4 Tips for Finding Love in London

November 9, 2010
4 Tips for Finding Love in London

England is not like France or Italy where you walk around to a rousing chorus of catcalls, but just judging by the fact that Parliament only recently added women’s toilets for female MPs, it’s not exactly a model of 21st Century equality either. For one thing, you can’t be uptight about being called dear, or sweetheart, and especially not “love.”

I worked at a company in England where the CEO of the website asked every day if the “girls” were coming to lunch. He was referring to my editor and me, of course. The stiff, American, bleeding-heart-liberal, politically correct part of me bristled as he called us “girls” and not “independent, competent, career-women,” but he didn’t mean it as an insult; it was an endearment, really. But on the other hand, I lived right down the block from a hotel which was under construction for about 80% of the time I was there, and I never once heard anything more vulgar than a “looking fit today, love.”

For one thing, you can’t be uptight about being called dear, or sweetheart, and especially not “love.”

So in my opinion, England is just about one of the safest places for a woman to go. Unless of course you’re apt to fall victim to the sexual advances of any old wanker who talks to you with a British accent–which of course, I was.

There was this guitar player at the first bar I went to in England, and I immediately fell for him. I’ve never really been the type, but the moment he started singing Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire,” I just melted into some hysterical woman ready to rip off her knickers and throw them at him. We made eyes at each other over his guitar all night and I made sure to go back soon, because as I told my flatmates, I was going to hook up with him. And I did.

The first of my British romances ended with me snogging furiously at the back of the bar–not in the loos, but in what I indignantly told my friends was the “anteroom” to the bathrooms.

Finding love in London
Finding love in London

Except that everything he said sounded sexy and genuine because he was saying it with a British accent.

Fast forward to a few weeks later: he still hasn’t called, but every time we go to the bar he plays “Sex on Fire” and tells me he’s playing it for me. Right. Another time I told him I’d see him Saturday, and he said he spent the week wishing it were Saturday already. Clearly a line. Except that everything he said sounded sexy and genuine because he was saying it with a British accent. And with a guitar slung over his back. And a cigarette balancing between his lips like some sort of James Dean impersonator. So even when my inner bullshit detector was beeping a red alert, I just ignored it and continued drooling.

Eventually, I got over my lust for Peter (although every time I hear “Sex on Fire” I find myself daydreaming about him) and moved on to have a very fulfilling relationship with a Scottish man I met in a pub. Angus (I swear that was really his name) was a deep sea diver, and built like a truck. But most importantly, he did a great impression of an American frat boy, and the accent he acquired was so nauseating to me, that whenever I felt myself in danger of being swept away by his British charm, I had him repeat himself, in the frattiest way possible. When his sentiments were still perfectly sweet, I knew I had found a British guy worth hanging on to, not just an accent to make me hang on every word.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid the gits while you look for love in London:

1. Unlike bars, the pub is a pretty great place to meet men.

Since it’s a neighborhood spot, you meet guys who are just out for a nice time, and not necessarily trying to “get it in.” But it’s not a great idea to hit it too hard, because chances are you’ll see the same people all the time. And be warned, if you do meet a guy at your own neighborhood pub, it’s more than likely you’ll also meet his family. I met Angus’ parents on our third date because we went to the neighborhood pub, where everybody knows your name, your order, and exactly how many pints you had with the Ross boy the night before.

2. Control your inner “woo girl.”

The Brits are much more reserved, and if you’re bouncing off the walls with excitement, people will notice you. But not in a good way.

3. Be yourself.

Do not try to emulate the British girls. It ruins half your charm. I can’t tell you how many times I was told my accent was “delicious.” And I’m from Jersey.

4. There is no end to the great nightlife in London.

But there are a few favorite spots besides my own neighborhood pub (the Gloucester Arms) and wherever Peter was playing (usually Janet’s Bar in South Kensington) were in Covent Garden. Also, check out the University pubs for cheap drinks, and a young, friendly crowd. If you’re ever in doubt: follow the Australians.

4 Tips for Finding Love in London photo by Unsplash. 

About Taryn Mckinnon

Taryn Mckinnon studied abroad in London during her junior year abroad. She has traveled all over Europe.

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