Is There a Best City for Singles?

Posted by Nerissa Jawanda & filed under Sex & Relationships.

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I’m sure we’ve all heard that dating in Vancouver can be quite bleak at times. From articles in newspapers, magazines, and even spotlights on the news, we’ve been bombarded with the idea that dating in this city is difficult. But how would your prospects stack up in other cities across the country? Dating Beyond Borders took to the streets of Montreal and Toronto to gain some insightful stories and opinions on this topic. After seeing their video, I decided to conduct some of my own interviews with friends from Vancouver to compare dating culture across the three cities.

First—let’s look at the results from Dating Beyond Borders. The host begins her interviews in Montreal, where the most popular anecdote was that men and women seem more approachable, and easier to talk to in Montreal than in Toronto. As the interviewer puts it—Montreal women seem more forward, and Montreal men seem more likely to go out of their way to talk to a woman.

This idea is perfectly exemplified when a man randomly runs up to the interviewer in the hopes of asking her out on a date. She is slightly taken aback, and with a chuckle she asks, “tell me the truth, is this something normal that you do?” to which he proudly proclaims with a smirk “yes […] every weekend, thirty minutes per day.” Shaving time out of his weekends, for the specific purpose of courting, now that’s what I call persistence—and it seems to be paying off for him, as he shares the fact that he gets many dates out of this practice!

Toronto was definitely a different story. The most common descriptor of individuals in this city was that they have their guards up. The women that are interviewed tend to say that when a guy approaches them they are likely to walk away or give them a dirty look. As one interviewee puts it, “since there’s so many people here, it seems like everyone’s holding out for the best option.”

Unsurprisingly, the word chosen to describe Toronto women was ‘hesitant,’ and the word chosen to describe Toronto men was ‘shy.’ It seems that these two responses may be feeding off of each other though, because as the women are increasingly hesitant or harsh, the men may become more shy or unwilling to approach them.

So how does all this tie into the Vancouver dating context? To me, it definitely looks like Vancouver’s dating culture is more similar to that of Toronto’s than Montreal’s. In interviews with friends, I was less surprised than I’d like to say at their opinions on dating within this city—their responses reinforced what I already assumed was the case.

When comparing Vancouver to other cities, only one of the women I interviewed had travelled to Toronto and Montreal—she had this to say: “I’ve been to Montreal and Toronto. I think the guys in Montreal seem more genuine and friendly. When they approach you or try to talk to you it’s not intimidating. In Toronto, and also in Vancouver but to a lesser extent I guess, when guys do approach me they seem to come on too strong.”

I decided to set out and get more answers. I asked, similarly to the interviewer from Dating Beyond Borders, which one word describes the men in Vancouver, and which one word describes the women in Vancouver. The word that sums up the responses I got for men was aloof, and the word that sums up the responses I got for women was conceited.

When describing Vancouver men, the women I interviewed all seemed to point to the sentiment that the men seem unlikely or unwilling to approach them, unless they are in a casual setting, such as a party, a bar or a club.  They all in one way or another described the idea that the men seem distant when it came to day-time interactions and that they are rarely approached in alcohol free settings such as at a coffee shop, at the park or at university. They were not sure whether to attribute this to shyness or some other factor, but either way, it seems that the men in Vancouver are unforthcoming unless inebriated. Which is an issue, they explained, because a club setting is not the ideal place to meet someone and make a real, long-lasting connection with most of the time. As one friend harshly put it, “the guys in Vancouver always seem pretty timid to me, and the ones who do choose to approach me are usually nothing worthwhile, I’d say the place I most often meet guys is at clubs, and they’re not always quality guys.”

When asked to describe women in the city, they said that it seemed like women here can be quite guarded and have a hard to find a guy that is “up to par.” They explained that they were not likely to give their number away easily, or agree to a date too eagerly. As a whole, they felt that the women in Vancouver know what they are looking for, and that their expectations are set pretty high—finding someone who checks all of their presupposed boxes seems like quite a difficult task at times.

So is there a best city for singles? It seems that Montreal is more relaxed when it comes to dating, and may even be an easier place to meet people than Toronto and Vancouver—whether that makes it ‘best’ is really a subjective answer. Regardless, after interviewing my friends, I’d have to agree with the interviewer from Dating Beyond Borders when she concludes with some simple dating-related words of wisdom, for whichever city you’re in: lower your guard and make a move.


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