The dating game is a loaded gun – yet this complicated sport becomes more intricate still when abroad. The Insider finds out the do’s and do not’s.
I guess you could say I’m something of an accidental expert at finding love in the hostile trenches of Warsaw’s dating scene. Because after years of perpetual singledom, I managed to meet a man, get married and get pregnant – all within just six months of this very moment! So all those cynics who said I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to men, that I was going about it all wrong, they’re all eating their words. And now they all want to know how I did it, how I managed this modern-day miracle!
Granted, I did have a few issues to sort out before I could seriously embark on a proper man-hunting expedition and the best place to do such a mental clean-up of sorts is at the shrink. Even if you don’t really think you have any issues – I was absolutely convinced that shrinks were for everybody else but me – it never hurts to try and it almost always helps. Quite often we have little things bugging us buried deep inside and those little things can interfere in our personal relationship, especially when dealing with a new member of the opposite sex.
Indeed, after a few sessions, it turned out I had a few issues with trust my subconscious was grappling with and Pani Danuta gently worked me through them. Then came the homework assignment: to go out and talk to as many men as possible and accept as many dates as I was offered. I was appalled at the thought, but I had no choice but to agree. It wasn’t easy at first, but soon enough instead of turning my back when a stranger began chatting me up in front of Plan B or at the coat check at U Kucharzy, I began to respond with a smile, a reply, sometimes even a quip or two. It takes some research, but there are a number of psychologists in Warsaw who are trained in English (for example: Synapsis Group).
The next step was to become more involved in some sort of group activity. I’d been taking Yoga classes for some time, but Yoga’s not typically the place you go to meet and chat so I had to consider other options for socializing. Some of my friends vouch for those red-hot Salsa evenings around the city, but I’m rubbish at dancing and the thought of snuggling up to a sweaty stranger just gives me the heebie-jeebies.
What I was looking for was a nice, civilized setting for meeting a large group of people without any pressure to make a ‘real connection’. That’s why all of those ex-pat professionals groups are great: things like InterNations and Professionals in Warsaw bring together people who are either ex-pats or Poles who have spent a great deal of time abroad and who want to connect with like-minded individuals, not necessarily on a romantic level.
So I got my sidekick Jagoda to join me at some of these meetings and, soon enough, we were surrounded by hordes of thirty-something professionals clamoring to buy us vodka tonics. We made some friendly contacts and were invited to one birthday party, then another, then a chain of events and connections led to me getting introduced to my future husband through a new friend of a new friend. The funniest bit is that I had absolutely no interest in Henri at first: this was no love at first sight. But after a few dinner dates and a romantic day trip to the outskirts of Warsaw, I was taken – hook, line and sinker. Two months later we were living together, four months later we found out we were having a baby and six months later we got hitched on a whim while on vacation in New York. It really doesn’t get more reckless or more romantic than this!
Of course, everyone’s story is different and really the moral of this story is that one just really has to be open to new acquaintances because you never know where they might lead. That annoying guy at the bar may just have an absolutely dashing friend and you won’t know it unless you stay around long enough for him to introduce you. For those who take a more daring approach to dating, Warsaw’s got a lively speed dating scene, which my friend Adam is a huge fan of.
At one of these evenings, you’ve got 18 gents and 18 ladies and five minutes with each member of the other team. At the end of the night, you hand over a slip of paper with the names of the chosen few you might like to see again and presto, if those same people have put you down on their lists you score a phone number. Adam’s already got three dates lined up this week. He gets meeting info on the organizer’s website: only trouble is that the info is only available in Polish so you’ll need the help of a friend to get started if your Polish skills are nil.
Another option is language tandem evenings, which are often advertised on Facebook and Goldenline. These are a more casual way of meeting people to polish up one’s Polish while sharing one’s own expertise in a native language. And of course, the supermarket and the library are always the classic pickup spots for those who are just too shy to strike up a conversation at the bar.
Professionals in Warsaw
Language Tandem Evenings
Speed Dating upolujsingla.pl
Speed Dating www.imprezy-single.pl