Terminally single? Here's what's wrong with you

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      At 32, Sofi Teleky has long, strong legs that an Arabian mare would envy, plush brown hair, toned everything, and a lilting accent from her native Hungary. She also owns an e-commerce business that sends her to Europe for months at a time. In her spare hours, she puts her smouldering looks to use as an actor; recently, she played a sexy maid in a short film. She’s smart, hot, accomplished, and on her own. Yes, boys. She’s still single. And, she said, it’s all your fault.

      “Sometimes I see a cute guy in the lineup at Starbucks,” Teleky, who lives in Delta, told the Georgia Straight in a recent phone interview. “I’ll smile and look, and look away, and flirt, and he’ll never approach me. Guys here have no testicles. That’s a huge problem. But women can also be really hard on men. Especially the attractive ones.”

      It’s no new revelation that Vancouver is a tough place to meet a mate, or even date. The Straight interviewed several singles who, like Teleky, have looked for love for a decade or longer with little success. Also like Teleky, they are lust winners overseas but love losers here. Is it their problem or the Lower Mainland’s?

      Statistically speaking, Vancouver’s never-married, separated, divorced, and widowed folk represent 58 percent of the population, or 293,320 people, according to Statistics Canada. That’s a significant sea in which to miss finding a fish. Other Canadian cities are comparable: Toronto has 53 percent single folk; Edmonton 55 percent; Montreal 66 percent; and Victoria a whopping 70 percent.

      But flummoxed singles still blame this city for their personal romantic drought.

      Sarah Jones, for example, is a 34-year-old paramedic from North Vancouver who’s just returned from three months in Argentina and Brazil. A breakup 18 months ago left her raw, she told the Straight. And she’s not looking for a husband quite yet. She said she’s not emotionally ready for a partner again. But the South American men easily coaxed out her inner vixen.

      “They’re fabulous,” she gushed. “They have no problem telling you how they feel and if they want you and what they want to do with you.” At first, she admitted, the aggressiveness turned her off. But, she said, she soon realized that it was far more lighthearted than the attention she gets in Vancouver. Here, she said, if a guy asks for a phone number, it’s a huge deal for him. “Down there, it’s like, ”˜I like you. Let me take you for dinner.’ ”

      Describing himself as “super single”, TV production designer Tink (who goes by that name alone) also has trouble with Vancouver. He’s attracted to men and women he describes as “interesting, out-there people”. As a model, he found them in London, Barcelona, and Rome, he told the Straight. As a filmmaker, he found them in New York. As a designer, he found them in Tokyo. He just doesn’t find them here.

      “In a city like L.A. or Tokyo, you’ve got people at the top of what they do creatively, and it’s satisfying. There’s a buzz. I have tons of friends I love dearly in Vancouver. But someone that sparks me? I don’t have that.”

      The city isn’t the problem, according to Diederik Wolsak, the founder of the Choose Again Center for Attitudinal Healing. Instead, it’s that so many singles look outside themselves for what’s missing inside.

      “There’s six billion victims on the planet,” Wolsak told the Straight. “Your job is not to make someone else happy, and their job is not to make you happy. Your job is to fall in love with you, and my job is to fall in love with me. And we are madly in love with each other doing that.”

      Most folks, Wolsak explained, don’t have a clue what they want in a relationship. And when they’re in one, they don’t know what the purpose of it is. To him, it’s simple: love is happiness; “it’s more fun than anything you can imagine.” He suggested this, like the concept of Namaste—the divine in me greets the divine in you— is a spiritual-relationship theme that extends across faiths and time: the Upanishads, Buddha, and so on. Young people, he said, have an easier time grasping the concept of intrinsic worth, as do First Nations people. It’s older people and white people, he said, who struggle with it the most. To build a worthwhile relationship, Wolsak said, everyone must start with the idea that they’re intrinsically valuable—apart from the size of their paycheque or the firmness of their buns—and that those they are dating are intrinsically valuable as well.

      That’s not a local problem, Wolsak explained; that’s a western-world challenge.

      However, lifestyle coach Ronald Lee said Vancouver’s vibe is indeed an impediment to love. His dating-coaching service works hard to give locals the social skills they need to talk to the opposite sex—a simple platform that’s frequently missing, he told the Straight during an interview in a West Broadway coffee shop.

      “In Vancouver, we’re looking for someone to take care of us,” he said, noting that many women are looking for wealth, and men for a mommy figure. “We’re screening harder because we think we’re entitled to more.”

      At the same time, he explained, there’s a dangerous stasis in the city. Generally, no one is working as hard as the Edmontonians or Torontonians to meet each other. Vancouver guys, he said, will memorize scripts before hitting the bar, or put on a he-man act for the evening; women, on the other hand, will dress poorly and reject everyone without giving them a chance.

      Asha Gill, 41, doesn’t have much patience for Vancouver’s shallow dating scene, so she’s single. After a marriage that ended in divorce six years ago and mad dating afterward, she’s narrowed her relationship search to reflect her experience. She doesn’t have a checklist of qualities, such as romance or cash, so many of her same-age girlfriends screen for, she said. Lasting love, she’s discovered, is really about good day-to-day communication, being understood, and seeking to understand.

      “Being loved by a partner and having that kind of loving exchange, nothing can touch that in terms of how it makes you feel,” Gill told the Straight, explaining why she’s still looking for love. “You can be happy on your own. And I am. But nothing can touch that feeling.”

      As for Teleky, she’s not looking for love anymore. Raised behind the Iron Curtain on a literary diet of Jane Austen and the Brontí«s, she once had a heart full of romantic fantasy. Now, as an adult, she’s given up on the Prince Charming dream; at the same time, she’s also given up on romance.

