On Boston’s dating scene

It’s rare that an esteemed blogger like yours truly deigns it necessary to lower himself to the level of the Boston Herald, but in this case I couldn’t resist. This article about dating in Boston and why it kind of sucks caught my attention. If you’re too good for that rag, I’ll give you the tl;dr: the local dating scene is a source of much frustration due to unfriendly people, insular locals, the cold, high living expenses, and—of course—those gosh darn social media sites and dating apps.

As an active participant and self-proclaimed expert on Boston dating, I’m calling bullshit on pretty much all of that.

If you aren’t going out to meet people because it’s too chilly for your delicate widdle piggy toes, well—obviously you don’t want to meet people that badly, now do ya? The people around here are plenty friendly as long as you’ve actually got something to say. And blaming technology is just flat fucking lazy.

The living expense thing, however, is definitely a big part of the problem. Pretty much every Boston resident of dating age is paying off a buttload of student loans. Dinner anywhere even remotely hip ain’t cheap. And I think it’s a lot worse for older singles—for whom the dating pool is already more limited—because so many of them have chosen to pay the exorbitant rents that come with living alone. Many of them can only do so because they’re getting assistance from relatives or working multiple jobs, and I often hear them say things like “I had cereal for dinner three nights this week.” That particular demographic, I think, is about to be the subject of a lot of supposedly intelligent reporting about health, finance, and social standing that’s going to make me shrug and say “yeah, no shit.”

While the article cites Boston’s wide variety of nightlife options as one of the scene’s strengths, anyone who’s been out and about lately knows that’s total horseshit. It’s something I’ve been harping on for years. Yeah, there’s a lot of restaurants and bars in the area, but for the most part you’ve really only got two options: shithole or boring overpriced garbage. Having a large number of something absolutely does not mean you have variety. I can count maybe half a dozen legitimately fun places with actual things to do that also happen to be within walking distance of the subway. Your bars and restaurants are boring as fuck, Boston, and it’s keeping us all from getting smooches.

Which brings me to the people. Bostonians themselves are a problem here, but not in the way the Herald suggests. You know who’s typically kind of dry? College-educated liberal Millennials. Seriously. When all you’ve got to talk about on a first date is that last thing you marathoned on Netflix, I mean…why wouldn’t your prospective paramour move on to the next option? And I’m not just ragging on the ladies here; I love snooping on obvious first dates, and holy shit dudes, you’re frickin’ dull. My god. The goal is to interest the other party, not put them to sleep. Sometimes when I’m out and about in Cambridge or Somerville on a weekend night, and I look around at the room, and I find myself surrounded by people who dress the same, talk the same, try to intelligently expound on simple concepts they obviously don’t understand the same, constantly screw up irony even though they rely on it so heavily for their humor the same…I can kind of understand why certain parts of the country shit on the coasts, and I can totally see why it’s so hard to find someone to date. Very few local Millennials immediately stand out, which is a huge detriment in an activity where a first impression is likely your only impression. There’s a reason I generally prefer to hide among the “insular” townies. They’re fun from the get go.

“But Scott Colby!” you shriek. “Now that you’ve crapped on most of your neighbors, what, exactly, do you suggest we do about this?” If I knew, I’d already have turned the answer into a dating app, made a bazillion dollars, and moved somewhere warmer with better nightlife. I think it comes down to time. Checking boxes next to mutual interests does not build a rapport. Going out on a zillion first dates eats up hours we don’t have and leads to frustration. There’s a balancing act here somewhere, and when it comes to dating apps and websites I think it’s more an issue of how we use them than of the construction of the sites themselves. Use your head? Show some restraint? Be picky about where and when you meet people? Give the people you choose to meet more time to become interesting?

I don’t know. But I do know it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and CVS might have a shit ton of cheap candy unless it’s already been picked through. Get your Extra Care Cards out and get to it, losers.

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