Things You Should Know Before Dating a New Yorker
Whether you live in New York or not, there’s zero chance you haven’t heard about its dating scene. The good, the bad... the Tinder. It’s all (mostly) true, and extremely different than anywhere else in the whole damn universe.
It’s to be expected, because New York is vastly different than any other city and breeds a entirely different species. Studying these creatures in their natural dating habitat is so intriguing it’s kept Darren Star flooded with cash more than a decade after he decided Carrie winds up with Mr. Big.
But since not everything is as it seems in SATC, Girls, and Broad City (although a lot is), here are a few things you need to know before dating a New Yorker. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
They’ll be on their phone at some point on the date
Sure, phone addiction is a nationwide epidemic, but New Yorkers have developed their own specific strain of ADHD. While on the date, they’ll involuntarily check their email and Instagram, and may even order Seamless to be ready for them when they get home. But honestly? They’re probably on Tinder.
You will never come first. Ever.
No, not in the way you're thinking (though, honestly, probably that way, too). New Yorkers are some of the most selfish people in the world -- they'll put their needs and desires before yours without a second thought. And they're not trying to be malicious either. A huge part of living in New York is about being out for yourself, so you can imagine how odd it will seem to them if you don’t put yourself first as well.
Your first date locale will be judged hard
A friend of mine once looked genuinely concerned when a guy suggested Sushi Samba as their first date. She thought this spoke a lot to his character because no self-respecting New Yorker would ever suggest a chain. I looked at her like she was certifiably insane, not to mention shallow. Then, a couple years later, a guy asked me to meet him at 13th Step for our date...
They will think you’re walking slow
Ambition > love
New Yorkers work their goddamn asses off. They have to, in order to afford to live here -- and I’m not just talking about rent. There's a million different activities (booze) to spend your money on (booze), and cash basically evaporates from your wallet as you go from Point A to Point B. This very real work hard/play hard mentality is why dating can almost be viewed as a distraction to a New Yorker, and you can’t even really get mad about it. As cliché as it sounds, this is why people live in New York, to make something of themselves. The operative word being themselves.
If there is more than one subway transfer, the relationship will never work
Remember on Friends when Ross fell asleep on the train and accidentally rode to Montreal when he was dating a girl from Poughkeepsie? Well, even though that was fake, 10+ stops and a subway transfer constituting a long-distance relationship for a New Yorker is real. And therefore, it will not last.
Letting people in is a major challenge
The whole hard-exterior thing is true. Honestly, how can New Yorkers not have that? You have to be tough to live in a city where rats can afford more pizza than you. The longer someone's lived here, the more likely it is they've become extremely self-sufficient, and are therefore reluctant, to let others help them. Another person can’t possibly just want to help you for no reason; there’s gotta be some ulterior motive... like murder. Right?
You’re not one in a million. You’re one in 8 million.
One of the best things about living in a city like New York is you are literally surrounded by new, interesting, smart, attractive people constantly. One of the worst things about dating in New York, is that you are literally surrounded by new, interesting, smart, attractive people constantly. How’s a gal or guy supposed to stand out among the masses when we're essentially living in a city full of Aladdins?! (That’s a “diamond in the rough,” guys.)
Just because the first date is fantastic, doesn’t mean you’ll go on another one
The best way to explain this is to think of a potential love interest like a restaurant. There are thousands of them in New York, and even if the meal was fantastic, there are thousands more to try, and arguably, you could be missing out on some really amazing omakase if you keep going back to that same burger joint on your corner.
You have to be willing to try new things, especially food-related things
Food is a big deal in New York. It’s a big part of the city’s culture, and rightly so, given the sheer amount there is to be had. It makes going out to eat an adventure, and if you’re one of those who orders “everything on the side” or only eats at The Smith, you’re undoubtedly going to piss a New Yorker off.
They’re already in a serious relationship -- with New York
New Yorkers love New York more anything, and, sorry to pull a Carrie Bradshaw, but here’s the honest truth: you just don’t really need to be in a relationship in New York, because you’re basically already in one with the city itself. The city challenges you, it inspires you, it slaps you in the face, you fight constantly, you’re always on the verge of a break up, but then it lures you back in like it always does (typically with bagels). It’s all very dramatic, not unlike a high-maintenance significant other -- and it’s the one relationship a New Yorker will prioritize.
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Liz Newman is a freelance writer living in New York, and before you light her up in the comments, assures you she will never dare to call herself a real New Yorker. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lizn813.