      “No one dreams of a really dependable man who has maybe lost his hair or is short,” she said. “Everyone wants a Mr. Darcy.”

      In a city where Teleky said she has trouble finding even a decent conversation, she’s stuck in no-man land.



      Stella Layner

      Feb 12, 2009 at 2:27pm

      Thanks for the great article regarding singles in Vancouver. I think it is debatable wether or not the sngle life in Vancouver is up to par with that of overseas.
      I have met many a single attractive men in Vancouver. I think Vancouver women have a lot of unrealistic expectations from men. Sure, in Brazil or Hungary men see what they want and taketh. That is their culture. So, if that is what you need in a man....move there! Oh, and just a little hint...no woman who is that beautiful should compare her legs to an "Arabian Mare". Not a good image:(


      Feb 13, 2009 at 2:34pm

      There is a lot of truth in what I read here about the unrealistic expectations of singles. As a man on the "wrong" side of 50 I have given equal opportunity to dating women of my own age only to find a lot of neurotic behaviour bordering on all out mental illness. Now I only seek women under 40 and am pleased with the results. I've worked really hard to stay fit and am cultured and well travelled which leads me to make some startling observations about the ageism which permeates our unsophisticated city. In South America I was hit on several times by travelling 20 somethings from Europe and Mexico. Same thing in Asia (and none of them were pros..you dirty minded lech).
      I think girls here mostly find older men repugnant because of their junk food built bodies but also because of the crass boorish way Canadian men signal their interest in younger women. If you're finding it difficult to connect with people here then it's probably because you haven't done anything to broaden your horizons....like travelling outside of packaged tours, volunteering with socially conscious organizations, becoming an avid culture vulture or just plain rethinking your criteria for relationship bliss.
      Sofi..if you read this drop me a line at biggerthanbothofus@gmail.com

      I won't bite but I might nibble a little.


      Feb 14, 2009 at 2:08pm

      Great article. I think the advice offered by Wolsak and Lee is on the money. Although I no longer live in Vancouver, much of the article's contents also applies to my current locale of Victoria, where the dating scene is also fairly difficult.

      As for the woman quoted in the article, I have to say that if I encountered her in a Starbucks, I would not assume she was single. Even worse, I find the caucasian women in vancouver to be arrogant and unfriendly. The asian and east indian women in the city are among the most fun, kind and down to earth people you can meet anywhere, but asking a white woman the time of day carries a risk comparable to smacking a hungry tiger in the rump with a pork chop. It's simply not worth the bother to approach women in casual settings, if the odds are good that you are just going to get treated like a fly in someone's ointment. Far better to get involved in the community by volunteering, taking dance classes (etc). You stand a much better chance of making friends (and therefore relationship partners) in that manner.


      Feb 17, 2009 at 3:42pm

      Enjoyed this article. Having a number of single friends trying to meet people, I have to shake my head as to why people put barriers up when it comes to just talking to someone new. Either there's too much judgement or too much paranoia; maybe both. I wish there were more open conversation without expectations on either side. For those of my friends who tell me they have trouble meeting people even through work and the community, I recommend they travel outside the country for some relief from the oppressive stress of it all.


      Feb 18, 2009 at 9:30pm

      As someone who works in an industry full of young, highly educated and predominately single young men, the most common complain I hear is that women in Vancouver treat men who flirt with them as essentially perverted; that they are made to feel guilty simply by striking up a conversation with a young woman that they are attracted to.

      I have no idea how widespread this feeling is (I am not single and have only been living in the city for six months), but I'm surprised how many young men I work with who have bluntly said that they're either leaving or considering leaving the city because they just can't meet any women here.

      For some reason, I get the feeling that there isn't so much a shortage of young singles, but perhaps young people (under 35?). Anyhow, interested article!


      Apr 21, 2009 at 6:53pm

      There is much more to life than "dating" and the seduction ideas of Lee and his peers. Most dating coaches in Vancouver are young unattached guys with limited life experience. Perhaps the many singles in town should look to new sources for help.


      May 9, 2009 at 9:27pm

      It's a good read for sure. Vancouver is a tough crowd. Lots of beautiful people but there is a block. It's that, attitute problem. It's a perception of attitude by the sounds of it. If you see someone beautiful, you automatically think they are out of your league. It's natural to think that way. I say, use the internet and straight.com singles adverts. Why not? I would.
      -- I'm not the most intelligent, but I always have an opinion. My current project: <a href="http://www.refurbishednetbooks.net/">Refurbished Netbooks</a>


      Jun 1, 2009 at 10:45am

      vancouver lacks beautiful people most are average at best, I know this having lived in Socal and south beach . if there is an article posted on this you know something is up. There is even a documentary called no fun city about how bad it is here I have the trailer on my computer


      Jan 6, 2010 at 12:38am

      i've lived her for all my life and i think there are a lot of superficial people in vancouver..girls are after rich guys who drive expensive cars and guys are so consumed with hair transplant and working out, it's pathetic. maybe that's why i loved the movie "Avatar" cuz a guy with crippled legs had the potential to be a hero while that buff cocky old guy died..


      Feb 10, 2010 at 12:50pm

      I'm from a smallish prairie city and it's hard to relate to this article. Out here, people tend to get hitched up young, so it can be really tough to find a decent single person past age 30 or so. The people profiled in the article sound very fit, well-healed, wealthy, successful, and high-maintenance.

      The problem is more the person they see in the mirror. If they "got out there" a bit more, they'd have no major troubles. Just enjoy people. If you find someone who’s fun, nice-looking and good-hearted, then it’s probably a decent match.

      StevenM and freewilly's posting are very telling....