I was born and raised in Vancouver, a true Vancouverite by nature. I drink beer, I play hockey and love the outdoors. I run the seawall, hike the Grouse Grind and never miss a Canucks game if I can help it. I wear jeans and a hoody to my office job (My CEO wears shorts and sandals all year), live and play in Yaletown and you can always find me on a beach or park when it’s nice out.
I’m also cliquey, a little stuck up, too quick to judge and have been told I’m a little unapproachable. I will be guilty of not remembering your name or face until I’ve met you 3 times, not because my memory sucks (although it does) but because I don’t bother trying. Unfortunately, that is the entire culture of Vancouverites as we are seen looking from the outside in.
For those of us lucky enough to be immersed into this environment at an early age, we gain and build solid friendships with those like us. For those who have moved into Vancouver from other cities, even ones in the vicinity like Abbotsford or Victoria, it becomes an almost impossible task to build that foundation of friends, especially if you’re starting fresh with no introductions or ties into any groups. And that’s just with the same sex. It’s even harder with the opposite.
When you look at trying to meet Vancouver women, I find mostly that one of the first things that they’ll ponder is “who do you know.” It’s almost a social status contest, where if you don’t know anybody in this town, it’s like you’re nobody. And if you’re somebody, they’ll date you for just who you are known as, without really caring much or putting much weight on who you actually are. You’ll only meet them if you’re a friend of a friend. Vancouver girls are especially guilty of this in my experience. I have a lot of single girl friends, older (between the ages of 26 and 30) most successful, beautiful, driven and ambitious, knows what they want and aren’t afraid to go get it. But they’re all single. It’s not that they can’t meet guys, they have plenty of suitors knocking on their doors, but then after a little while, all the guys start running, scared. These girls are intimidating. They know their worth and they portray that persona, or even worse, they think they’re something that they’re not and try to portray a false persona. As one of them said to me one time, “I can do everything myself. I pay my own rent, I bought my own BMW, and I work my ass off for everything that I have. I don’t need a man, I just want one.” Now, guys, what do you do when you meet a girl like this? You run. It’s great that you’re independent, and it’s amazing that you are driven and a go-getter. Girl power all the way, woo. The one important piece that you’re forgetting is that Men NEED to be Men. (Ok SOME men do. There will always be the standard deviation.) We like to be needed sometimes, we like it that sometimes, you’re helpless and call us to save you. Let us be the Knight we’ve all grown up hearing about. We like to play that role that we were born to play, so when you start messing around with the dynamics, we get lost and we run. We do this because you will continually remind us that we are not needed, because we see that you will flaunt your independence and self-sustainability in front of our faces. I’m in no means saying to be wholly dependent either, but I know a few girls who completely over-do it. We know that you will continually judge us, talk about us to your girlfriends and complain how there’s no ‘good guys in town’. We know that if there’s a problem, your first reaction will be to fight back and argue to gain your ego as opposed to looking inwards to see what the problem really is. Chivalry isn’t dead, he just high tailed and left because you flaunt your disdain for him.
When a new guy approaches you, your first reaction will be “I not talking to him. He can’t pick me up. I’m not that easy. What a creep. I can’t believe he even had the audacity to say hi to me.” As opposed to “seems like a normal guy, let’s just chat with him to see what kind of person he is.” Most of the time, I talk to random strangers just to incite some sort of human interaction, whether it’s a girl or guy, old or young, I have no interest in dating you, I just want to pass my life on earth interacting with interesting people when I’m out. But Vancouverites seem to think that every interaction is a door to something that they want no part of, even before they know what’s behind that door. My friends just told me a story, that her and her girl friends go out all the time for drinks, dressed to the 9’s. New outfit, new shoes, hair did and all. Then she tells me they go to a lounge in yaletown and just bitch about how there’s no guys around. I asked her “was it all girls in the lounge?” she said “no, but all the guys there look weird so we didn’t bother.” That’s a common response, a common Vancouver answer. Girls if you want to find a decent guy, you’ll need to strike out a few times. Some WILL be weird. I apologize on behalf of the male sex that not many of us are normal, actually, none of us are. But none of you are either, so we’re fair on that one. Not everyone’s for you, but you’ll never know until you step up to bat.
I visited Toronto a few years back, and I was shocked at the difference in culture on the East coast. I was at a club with 3 of my girl friends and we were standing by the bar, bobbing our heads and enjoying the music. They were flanking me, on either side. In Vancouver, you can bet no one would come talk to me, especially other girls. I mean, which Vancouver girl would walk up to one guy with 3 girls? None. But in Toronto, I was approached by multiple people, guys and girls, who had no other ulterior motive than to chat with me, learn about where I was from (apparently I ‘stood and dressed like an out-of-towner’…it was probably my snobby Vancouver attitude.) and just to know another human being. It didn’t matter if I looked weird, and it didn’t matter if they were 5’s or 9’s. It was infinitely refreshing and I’ve tried to bring that attitude back home to Vancouver. The girls weren’t trying to hook up with me and none of the guys were staring me down. It was just a friendly, open and inviting conversation. One of the girls who came up to me eventually pulled her boyfriend over to meet me, and after a conversation around the Canucks and the Leafs, he bought us a round of shots. I was shocked! That’s what being a Canadian is all about, but in Vancouver, we’ve somehow forgotten that Northern hospitality that we’re so greatly known for around the world. I can say that I’ve had similar experiences in Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong and Hawaii and I’d love to see it here at home.
Change has to start somewhere. This is a cultural issue that every Vancouverite is aware of, but yet nobody does anything about. Start the change today. Make a point to talk to a random stranger, young or old, man or woman, if even something as short as saying hello on the skytrain, and maybe in time, we can make a shift in how we interact with each other in this cold, rainy, dark city. We’re alone and locked inside for the majority of the year but wouldn’t it be nice if when we were all together in a social place, that we are actually social? At best, you’ll gain great new friends like I have with my buddys from Abbotsford and Victoria. At worst, you’ll get a weird look. Screw those people anyways. What have you got to lose. Let’s start not sucking.