My room-mate, a Kiwi, just moved from Hualien to Taipei, and asked me where he could find a girlfriend?
What kind of girl, I asked. He said a ‘down-to-earth, nice girl.”
So here is my Top 10 list of pickup joints around town where my room-mate and other single foreign guys are most likely to find a girlfriend (preferably sooner rather than 6 months later, right, just to hold hands) like in other parts of Taiwan.
1. Language Exchange Partners on Tealit.com:
Everyone knows this is — unofficially — a dating service. There are many a story about foreigners who find mates through this site. There are several great things about this — it’s a good, neutral way to meet people. In the worse-case scenario, you will improve your Chinese… and if things hot up, great, right?
2. In The Streets/Metro:
Just open your eyes, look around at who’s looking at you, be as friendly as they are. People here are incredibly friendly, and the girls are often on the lookout, hunt even, for a foreign boyfriend. A smile leads to conversation, that leads to the number exchange, and voila, you have a date. Easy as pie. Even my room-mate said he’s met several chicks like this.
3. Where You Work:
This happens so often it’s cliché. For the ever-present foreign teacher, your buxiban/cram school is always a hotbed of dating activity. Plus, you have something else on your side, it’s not such a taboo to date a co-worker – “office romances” — as it is in some places in the West. In a Chinese Valentine’s poll, Taiwanese were asked where they thought they’d meet their mate. The number one answer was “IN THE WORKPLACE.”
4. 24-hour Eslite Bookstore on Tunhua Road:
Known as a great place to meet a special someone, especially good if you want an intelligent mate. You can read books and casually run into other people – people who read books for pleasure, which seems rare here in Greater China. There’s a café that’s a good place to scope things out, and just hang out in front – it’s a very social place to be.
5. Where all the cool foreigners hang out, like Bliss, Maybe, Underworld, Velvet Underground:
This is a good place for my room-mate, since he likes foreign chicks, too. Bliss has closed now, but the ladies that hang out at these places – Taiwanese and foreign – are particularly cool. You might know them already! Or meet them through your friends.
But if you’re in a rush —
6. Carnegie’s, or Carnageries as I like to call it:
The girls are dancing on the bar for you, for godsake; or heaven forbid if you are super-desperate…..
(“Suxy” I hate this place), where for an expensive cover charge you can meet a whole warehouse full of chicks; or
8. Any exclusive club with an expensive cover charge.
There are no rave parties anymore since they cracked down on party drugs in Taiwan, so the nightlife — and dance music scenes — are a lot more tame and sedate these days. Try someplace intimate, but cultured, like jazzy Sappho de Base. NB: A hotel bar is supposed to always be a good bet.
9. Go to a music festival!
Attend a cultural or music event — like Peacefest, or Spring Scream — where there are loads of all kinds of babes, many of them interesting, somewhat wholesome and down-to-earth. my room-mate’s interested in music, so this is a good place for him. I would also recommend meeting someone cultured at an art opening, a film festival like Urban Nomad, a play, or anyplace where you are also following your personal interests, and are therefore likely to meet someone with common interests. One of my last romantic interests met someone new in his diving class, at the swimming pool… bloody Yellow Fever…!
10. Online dating /social networking sites:
I’m out of that loop, but all the normal ones….
— Photos and text by Trista di Genova, for The Wild East