I was younger all the guys thought it was cool to not have any attachment to a certain person. As you get older you realise that its nice having someone to come home to.

How long have you been single? 

4 years.

And even though Max* was searching for his “soulmate” he still insisted on me coming over to his place and keeping him company. I declined his generous offer. Let’s hope he finds someone who will complain about him watching the sports channel…

 Sara*

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 32, and i’m a personal assistant

What is the best thing about being single?

Nothing, theres absolutely nothing good about being miserable and alone

What is the worst thing about being single?

Being miserable and alone

Do you like being single? 

No, I’d rather have it like the old days where the girls were married off to their cousins when they were thirteen

How long have you been single?

6 months

What’s that? Ah yes, desperation crawling up on you in the distance once you reach your thirties. I’m sure Sara* could find herself a cousin to marry if she were born somewhere in the southern-states of the US. If you thought people in their thirties were actively seeking someone to share their life with, it seems as those who are unsuccessful in doing so by the time they reach their forties all their efforts have been drawn to living their life as if they are in their twenties.

Richard*

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 43, I am a CEO.

What is the best thing about being single?

Going out and sleeping with different women

What is the worst thing about being single?

How could anything be wrong about all the freedom??

Do you like being single? 

As much as I love pretty girls, and I love pretty girls.

How long have you been single?

All my life.

Jessica*

How old are you and what do you do?

I’m 46, and I have my own restaurant.

What is the best thing about being single?

Having time to yourself, to really do what you enjoy doing, whenever you want.

What is the worst thing about being single?

Not having anyone tell you when its time to do some work or do what they want to do.

Do you like being single? 

I think I have reached a point in my life where I am just comfortable with being alone, and not having anyone around for long periods of time.

How long have you been single?

10 years.

My phone seems incapable of handling Tinder and all the solicitation that I am being offered, even though I catch myself thinking that it may not be as bad as I make it sound and there are decent guys on here, I get a notification of a new message, it reads: “So do you want to come over and have incredible sex? Isn’t that the Tinder thing to do?”- yes, indeed that is a tinder thing to do, unfortunately I won’t have Tinder on my phone for much longer to follow through….

Thus, this experience makes me realise that the problem is not in not being able to find love, it’s where we look for love in the first place. Sure, technology is a constant saviour in our every day lives, however our love lives shouldn’t be sharing a folder with ‘yelp’ or a food delivery app.

So sign off, go out, seek and find…

*Names have been changed for the purpose of protecting the dignity and identity of the individuals mentioned in this article.