29 May 2024
Dating in the city: Finding that one percent
Community Dating Expat Dating Lifestyle

Dating in the city: Finding that one percent

You dancin’? Sassy Stockholm single gal Claire Duffy on compatibility, internet dating and the importance of finding someone with whom you want a sultry slow dance!


Well, things fizzled out with lovely French guy. I texted almost a week after our second date to suggest a movie that evening, he replied saying he had plans but how about the following week. I said sure, but it’s now been more than a week with no further texts, so I guess that’s that. I had responded to Swedish guy who kayaks to say that fika sounded great, how about Wednesday? He didn’t reply until Thursday, said he had been out of town and was I free Monday. I said sure… and never heard from him again.

Then, to complete the disappointing trifecta, I met another Swedish guy – who actually also kayaks – most of them do in fact, I need to think of another identifier – for a beer the following Friday. He initially seemed a pretty okay guy, interesting enough to chat to, but definitely no spark from my end. We were in one of my favourite SoFo (South of Folkungagatan, ed’s note)  bars that often plays pretty good bluesy music. As we chatted casually, a rather sexy song came on. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it conjures images of slow dancing on a sultry night in New Orleans or somewhere, not talking, just staring into one another’s eyes as we move slowly in our own little world.

Maybe the guy is about to ship off to war… okay, maybe I’m getting carried away.

All the same, it hit me how little I wanted to slow dance in New Orleans, or anywhere for that matter, with the guy I was with. I made my excuses and went to join some friends in a nearby bar, suddenly feeling rather fed up and downhearted about the whole thing.

“What you have to remember”, my lovely French guy friend told me (different lovely French guy, obviously, I really must get better at these monikers), “is that 99% of the people in the world don’t want to sleep with you.”

“Oi,” I muttered, all offended.

“Why not?”

“Not you,” he clarified.

“It’s true of everyone in the world. For every person that does want to sleep with us, there’s vastly more that don’t. You just have to focus on finding the few that do.”

The more I thought about it, the more liberating the idea was. A sort of less offensive variation on the ‘he’s just not that into you’ idea that was trendy a few years ago (seriously, who on earth doesn’t know, deep down, when someone isn’t into them? If we want to pretend a bit to soften the blow, it’s none of some nosy American’s business). For one thing, 1% of all the people in the world, is a lot of people.

If a significant percentage of them are to be found in the Greater Stockholm area, things could get a bit lively.


Secondly, accepting the statistical rarity of meeting someone who is in my 1% and finding that I’m also in his, keeps all the times it doesn’t work out in perspective.

Perhaps I should have shared that insight with SoFo Bar Guy. When I announced I was off, his face fell a bit. I had a fleeting spark of guilt, before reminding myself that one beer for a first meeting is perfectly reasonable – even when I’m interested I think I first date should be short and sweet. When he left the bar with a curt ‘see you’ (not just the way all Swedish people sound curt to English-speaking ears sometimes; actually stroppy) and sent a rather huffy text to say that he thought he was good at reading when he had a connection with someone, but “obviously not”, I was quite relieved I hadn’t wasted more of my evening on him.

Dating is brutal dude; expecting more than you get from an hour’s acquaintance isn’t on, in my book.

The short and sharpness of it all is in fact one of the things I particularly like about internet dating. For the first week or two, I was determined to reply to everyone who messaged me and agreed to meet all but any obvious creeps: what’s the point of this if I don’t open my mind and meet some men I might not otherwise? However, I quickly found that if I stuck to that I would have very little time for anything else, so after the first flush of ‘woo it’s fun messaging 23 guys!’ I became rather more discerning.

A by-product of this is that, because I know that I’m being so swift to judge it’s not really personal, when a guy doesn’t reply or drops contact I don’t bother to worry about why, as I might if we met through friends or something.

It’s quite freeing to cheerfully assume we’re not in each other’s 1% and move on.


Claire Duffy


Claire is a writer and filmmaker originally from Scotland who moved to Stockholm in 2011 for no particular reason.  She is fond of snow, pickled things and very tall men, so it’s working out very well so far. 


1 Comment

  • Gail Thomas 2 Jul 2013

    You’re very brave. I have only briefly glanced at online dating. With instant cold feet I quickly backed away! Keep on, keeping on. He’s out there.

    Hope you’re doing well!


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