Where Have All the Real Life Carrie Bradshaws Gone?

This is my 500th post on 30 Dates … and so it seems rather fitting that I’m writing about the fictional icon of all Dating Bloggers.  The dream herself – Carrie Bradshaw.

I get likened to her at least once a week … and I bloody love it!  What girl, growing up in the nineties and noughties, didn’t secretly want to be Carrie?  Or at least one of her best friends!  She had it all – the city life, the incredible apartment, the wardrobe, the shoes, the guys …

But unlike me, Carrie wasn’t a dating blogger.  She was a dating columnist – writing for an unnamed New York City newspaper.  And Carrie’s life is based on that of author Candace Bushnell, who wrote a real-life column in the New York Observer.

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This weekend, I bought every Saturday and Sunday newspaper on the newsstand.  As part of my research for the UK Dating Awards, I needed to make sure we hadn’t missed out any of the key Dating Journalists in our outreach about the Journalist of the Year Award.  I also wanted to ensure all the relevant newspapers were aware of the Dating Column of the Year Award.

Over the past two days I have skim-read around 20 newspapers, including all their glossy weekend magazines.  And we all know how big weekend newspapers are!

So in all those pages of print, how many dating columns and related articles did I find?

Three.  And I already knew about one of them, because I’ve helped contribute to it myself!

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Which prompted an important question – Where have all the dating columns gone?  And why?

I know people enjoy reading about dating.  The only reason this blog even exists is because so many of my friends appealed to me to write a blog when I first set myself the 30 Dates challenge. And there are dating blogs a-plenty to read online … So why do British papers no longer employ dating columnists?  In fact … have they ever employed dating columnists?!

I have to admit to never having regularly subscribed to a newspaper as an adult.  And in my early teens, reading my parents’ newspapers, I doubt I would have ever searched out a dating column, so I can’t speak of newspapers past …

Have we simply never caught up with the New York culture of dating, which made Carrie’s fictional role Candace Bushnell’s everyday reality?

As a dater in London, I know how long it has taken for us Brits to adopt an American mindset to Dating … is that why we don’t have Dating Columns in print?  Is it not that they’ve been removed, but that we are yet to ever see Dating Diaries regularly recorded in broadsheets?

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You could be forgiven for thinking that Dating is something better dealt with in women’s magazines.  Though I for one know that the 30 Dates challenge was just as popular amongst my friends’ husbands and boyfriends, as it was amongst my female readers.  In fact these days, male readers are often far more open to commenting on the dating advice blog posts I write here on 30 Dates than girls are.  Women prefer to email me in private.

And actually, dating isn’t really talked about in magazines either.  These days women’s magazines focus mainly on fashion and beauty – arguably because of the advertising revenue which comes with specialising in those areas.  Yet, as a magazine reader, I flick past all the fashion adverts and search out the text.  I buy magazines for the stories, the editorial and commentary.  Yes, it’s nice to get a few outfit ideas, but if I want to be bombarded with clothing options, I’ll just walk down my high street.

When it comes to editorial – reading about relationships is something we all enjoy.  It’s part of the reason celebrity gossip does so well, and shows like Made in Chelsea have become institutions.  Dating is interesting – it’s something we’ve all done at least at some point. Those of us who are still dating want advice and confirmation we’re normal, and that being single isn’t a malady, and those of you who are coupled up, thrive on living vicariously through single friends … even if those ‘friends’ are writers or celebrities!

So why is dating a top seldom seen in print?  Last year when I started talking to agents about writing a book about 30 Dates, I was told repeatedly that Dating Books are hard to sell … And yet I can see the numbers of people who come to read 30 Dates every day.  And I see the Google search terms used to help people stumble upon this blog …

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People like to read about sex and relationships.  They’re what we talk about to our closest friends, and the aspects of other peoples’ lives which we’re most nosey about.  And whilst I appreciate how much of our lives are now spent online – the very reason blogging has become a veritable profession – there’s also still a huge industry for print.  Magazines and newspapers continue to thrive, in spite of the growth of digital media.

So what better way to spend a Sunday morning, snuggled up with the Sunday paper, than having a sneak peek into the life of someone who will candidly talk about dating?

Candace Bushnell dated in the eighties and nineties.  Her fictional characters dated in the nineties and noughties.

Surely it’s about time someone else became the real-life personification of a Dating Writer.  Someone dating in real life in the twenty-teens …  A name which becomes akin to talking about life as a single girl in a city, and just how exciting that can be?

And yes … that IS me offering! 😉

Miss Twenty-Nine  xxx

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