Vancouver Shakedown: Single in the city, 200 dates later

Ashley recounts her ongoing quest to find an average, normal, single guy in Vancouver

You’ve probably heard about Vancouver’s challenging dating scene for single women. A friend of mine named Ashley moved to the city a little more than two years ago, and she can tell you all about it.

Ashley is 37 and has a great job. She lives right in the heart of Kits and is very health-conscious, active and loves being outside. She sounds like the perfect Vancouverite, right?

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Get this: since arriving in Vancouver in September 2015, Ashley has been on more than two-hundred dates. That number includes one-timers and follow-ups with guys that showed potential.

Ashley once had three guys on the go that all happened to be named Dan.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “There was Danish Dan, Wine Snort Dan and Dan No. 3. None of them worked out.”

Ashley uses plenty of online dating services, including eHarmony, Tinder, Happen and Bumble, and she gets a lot of attention. The men come to her. Sometimes, Ashley will have four dates lined up in one weekend. In all that time, on all those dates, not one guy has stuck long term.

“I swear I’m not a perfectionist. I’m easy going and relaxed. To be clear, I’m not sleeping with all these men and I’m not desperate. I just find that in Vancouver there are very few middle-of-the-road, average, normal guys out there, which is all I’m looking for,” Ashley told me.

“Vancouver guys tend to be extreme. They’re either proposing marriage for like, next Saturday, or painfully shy and socially awkward and walking out on me, or they look nothing like their photo.”

Ashley feels that Vancouver’s fitness-first culture has a negative impact on the dating scene. “Seriously, single guys in this town are using up all their energy on fitness! When they wake up at 5 a.m. to do the Grouse Grind before work, they’re too tired to go out to dinner or a bar after work,” she laments.

1102 SHAKEDOWN Ashley
'I swear I’m not a perfectionist. I’m easy going and relaxed. To be clear, I’m not sleeping with all these men and I’m not desperate. I just find that in Vancouver there are very few middle-of-the-road, average, normal guys out there, which is all I’m looking for,' Ashley says. - Contributed

Because of Vancouver’s apparent imbalance of single men and women (Ashley feels like the ratio is three single women for every single man), she also thinks that guys in this town have false confidence. Never was that more evident than on Ashley’s first-ever Vancouver date.

“I was down at Kits Beach minutes after signing my lease, and this guy walked past me three times with his dog and finally stopped and asked me out. He didn’t look like an axe murderer, so I said yes. And by the way, I actually like that kind of forward behaviour,” Ashley noted.

“Every day I walk down the street hoping that someone will ask me out like that guy did. You know, ‘I noticed you’ type thing.”

The Kits Beach guy arranged a cycling beach picnic a few days later. Ashley wore a summer dress and sandals and borrowed his one-speed cruiser bike.

She was confused when the guy led her further and further west. “I’m thinking, ‘We’re passing all these amazing beaches, where the hell is this guy taking me?”

Soon they were cycling uphill toward UBC, Ashley struggling to keep up with his geared bike, her opinion of him rapidly going downhill. When they reached the top, her dress was soaked in sweat.

Her quads quivering, her date then led her down a series of stairs through the woods to a pristine beach.

“But then I noticed all of these old naked dudes,” Ashley remembered.  

“So he spreads out the picnic blanket and I sit down and I’m admiring the amazing mountain view to my right. When I turn to my left, I get a different view: He suddenly pulls down his pants and underwear and he’s standing there completely naked with his junk right in my face.”

Ashley did not remove her sun dress. “All I was thinking was, ‘You do not take me to Wreck Beach on our first date! This is not appealing to me as a 37-year-old woman! But hey, welcome to Vancouver, Ashley!’”

The guy’s naked ambition didn’t get him very far: Ashley never saw him again.

Ever since, Ashley has continued her dating unabated, always looking for Vancouver’s Mr. Right. She’s been through all the stages: eager and positive to bitter and jaded, but now she says she’s in a good place. “I’m happy! Life is great!”

Her parents are well aware of her quest and Ashley’s dad even swipes through Tinder with her looking for potential matches.

Ashley’s also been fortunate. When I brought up the recent #metoo movement, she told me that while she’s had plenty of lousy, boring, go-nowhere evenings, as well as several romantic ones, on more than 200 dates, she’s never been sexually or physically abused, and has never felt threatened.

“I’m forward and I consider myself a tough, independent and strong woman,” she stated. “I let my dates know that this is who I am and this is what I’m looking for: a potential life partner who shares my interests.”

This columnist happens to know a single Vancouver guy named Colin – a middle-of-the-road, average, normal guy – who’s looking for the same thing as Ashley. They’re going on a date this weekend.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Let’s wish them all the luck, eh?

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