Dating in Dublin: Bye For Now

A Trinity student explores the reality of dating in the small city

I grew up in London, where Tinder was deemed to be a quick way to die or a trek out to a suburb you’d never normally go to. I would never previously have dreamed of signing up to a dating app, but when I moved to Dublin I was desperate to meet new people and the pandemic was getting in the way of me finding my Connell Waldron. So I decided to make Tinder my bitch: push notifications on. Things to avoid: tight jeans, GAA sweaters (in the first pic), Coors Light, holding their aunt’s baby, an action sport shot (hurlers’ delight), Trinity College Dublin (don’t shit where you eat).

The tip is to move off the app as quickly as possible. Now I was going on dates at least five nights a week. That’s including all the time spent on serial ghosters and pen pals. We all remember how desperate for human interaction we became during the pandemic. I think that’s why Normal People was so successful during lockdown a perfectly timed insight into what it’s like to connect with someone on a deep level. Dating during the pandemic differed depending on personal levels of comfort, but I personally found myself busy on the app. Submit an essay to Turnitin, straight on to the swiping saga. I wanted to find a really cool, edgy, Prazsky-drinking artsy dude. Turns out those types don’t hang out on Tinder much, even during a pandemic.

Sometimes we would even get to the date in the diary stage. I would spend too long getting ready and drink too much wine, only for them to become unreachable in the hour before meeting. “They must have tested positive,” I told myself. Covid was a bit of a hall pass when it came to dating. I wouldn’t like to use the excuse of catching Covid to avoid a date myself, because that’s bad karma. However, I do sometimes wonder how many of the “caught covid“ texts were truthful… oh to be a fly on the wall. 

(Disclaimer: meeting up outdoors in small groups was all legal at this point, I wasn’t breaking any laws, I promise).

Luckily I wasn’t bold enough to go on dates with many TCD lads. I’m glad I had both some common sense and hope that the pandemic might finally end, in which case I’d be avoiding people I’d matched with in the library for the next three years. I still walk around Dublin, see a familiar face and wonder if it’s someone I matched with. I like to keep myself on my toes.

There is no such thing as ghosting (properly) in Dublin. There is a very high probability that one day, or night, you will bump into said “date” on South William Street or the smoking area of a techno night. 

Two options if and WHEN this happens:

  1. Look beyond

Hold your eye-line just beyond them, in which case they may think you’ve missed them entirely. God forbid they tap you on the shoulder or something. I feel like that’s never happened before, but if it does…RUN!

  1. The “knowing” nod

So you’ve spotted the date and eyes have locked. I always think it’s good to smile and give a knowing nod but only if the sex was good. Otherwise, crack a joke and make them a mate. It’s like “oh yeah we had fun,” and I acknowledge that. It’s common courtesy. I see no point in being rude.

When I’d been on dates in London and they hadn’t worked out, there was a certain grieving period. They went off into the night, probably never to be seen again. You have to go out of your way to see someone again in London. It’s not as easy as running into them in Dunnes. And be prepared for an hour’s trek and a spenny Uber home if the date goes well. You also have to make peace with the fact that if they don’t want to see you again, you probably won’t be seeing them again. Obviously, if they’re in your friend group and you share a local, this doesn’t count.

A phrase I’ve adopted for dating in Dublin is “Bye for Now”: there are endless possibilities of you meeting again. It’s quite difficult to hide in plain sight in Dubs. You see the ghosts of your past on the steps at Pav Friday, or strolling down South William Street. Also, once you’ve found out any information about them, you learn what kind of events they’d be likely to attend. And, hopefully, if you went beyond the initial texting phase, you may have a thing or two in common. 

There are certain variables that need to be kept in mind; sudden death and moving to Australia may disprove my hypothesis. But for the most part I think I’m right: dating in Dublin is a “Bye for Now,” to be almost inevitably followed up with “Hello Again.”