I moved to Victoria 14 years ago.  I was barely 30, and filled with excitement and exuberance about my new life on the West coast.  I had a fantastic job, as well as a world of possibilities, waiting for me.  I had heard about Victoria’s nickname, home of “the newly wed and nearly dead”, but really, could it be that bad?

In short, yes, it is that bad. 

You see, I had always assumed that by the time I was in my 40’s (hell, even my 30’s!), I would have met my life partner and would be experiencing all the challenges and joys of married life.  Nothing was happening for me in Ontario (I didn’t like my job, and all my friends married or in relationships), so I decided on a change.  Now, 14 years later, I have finally decided that dating in Victoria is not good for me emotionally and, frankly, is simply a futile endeavour.

People tell me the stats, and they vary from 7 women to every man, to as high as 13 women to every man – I’m not sure which is closer to the truth, but the available pool of desirable men in Victoria is very, very small.  Victoria is not like a major city, where there are scads of eligible men to choose from.  We have a smallish population of about 350,000 people, and even a smaller town mentality.  A large portion of that 350,000 residents are retired.  A significant portion of them are women.  Then you take out the married men.  Subtract those with mental illness or who are homeless.   Are you getting my drift?  Now we will weed out those that are just barely out of a failed marriage or carry other similar (and often emotionally crippling) baggage, and that leaves a very small number indeed.  Any desirable men that do become single don’t stay single for long – the window is miniscule before they are plucked up by some saavy single gal with her newly-single seeking radar on high alert. 

When first in Victoria, I tried online dating.  This consisted of a parade of newly separated men, desperate single fathers, and much older men looking for a younger woman.  I spent a number of coffee dates in which I realized soon after my first sip that we were completely not compatible, and that I could be at home with a good book and a glass of wine – actually enjoying myself.  So, I was left with the option of scalding my tongue on a hot coffee and bolting, or spending upwards of 2 to 3 hours listening to a stranger talk about themselves, while asking me absolutely nothing about me.   Since then, I decided I would only meet potential dates the” old fashioned way” by either running into them somewhere or getting introduced by a friend.  Unfortunately, all my friends announced, “I know some single guys, but none that I could, in good conscience, introduce you to!”

1SpongeBob NoPants

I have had a handful of dates in my time in Victoria (post-online dating), all of which have ended disastrously.  The most recent was a guy I had been friends with for nearly 10 years.  I mistakenly thought we had started dating (after all, friendship is supposed to be a great basis, right?), so was shocked to find out he had driven up to Tofino with the intentions of doing the “dance with no pants”  with some other woman after spending the previous three weekends with me.  Charming.  And now you’re back, and will leave it up to me if we can still be friends?  Hell NO Douchebag!  My friends don’t treat me with such disrespect and indifference.

Prior to that was an older man, nearly 50, with an air of success, charm, and confidence.  The charming facade quickly crumbled when I voiced needing some time away from him, yellingand he not only behaved in a violent manner toward me (that included shouting, expletives, belittling, and dumping me at the ferry with my bike in pieces), he also managed to steal a noteworthy sum of money from me.  It took me an entire year through small claims court to get it back (and let me tell you, the staff at the Victoria Courthouse are not very friendly or helpful!). In the end I prevailed, but it was a tumultuous, stressful year, and a very hard lesson to learn. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! 

Let’s go back one more shall we?  This seemingly normal gent had a modest little home, a regular job, and a fantastic family, whom I spent a lovely Christmas with before getting dumped shortly thereafter.  Apparently, after six months together, and a few holidays spent in the bosom of his family, he declared that despite the fact that “I was the closest thing he might ever find to a perfect mate”, there was really no chemistry after all.  Oh, and he’d slept with a man when he was younger.  Ahem, say what?

imagesRandom dates haven’t been any kinder.  There was the fellow who rhapsodized over his ex-wife the entire time we were out on a date.  Yes, yes, she sounds wonderful.  No, no, I didn’t know she was a gardening goddess.   Then, there was the fellow that cried the entire time because his relationship with his parents was so damaged.  Fortunately, I had a lot of Kleenex.  In the retelling, he has been dubbed “the Sobber”.    

 

And there was the date where I showed up to find him already seated and partway through his drink.  I had to go in an order my own, and then on rejoining him, the conversation took a creepy turn where he started explaining that underage porn wasn’t always a terrible thing.     I left so quickly that I forgot to pay for my drink, and had to go back the next day to rectify the latter mistake (my first was showing up).  The Italian Bakery was very appreciative of my honesty. 

I have spoken with women in Victoria that range from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, and I hear the same thing over and over – there are no datable men in Victoria.  Many choose to leave and move elsewhere in hopes of meeting a potential mate, and who can blame them?  We are hard-wired to want companionship and a partner in life.  Any men that seem half-way acceptable from a dating standpoint show little to no regard for how they treat women, because for every one they are out on a date with, there are at least 4 others that they could call to fill in the slot. 

Even a male friend of mine looks at me like I have grown a second head when I voice that having a relationship would be nice.  He just cannot wrap his head around the idea that anyone would want a relationship – his opinion is that if you want companionship, you call your friends.  If you want intimacy, you have sex with someone.  End of story.   Pretty depressing isn’t it ladies?

As a result, I no longer date in Victoria.  I suspect that if I do meet someone, it will be elsewhere in the world where attitudes and behaviours do not play out in such a harsh and careless fashion as they do in Victoria. 

** A special thanks to Google Images, James VanderBeek (you’re much more bad ass now that you’re off the Creek), and Sponge Bob for letting me use their likeness to infuse a little humour into another kind of serious post!  Giddyup!