Love In The City That Never Sleeps

By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

When I say that love does exist in this city, it does! While many media outlets espouse stories of how hard it is for singles in New York, they don’t tell you why. People are too focused on things that should not be paramount to building a romantic relationship. For example, any cursory view of the plethora of dating apps shows a laser focus on specific profile statistics and the promise of “being taken care of” by so many.

Folks, not to sound like a geezer (I am only 47, after all), but in my day, before I got married, you could easily find love, or at least a romantic encounter, at local restaurants, bars, pubs, and events. We didn’t need an App. We needed personality, charisma, a killer opening line, or at the very least, a seemingly confident introduction and a reason to believe. That reason could be simple: being attractive, your personality, what you wear, etc. It did not necessitate wealth. It necessitated conviction, which is sorely lacking in today’s generation of dating folks. Maybe lose the App and focus more on who you are rather than what you have and what you spend.

I was at Rosemary’s East in StuyTown a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting at the bar. I watched two different scenarios unfold, which are perfect for my argument. The first was beautiful to watch. A gentleman approaches the bar, sees an attractive woman, and begins a charming, approachable conversation. His attitude was warm, confident (but not overly confident), and amazingly simple. Her response was incredibly warm, kind, and engaging. The two clicked. They then asked the bartender if they could get a table. The last time I saw them, they left hand in hand after dessert.

The second scenario was an App date. It was a disaster from the onset. He clearly wanted a hookup for the night. She wanted Prince Charming. He was anything but. The personal approach often works better than the App one simply because of the nature of human beings. We were never meant to have our love dictated by a bunch of ones and zeroes (binary code used by programmers). This reminds me, folks, stop staring at the blue screen in your hands and spend time investigating real life, especially at a bar, restaurant, or pub. You never know what or who you will find!  

When people talk about the “bad old days” of New York, love is not exactly a word that would be used in conjunction with any conversation about that period. Unless you are talking about loving to loot, pillage, and plunder.

Yet, one of history’s most successful tourism advertising campaigns, “I Love New York,” debuted in the ’70s. The word “LOVE” was everywhere when I was a kid growing up in the Big Apple. We need that to come back. 

Think about this: during one of the most violent and turbulent periods in American history, brands, governments, and municipalities were using the word “LOVE” to try to calm the population. Since it worked back then, my question is, why aren’t brands and governments doing this now? 

Especially in a city as divided and broken as New York. If “LOVE” were used now the way it was then, we might have fewer stabbings in the subway, cars being stolen, etc. Yes, I know how that sounds. However, that doesn’t preclude it from being true. Perhaps if Mayor Wannabe Swagger, Governor Hokum, and City Council “Members” like Little Keithie Powers used this philosophy, many residents wouldn’t hate their guts. Okay, maybe that is going a bit far. People will hate these crooked career politicians no matter what the psychology deployed to reverse it.

I am the consummate romantic. I believe in love at first sight. There is someone out there for everyone. After all, I did ask Kylie to marry me three days after meeting her for the first time. And we’ve been married for over 20 years. What does that tell you?

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kylie. I love you, always and forever.