One Man's Struggle To Find Love In Perth
Ever since I took the plunge and moved to Australia, I've had to deal with a lot of things, but nothing prepared me for the toughest of all: meeting girls in this city in the middle of nowhere, 2,500 kilometers away from the next big city. I am talking about Perth, the capital and largest city of Western Australia, a tiny dot next to a vast desert land right on the Indian Ocean. The original plan was to maintain a long-distance relationship, but after a few months and a couple of misunderstood Facebook likes, I was loveless and back on the market. Trouble was the game in Perth had new rules."I began to wonder if my lack of a six-pack played any importance in a land where everyone is ridiculously fit."
Well, let me start with the basic problem: the lack of bars. New York might be the city that never sleeps, but Perth is the city that goes to sleep early. Because everything pretty much shuts by 10 p.m. on weekdays, which makes nightlife a bit meek. Perth still has many elements that remind me of a village rather than a city. In Perth, girls seem scared and lacking the experience to flirt with a man, probably because of this isolation (OK, sure, Honolulu is more isolated, but come on) and lack of world travel.
In a place with more than 1.5 million people, it has never felt harder to meet women. I met a bunch of cute girls when I worked on a fashion project the first month I arrived here, only to realise that all three were married. All three girls dated "FIFO" workers in mines, meaning their man flies in and out every third week to work in the mining industry. Most of the girls over the age of 23 seemed to be married. I'd tried to talk to a few girls here and there, but did not even receive a smile in return. I began to wonder if my lack of a six-pack played any importance in a land where everyone is ridiculously fit.
I asked one of my mates where I should hang out. "Well, first of all, you are 29 and single. I mean, what is wrong with you?" was his reply. And although back home, being a single guy in his late 20s is totally normal, here it is rare. He let me in on a little secret: "The only single ones are the divorced ones. Aim for late 30s, and you are in the money." He was right. I soon found out that the place could rightfully be called Cougarville. A few bars, no more than four, are the typical hangouts of such women.
After briefly dating a 31-year-old I met at one of them -- recently divorced and ridiculously hot -- I was back on the market once again. The reason it did not work out was simply because I had no experience with divorcées and single mums. So I decided I needed to change the field, and decided to head to the beach. The annual roster of Australian hotties that Victoria’s Secret drafts convinced me that there had to be a myriad of pretty girls hanging out by the sea. "Don’t even bother talking to them, mate," my friend warned me. "They are not into that." He knew what he was talking about. At the end of the summer, I had no new female romance.
After months of literally no successful flirting I got desperate. And then it hit me: They are all into internet dating. Yes, Perth is the No. 1 town in Australia with subscribed users on dating sites. A 35-year-old receptionist I met told me she loves it, a 25-year-old waitress and pole-dancing instructor even told me that she prefers if someone first talks to her online. Well, at first I struggled. When many of the profiles I saw read, "I only read magazines" and "books are a waste of time," I thought I had nothing in common with anyone. But after a few days, I actually got hits. And even went out with one of them, a cute Irish 25-year-old. "Why the hell does a girl like you need internet dating?" was my first question. "I don’t know. Everybody does, I guess."
I can’t forget the words that pole-dancing instructor told me, while looking at me with her dreamy eyes: "What do you mean, where do I meet guys? I finish work and go home and chat with a dozen of them on the internet. But going out with them? I don’t know… It is a bit scary." What scared her face-to-face disappeared through the computer screen. That was the secret of Perth girls. Yes, Perth is in the middle of nowhere, but ultimately it is pretty difficult to be entirely isolated anywhere in the world in 2013. The game of love was always a tough one. In Perth I just had to change the field to internet dating to keep playing.