What does it take to be a dating expert? Is there even such a thing? I may have earned the honorary distinction after going on 40+ dates last year, many of them bad dates. I went on so many bad dates that I felt compelled to create a web series chronicling my adventures and cluelessness about dating called “SingleDumb.”
So okay, maybe that doesn’t make me a dating expert, but I’d still say that I’m pretty well-informed when it comes to the dating habits of dudes in Brooklyn. In my many evenings on the town, I’ve learned a thing or two, and one valuable lesson in particular: dating a Brooklyn dude is a curated, locally sourced, $12-draft, sometimes maybe-just-a-club soda-with-bitters type of experience.
He’ll insist that his Brooklyn neighborhood is the best Brooklyn neighborhood.
Part of dating in Brooklyn is exploring different neighborhoods: Gowanus (Royal Palms), Red Hook (Sunny’s), Greenpoint (Peter Pan Donuts), Midwood (DiFara’s), Prospect Heights (Tom’s Diner), Fort Greene (BAM), etc BUT, good luck finding a dude who, when you’re not exploring, wants to spend solid time in your hood. He’ll insist that everything is better in his neck of the woods. For example:
– Convenience: “My apartment is above the G, yours is 5 blocks away from the G.”
– Food: “Have you noticed that you can’t find any good bread in Boerum Hill?”
– Age: “I’m a bartender and the excessive presence of strollers in your hood makes me uncomfortable.”
– Cultural richness: “Bed-Stuy has more soul than Cobble Hill.”
That being said, he can be very convincing—it’s charming, at first—so you will find yourself spending most nights at his place even if he still sleeps in a water bed.
You’ll rarely ever go to Manhattan.
Unless you are going to The Cloisters, Levain Bakery or Chinatown for dim-sum, you will be Brooklyn based at all times. “Why would we go to Manhattan?” That means, taxis will basically be non-existent and going to any parties to introduce him to your friends who, yes, still live in Manhattan (“Why do they live there?”) will require a few drinks and probably a visit to the bedroom before departure. Going “in” is how you will refer to your rare Manhattan visits. And, you will bond over this very public loathing of all things Manhattan as if you both hadn’t lived there before relocating to Brooklyn. “Have you been to the Lower East Side lately?” he’ll ask you. “It’s so awful.”
He will be the worst kind of food snob-the kind that doesn’t think that he is a food snob.
Dating a vegan is hard enough—butter, OK, butter—but dating someone who comments on everything is the ultimate fun-killer. He’ll talk a lot about the feng shui of a restaurant- “It just feels off, do you mind if we try somewhere else?” and, with sushi restaurants, forget it. It’s probably best to just avoid sushi places, since “How fresh is this fish?” becomes an inevitable inquiry.
Everything is sourced locally even his mayonnaise. He’ll know the best pizza places—ya know, the ones that haven’t been featured in TimeOut’s “Best” edition yet, or never will be. And, the pizza will be good, really good, but his arrogance, oh, the arrogance-it will leave quite an after taste.
Oh, and coffee. Sure, “deli coffee” for him is kosher every once in a while because it feels very NY (or is that just how it feels to me?) but ideally all coffee will be purchased from a store that looks more like a West Village clothing boutique. He’ll use the word “roasters” a lot and, at home he will only make coffee by grinding fresh beans first and then using a very sophisticated coffee-making contraption. It does taste better. Shit. It’s happening to me now. Star-what?
Oh, and lest I forget, he might even use the “I’m a member of the Park Slope Food Co-Op” card to get you in the sack and then offer to buy you groceries. How turned on are you now? They have damn good curry cashews.
He will think that social media is a totally legitimate way to communicate with you.
Sure, a “Like” on Facebook feels good and a retweet might even motivate me to cancel an upcoming therapy session, BUT, let’s be honest: if a dude “favorites” my tweet or comments on my Instagram photo, this does not make me feel like I’m the only girl he is banging. A guy I dated got mad at me because I didn’t accept his Facebook friend request and particularly peeved when I didn’t read his personal blog, telling me “You’d really learn a lot more about me if you read it.” Can’t I get to know you by laying with you in bed instead of laying with my computer?
Real conversation trumps virtual chatting unless of course you are a robot or like, really good at emojis (That was a test. Emojis don’t count! They’ve complicated and simplified all of my past relationships).
He’ll take his hobbies more seriously than his job
He’ll be a cyclist (and don’t call him a “biker”—I did that once—almost got dumped).
He’ll bike. He’ll bike all the time. He’ll probably own multiple bikes and obsess over gears and bikes worth thousands of dollars. And, the gadgets. The gadgets are just “pretty great.”
He wasn’t athletic in high school so cycling has become his sport to some degree. Endorphins! A great release! Better in bed (not proven yet)! Friday nights will be early nights because he will have an early ride in the morning. And, if he’s not in to biking (“cycling”-sorry!), he’ll have some creative project that he is always working on “on the side.” “On the side,” however feels kinda full time. Actually, it might be unclear what his full-time job is.
He’ll own a car or a dog.
Yes, people own cars in Brooklyn. They own them. They have driver’s licenses.
What a thrill it is to be picked up in a car (a privately owned by the guy you are dating car) to go on a date. James Bond will drive you to Coney Island, to the Bronx (Manhattan!), maybe even to Staten Island if you’re lucky. Extra points if he can drive stick shift. There is something about driving around NY, sitting shotty in a clean car driven by a non-stranger. Really. I encourage everyone to seek out this opportunity. Roll down the window too.
If he doesn’t own a car, he’ll own a dog. And, folks, if you date a dude who has a canine, you are also dating that little guy too. Make sure you have a nice collection of plastic baggies in your pockets because you will be picking up a lot of fresh dog shit to show that, hey, you’d be a pretty sweet girlfriend and wouldn’t charge for dog walking when your man is out of town.
He’ll be “cooler” than you.
He’ll know all of the best shows that are coming up, where to find them, where the best warehouse party is (I still have never been to one) and before you know it, he will be directing a video for Childish Gambino and you’re like, whaaaat? He’ll probably wear more black than you because he can rock it even if he’s not a modern-day Jagger. Just because he’s “cooler,” doesn’t mean that he is actually cooler than you (whatever that means)—he just might appear that way. And, facial hair. Whether he has facial hair or doesn’t, he will obsess over it-he’ll miss it if he doesn’t have it or can’t wait to get rid of it if he does.
Follow Alexandra’s dating adventures at SingleDumb and @singledumbshow
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