Being single in London can be the best of times, and the worst.
On the one hand you’ve got the endless exciting possibilities of meeting ‘The One’ every time you step out of the door, on the other you’ve got the ‘omg I can’t afford a flat unless I find a boyfriend’ feeling and the lonely days when everyone else seems to be busy receiving flowers and back massages from their boyfs (#spoiltrotten!) while you eat breadsticks and watch Homes Under The Hammer alone in your dressing gown.
I actually loved my single times in London, although I realise that’s very easy for me to say from the cushy land of a long term relationship. However, it definitely taught me A LOT about the kinds of guys you’ll come across dating in London, as have the experiences of all my closest friends.
So, in the manner of Carrie Bradshaw advising a new-to-Manhattan 23-year-old how to navigate her love life, here’s my wisdom on what types of men to expect when you dive into the capital’s dating scene…
1. The finance one
He works in the City, lives in some swanky period conversion in an ‘edgy’ part of town and LOVES skiing/the lads/the lash more than anything else. Rating somewhere between Boris Johnson and MIC’s Spencer Matthews in the arrogance stakes, he’ll invariably try to persuade you back to his house after a first date. Don’t even bother trying to make him your boyfriend – a fat salary never makes up for being a w**ker.
2. The sweet one
The absolute opposite of the City player, this guy is so sweet that instead of wanting to kiss him you actually want to wrap him up in M&S jumpers and bake him a cake. While you can tell the sweet guy would probably make the most devoted boyfriend ever, you also know that being a pushover has zero sex appeal, plus you’d end up feeling more like his mum than his girlfriend.
3. The one you’re attracted to against all your better instincts
Can easily overlap with number one – this is a man who you know is just totally wrong, but you want anyway. It could the ridiculous topless poser you swiped right for while drunk Tindering, or the hot guy from uni who’s got in touch with you via Facebook even though you’re sure he had a girlfriend. Although your mates will warn you off, you should probably just meet up with this guy to confirm what an idiot he is and get it out of your system.
4. The time waster
This guy comes in two guises: firstly, the bloke who REALLY wants a date with you but just keeps having to reschedule, or ‘forgets’ to message you until five minutes before you were meant to be meeting. In fact, despite what he says, his behaviour suggests that perhaps he doesn’t actually want a date with you that much at all.
Far more annoying though are the long-term time wasters. These guys date you for weeks – months even – before suddenly remembering that they’re ‘not really looking for a girlfriend’, which seriously begs the question: if that is the case, why go on dates at all?!
5. The cringe one
You turn up for the date and he’s in a linen safari suit/orange gilet/ankle length leather coat and you’re immediately like ‘No, no, this can’t be happening’ – but it’s too late, he’s already spotted you. The cringe date will then put you through a three hour ordeal of embarrassment that involves him making ‘hilarious’ jokes with the barman, insulting you without realising, falling over at least twice and trying to flirt in a way that makes you blush not with joy but an intense need for the ground to swallow you up. Invariably, this will be the date where you bump into all your best mates.
6. The Aussie one
You met him out in Clapham and thought he seemed like ‘a laugh’ – plus he has an excellent tan. But when he turns up wearing a vest and starts telling you about the house he shares with 15 other ‘party people’, you start to get the feeling that you won’t be introducing him to your mum any time soon…
7. The posh one
Your friend tells you in hushed tones that this guy’s family ‘own half of the Cotswolds’, but once you meet him you realise that, despite this, they haven’t quite got a grip on fundamental social skills. Awkward and bumbling, yet still acting as if he’s somehow superior to you, this guy will not appreciate you answering his question ‘What’s your favourite restaurant in London?’ with the honest answer: ‘Nando’s’.
8. The penpal
Thought you’d given up penpals at the age of eight? Think again. He’s out there in the dating pool, messaging regularly but with no apparent intention of ever asking you out. Eventually, you’ll realise this and stop messaging back, at which point he’ll probably suggest a drink and turn into number four.
9. The mind-boggling one
Inevitably, you’ll have at least one date that feels more like a survival mission than a romantic liaison. Perhaps he’s the most boring man on earth, or super handsy even though you’ve made it clear you’re not interested. As you step on the tube, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief, pleased that the awkwardness is over for both of you. As you step off the tube, you’ll get a Whatsapp from him saying what a ‘great date’ it was and proposing another meet up, making you wonder how on earth you could have interpreted the same ordeal so differently.
10. The mansplainer
This guy thinks he actually knows more about your job than you do, even though he works in a completely different field. Work in accountancy? He’ll start explaining how the tax system works, despite being in computing. Journalist? Prepare to learn all about the Murdoch empire, even though oh wait you’ve actually worked there whereas he’s been swanning around RBS. Le sigh.
11. The ‘how has he not been snapped up yet?’ one
Just when you’re starting to think every guy in London is actually a nutjob, along comes the man who restores your faith in humanity/relationships/blokes. He won’t mess you around, belittle you or try to squeeze your boobs on the first date – he’ll be straightforward, gentlemanly and lots of fun. At this point, it is your responsibility to a) enjoy it and not freak out that it’s all an elaborate deception and b) find out if he has any normal single friends who you can hook your BFF up with.
No go forth and date!