(TINDER IN LONDON vs TINDER IN ITALY)
I’ve heard it so many times, from quite a few friends. “Maybe London makes things more complicated, dating wise”. In the end, listening to yet another dating misadventure, what can they say? “All your stories end up badly because you look like a walking disused toilet that not even a bottle of bleach would like to go near to”? No, they are your friends, so they reassure you that it has nothing to do with your looks (Pls note that the line: “We are in London, they like girls of all sizes!” is not that comforting). The direct consequence of reassuring you that it is not about your looks and size, is that you start thinking that maybe the problem is your personality. So, in a spectacular effort to convince you that no, the reason why you are still single is neither because of your looks, nor because of your personality, some of them have come up with the cryptic: “It’s London that complicates things.”
This sentence has always buggered me big time. I have at least five examples of friends who managed to find their The One in this big city, and have or are about to crown their dream of having a baby. Yes, there are complications in comparison with a smaller town, with fewer cultures mixed together, but if you look to the opposite side you will also see some potentials and benefits that the small town does not offer.
One of these benefits, to me, is the way online dating is perceived. In London it is extremely popular, and I would say that more or less everyone living here has tried it for some time (oh, sadly, I’m not referring to singles only). It has been my main source of dating for the past 3 years, though not the most fruitful, ironically. Yet, it surely helped me to meet a lot of guys. How would I have met so many people if I had stayed in Italy, working from home as I do?
I still remember the incredulous face of a guy from my village when I explained him how it works, and how you get a date from a swipe right. He was all: “That’s absurd! What happened to the normal “You see a guy, you smile, you start talking” thing? That’s why you are still single! In those big cities you have stopped talking with each other, you are so isolated”. I would like to tell you that this guy is 76 years old, but unfortunately he was at school with me.
Anyway, this got me curious. How many people would see it like him? I know from past conversations that online dating was perceived as seedy, or for nerds. But have things changed? Call it boredom at the prospect of 10 days with my family and relatives, call it market research for my blog, call it curiosity… During my Christmas holiday I decided to try Tinder at home, in Treviso.
I wanted to see if and how it is different from London’s scene. Here are my findings and discoveries:
- 80% of the Italian guys are wearing sunglasses in their profile photo. Stereotype confirmed.
- 70% of them have a friend in common with me (Tinder is based on Facebook and tells you if you have friends in common). In London it occasionally happens, but it’s normally a “second degree” friend, meaning that there are two passages between this person and the friend in common that you are shown. You immediately understand the pool of people is so much smaller!
- Funnily enough, 80 % of the times, the friend in common was my ex Uni flatmate, that we have always mocked for how many superficial acquaintances she had. This detail actually made me smile a lot. If that was her situation back at Uni, she must have built a pool of thousand of dear friends on Facebook by now.
- After 6 minutes of swiping, Tinder told me that there were no more men available in my area. Back to watching TV then.
Sorry, only four conclusions, yes, but what can you expect when your swiping experience is limited to 30 profiles?
So, ok, maybe in London it is more difficult to find your match because you can go through hours and hours of profiles… But in the end I prefer to have as many possibilities as I can, than being restricted. That’s why I moved to London. For its endless opportunities. In work. In education. AND IN DATING, TOO.
So, please, next time that you are about to say it (or equally to suggest that moving away might make it easier to find a partner), save your words.
London does not complicate things. It’s our age and baggage, that does.