Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Guys, I'm screwed.

Now that I am single again, after four years of being in a Serious Relationship, I've been asking some of my single girlfriends and work colleagues what it's like out there - in the mean cold world of dating in Glasgow. And well, the consensus is, at least for us "Over 30" ladies: pretty dire. Today, for example, I was talking to a gorgeous and successful 37-year old TV producer and she confirmed my suspicions about Glaswegian dudes, who stated: "They are hopeless; rarely, if ever, will any decent bloke approach you. They are terrified and/ or clueless".


Indeed, Timorous Beastie, commented on my last post: "I'm from Glasgow, and would not recommend attempting to form a meaningful relationship with any man from the west of Scotland, but I'm probably a bit biased. "

Not a glowing endorsement then.

Interestingly, I am in the process of reading The Tears That Made the Clyde: Well-Being in Glasgow, which came highly recommended to me by my friend (and healthcare worker), Claire. In it the author, Carol Craig, looks at Glasgow's many health and social problems and asks why Glasgow has been blighted with such challenges (short answer: deprivation, economic inequalities, industrial collapse; and due to such bleak conditions, sought escapism in drink, drugs and suicide). In Chapter 7, entitled, "Women and Children Last", Craig reflects on women's lives and how they were, historically, marked not just by poverty but by the actions of men more intent on their own pleasures than playing a positive role within their own family. She writes:

In a city where many people lived in such close proximity to others, often without sinks, indoor toilets and bathrooms, these [wash houses] were a godsend, at least for those who could afford to use them.

While there could be something of a pecking order among the women, there was a huge amount of support as well: camaraderie bred by the experience (past or present) of terrible conditions and constant insecurity. Even the families of skilled workers, living in the better tenements, knew that an economic downturn, accident or illness, could destabilise them and they would slide back into appalling slums. In this supportive community, neighbours were continually borrowing from one another...However, even with this support network the lives of poor Glasgow women were hard and exhausting. Household income was low, and often made lower still by men's drinking habits. It was women who had to try and square this circle...

...Men often used their Saturday afternoons to go to football matches. Coupons, betting and gambling became popular. These male pursuits, along with drinking, all cost money which could have been spent on the family....

...I am not suggesting that all Glasgow men were drunks who spent every night propping up a bar, or ignoring their families, but I am suggesting that traditionally there was a strong current in Glasgow which easily swept up men and deposited them in the pub or encouraged them just to suit themselves.

I quote Craig's book at length because it is incredibly interesting to read about the history of Glasgow and how it continues to influence Glaswegians to this day. In fact, when reading about the gender inequalities and hardships that exist(ed), I thought of my Great Poppy, John Neely, who was Glaswegian. My Nanny (Grandmother) has previously told me about growing up with my Great Poppy and how he was stern and would often be down at the pub, after his shift at the prison, where he worked as an officer.

I'm also reminded of my ex-boyfriend and how incredibly selfish he could be at times - more so than your typical North American dude. Or how he would disappear to the pub for hours on end and I, of course, would not be invited. As a Canadian - who, admittedly, doesn't drink a lot - I often found that strange. Back in Toronto, I was always invited out to socialise with my boyfriend's friends and their girlfriends. In Glasgow, I was taken aback at how Paul would tell me that I was not allowed to go to the pub with him and his friends. As an immigrant, I put it down to a cultural difference and indeed, thought he needed his own space to talk about.....whatever dudes talk about when ladies aren't around. However, it was still a point of contention because I *too* wanted to go down to the pub and talk about zombie movies, fart jokes, and whatever else it is that dudes talk about, you know?

So, in short, it seems my worst fears about some (most?) Glaswegian dudes have been confirmed in print: not only are they suspicious of women but also colossally selfish. If we humans are creatures of habit and imprinted with our ancestors tendencies, than I am awfully fearful of even broaching a single date with a Glaswegian dude - especially after reading Chapter 7 of Craig's book. However, in our accelerated times, maybe weegie dudes have evolved? Maybe they realise that today's modern woman demands to be treated with respect and equality and also be emotionally engaged? Then again, after reading Craig's book, I was chilled TO THE CORE at how similar my relationship with my ex was to that of a poor, down-trodden 1950s Glaswegian housewife - and I am a strong modern woman, y'all!

I know so many intelligent, successful, and gorgeous women in their 30s and 40s in Glasgow, who are single: sometimes by choice and sometimes not by choice. When I first moved here, 5 years ago and in my late 20s, I was honestly perplexed as to how and why so many awesome ladies were single and now, well, I kinda understand it? Which is sad, in a way. But then I think of what another female work colleague told me the other day. She said, "nice girls like you, Jen, are quickly snapped up by similarly nice guys".

Here's hoping.


Melaina25 said...

Don't give up! I dated and married an amazing West Coast Scot. They are out there xoxo

Jennifer said...

Yeah, they're out there - AND MARRIED! xx

Liliana said...

Oh dear Jennifer! i hear you! i arrived 10 months ago to Glasgow and i've had my share of scottish men. I'm from Mexico and dating has a completely different meaning here in Glasgow. I'm in shock! i was actually browsing about dates with scottish men and your blog appeared. (It's hilarious by the way, i love it). Thanks for sharing your opinions, I thought i was the only one freaked out by "dates" around here.
Let's hope there are scottish guys who know how to date women.

Jennifer said...

Hi Liliana

Thanks for your comments. It's a bit of a shock, dating in Glasgow, eh?

Emily said...

I moved to Aberdeen and met an awesome guy--and he moved back to Canada with me! I am not saying east coast scots are way better (I would never really advocate dating an aberdonian) But they do exist in Scotland!

David M - lyris1 AT gmail DAWT com said...

Your blog is very interesting to me, because I grew up outside Glasgow but have always looked at it from a culturally distant point of view.

You're quite right when you quote the TV presenter, "They are hopeless; rarely, if ever, will any decent bloke approach you. They are terrified and/ or clueless". I'm a guy and like to think that I'd measure up well enough to whatever criteria women want to judge us by, but this quote seems pretty correct to me. I don't often approach women simply because I don't perceive it to be worth it in the long term. That doesn't mean that the men of Glasgow are necessarily the only "hopeless" ones, though. Perhaps with your different perspective, you should be the one leading by example? I sense that Europe is more advanced than North America when it comes to doing away with gender stereotyping, so I hope you're not holding yourself back because you expect men to approach you a certain way just because they're men.

With respect, I pick up on a certain level on entitlement from your post. Granted, it does sound like you got paired up with a real selfish douche before, but, if you are indeed a "modern woman" and you do "demand to be treated with respect and equality" then you shouldn't expect men to feel obligated to make a move on you just because of your gender. Perhaps I misunderstood.

In any case, I'm glad I'm not the only one to pick up on something rotten with the guy-girl dynamic over here.

Jennifer said...

David, what do you mean by "entitled"? Entitled to assuming that I am deserving of dating a nice, kind, and considerate dude who, if he was interested in me, then should/ would approach me? Well, then yeah, I guess I am entitled.

We're all delicate creatures, terrified of rejection, but I suppose my gripe was - people not pursuing others/ interests because they're scared of the (perceived) reactions.

Unknown said...

If that's the kind of guy you would meet online, then what is a bar for? But then again, I couldn't be happier finding my mate in bbpeoplemeet review and it changed my life forever. For the better, that is. :)