It may seem ironic that I’m writing this just days before I actually move to the Capital, but if there’s one thing I know about London, it’s the Dating world. Over the past twelve months, I’ve averaged three dates or dating events a week in London, more than most of my London-based friends.
And in the process, I’ve learned a lot of lessons!
A is for Area of London
Location is key. Not just the date venue, but the area of town. A first date in Chelsea is very different to a first date in Shoreditch, and not every West End Girl loves an East End Boy … (please excuse the general butchering of the E17 song there!). You get the picture though…
The area of London you choose will not only determine the activity you do, it will determine how much things cost and even what you wear. Every time I venture any further East than Liverpool St, I feel extremely uncool!
B is for Boris Bikes
Summer is here, so make the most of the outdoors! London has some beautiful outdoor spaces – from Hyde Park to Clapham Common. And from Little Venice to the South Bank – make the most of the scenic surroundings while the sunshine is out!
What better way to experience the sunshine, than on a bike? Pack a picnic, and jump on one of the iconic blue bikes, it’s something my friends always say they want to do when we walk past a pod of bikes, but how often do you actually get to do it?
C is for Charge Up!
London is a fast-paced city, and you need extra strong batteries! Not just for yourself, but also for your smart phone!
If you own an iPhone, the reality of dating in London is that your phone is guaranteed to run out at some point during the night! Always carry a phone charger with you – a smart phone can be indispensable on a date – from navigating the Tube, to calling a cab, to Facebook-stalking your date beforehand to make sure you recognise him or her!
And while we’re on the subject of charging up – keep an eye on your Oyster! There’s nothing more embarrassing than following your date onto the Tube, only for the gate to reject your Oyster because you haven’t topped up! (Yes, I speak from experience!)
One of the most thoughtful dates I’ve heard about involved a series of surprises around London, and the guy pre-loaded an Oyster card for his date so she didn’t have to worry about getting Tube tickets.
D is for the DoingSomething Date Directory
When I was looking for weird and wonderful date ideas during my 30 Dates, the DoingSomething directory became a bit of a bible. The site is divided up under different headings, including Unusual Dates, Fun Dates, Must Do Dates and Cheap Dates.
They regularly update their lists, include special offers, and ask Dating Experts for suggestions to add to their ever-growing database of London dates.
Also worth checking out – Design My Night.
E is for Events
London is the Mecca of all Singles Events. You name it, there’s a company doing it! Whether you want to sniff a potential match’s dirty laundry (Pheromone Dating), bark like a dog (Shhh Dating) or play ping pong with 600 other singles (DoingSomething), there’s an event for you, it’s just a matter of finding out about it. One of the reasons I’m moving to London is to be able to trial more of the weird and wonderful events the city has to offer – and the one thing I will say, the odder the event, the more likely it is to attract attractive, normal guys! Socialising in London is all about experimentation and new concepts, and this applies to the dating world too.
F is for Fast-Paced
We all know high-speed life in London can feel at times, and this applies to the dating world too.
If you match up with someone on Tinder, or start chatting on a dating website, try to meet up quickly. Not only will this stop you forming unrealistic first impressions of your date (because no one is ever completely how you imagine over text and phone calls), but it will mean you start the ball properly rolling. Until you meet up face-to-face, the reality of London dating is that you’re just yet another name and number on someone’s phone, so try to take the leap to meeting up as quickly as you can.
The unfortunate reality of dating in London is that if you delay too long – for example if one of you has a holiday booked – then it’s unlikely to materialise into a real-life meet up unless you really put in some leg work.
If things do peter out, try not to take it to heart – it really is just timing, and the reality of dating in London.
G is for Grub Club
If you’re out for a different dining experience, then Grub Club is the site to join. They feature pop-up home grown ideas, from aspiring chefs running their own tea parties or themed evenings, to dinner in incredible random London locations, like Tube carriages and clock towers.
You can either sign up for two places and take a date, or sign up as a singleton, and turn the event into an impromptu singles opportunity, as the likelihood is any other solo diners signing up will also be single (something I realised from my evening at Society Dining).
H is Hashtags
In case you’ve been sleeping for the past two years, every man and his dog is on Twitter and Instagram! And the hashtag is key to finding out what’s on trend. As a dater in London, Twitter can be a really useful tool. Follow several #datingbloggers – I highly recommend @laurie_mypotl , @girlwiththe, @katy_red, @alexiasays, @SatNightAlright, @DrawDowntheMoon and @Matchmaker_Miss. It’s also worth checking out tweets by companies like @londonist, @doingsomething, @designmynight. A number of the major dating websites – including @guardian_SM – have Twitter accounts to accompany their blogs.
I is for I, me, moi … or rather YOU
The person you need to focus on when dating. It’s a cliché, but you genuinely need to love yourself before someone else can love you. And you need to properly know yourself in order to appreciate what it is you want in a partner. In a city as busy and relentless as London it can be easy to forget yourself and get caught up in everything else.
Never forget yourself in the dating process. Value and appreciate yourself, and don’t let other people take advantage of you by under valuing you.
The online dating world revolves around self-promotion. Unfortunately in the age we live in, self-marketing is a necessary social skill – so learn which parts of your personality to showcase, learn which photos of you work (whilst still being honest), and learn what clothes, hair style and make-up (if you’re female) showcase your best assets, in a manner which is true to you.
Being happy starts with being happy with yourself.
J is for Jumping into Bed with Someone
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – don’t have sex with someone until you’re sure you know their intentions. If all you want is a one-night stand, then by all means go ahead, but make sure all cards are on the table and the other person feels the same way. If you’re not quite sure what someone’s intentions are, don’t rush into anything until you know more.
We’re all adults, but we also all have emotions! Don’t set yourself up to get hurt!
Don’t invite a guy back to sleep in your bed if you don’t intend to sleep with him – it give mixed messages and guys interpret it as a shun, as opposed to an affectionate step forwards.
K is for Kissing
The Air Kiss is the official London greeting (thanks mainly to Made in Chelsea)!
Check out my recent post for the full run down, but essentially – if in doubt, go in for two, and don’t actually make contact with the other person’s face. This avoids most of the potential embarrassments within the first ten seconds of making a new acquaintance!
Resist the urge to bear hug!
L is for Lates
A few years ago, London’s major tourist attractions discovered a clever marketing plan. By opening their doors late a few nights a month, they could bring in a different type of clientele. The Science Museum, The V&A, The National History Museum and London Zoo all do adult only evenings on select dates, offering all the normal trappings of a visit, plus adult-friendly activities like speed-dating, different food options, and alcohol.
The Science Museum does a themed monthly night on the last Wednesday of the month.
The National History Museum does monthly Lates nights on the last Friday of the month.
The V&A also does it’s monthly Late night on the final Friday of the month.
London Zoo runs Zoo Lates on Friday nights through out the summer – animal onesies optional!
M is for Mile-Radius
The joy of living in London and using Tinder is that you can tie down your search area to the smallest possible circumference and still have thousands of options. Something people elsewhere in the country can’t rely on!
Just be aware the general face of Tinder has changed a lot since last summer, and you’re likely to experience far more matches just up for a one-night stand than anything long-term.
Check out tomorrow’s post for the rest of the alphabet!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx