Ex and the city

Dating in a city like London can feel galvanising, chaotic, and alchemising, but most importantly, it’s unlikely that you’ll bump into that toxic ex or hauntingly bad date, right? Perhaps you spent many moments with that not-so-special someone in a Shoreditch Jazz bar, maybe sparks flew in Clapham’s arcade pub, or you shared 360 views of London from a Hackney rooftop bar. When these memories, good or bad, are created and etched into minds, each postcode, street, and venue can become sentimental.

Intimacy, getting shit-faced, hazy sexual encounters, followed by awkward small talk in the morning, only to never see them again – this has become the London routine. But despite London’s size, one thing you might not consider before these moments is that sharing the same interests as someone means you most likely find yourself in similar bars, clubs, cafes or even questionable Camberwell house parties.

Surely London is too big to ever see that Listerine (500ml) carrying Hinge date ever again, or to bump into the ex-girlfriend who left you for that guy who is a lot closer to being 7ft tall than you? Well, sorry to burst your optimistic bubble, but it’s not – and almost having a heart attack after spotting the guy you ghosted or were ghosted by is more likely than you’d expect.

For this reason, we’ve decided to share some of the top London areas our MESA gals and guys should be cautious of (whilst inevitably still hanging out in them).

Balham

This is particularly dangerous postcode if you usually date Caucasians on KPMG graduate schemes. As you continue to shack up with a bunch of Balham beauts, whilst likely bringing shame to your family, this area will become more problematic as time passes; if you’re seen there (especially as an ethnic minority) you will stand out due to the lack of diversity and may come across as a stalker. This is because A) you probably didn’t even know this part of London existed before you went home with your ex and B) aside from aesthetic brunch, there’s not a lot to do around there.

One of our MESAs had the awkward experience of bumping into a previous ex while doing the walk of shame at 8 am in the morning. She then saw him again at a festival later that month, both times she was sweaty, make-up melting off and hair frizzy. The trip to SW12 is not worth it.  

CLAPHAM, AVOID CLAPHAM

As our fellow roadmen would say “it’s bait.” Especially Infernos. Do not enter, you know better than that.

Shoreditch

Ask any young Londoner and they’ll tell you this is where the cool people hang out. You’ve probably been on an edgy date here, maybe mug painting, erotic clay moulding, or something equally weird and wonderful like that. But now, all you can think is “is that Eduardo? Shit, I think that’s Eduardo? Please hide me from Eduardo.” 

Bethnal Green

Vegans mostly reside in this part of London, and if you’ve been on a date with one, this is on your high-risk list. The non-conformists, free-spirited, flower children live here and have surely accompanied you to a vegan fried chicken and chip shop. The vegan fried chicken may have tasted exactly like the real thing, but is it worth riskin’ it for a dairy-free biscuit if it means you’ll accidentally cross paths with Wolfgang again?

Islington 

The classier amongst us tend to arrange their dates around here. It’s where the crème de la crème of baes usually reside, and they’ve probably shown you around a little. With lots of independent restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, this area is a danger zone for those who relish authenticity as well as the finer things in life. Although it’s not super high in our risk list, it’s still a part of London our MESAs should tip-toe around. 

Recently, a MESA saw an ex on the underground around here, and it was nothing less than agonising chitchat, followed by a ‘friendly’ goodbye hug and a dishonest ‘let’s catch up soon.’

Peckham 

Been to that pink place with the views? Or the one right next to it, also with views? Summertime is when ex-seeing season peaks around here, no matter how busy it gets, don’t loudly mention the name of that girl who came back to yours after a Sauvignon-fuelled date and marked your bedsheets with unsightly Bondi Sands fake tan.  

Brixton 

A lot of artsy Vegan types also live here, albeit a less intense breed than the Bethnal Green ones. Their outfits cry Weekday and so does their attitude. It’s not red-alert danger zone, but there is still enough exes in this part of London for us to include it on the ‘be aware’ list. 

Boroughs that are safe thus far…

Tottenham

Although this area is safe for now since the relaunch of White Hart Lane stadium, exes may start appearing here left, right, and centre soon. 

Hammersmith 

If you’ve ever been here on a date that wasn’t a comedy gig at the Apollo, then you need to reconsider your dull life choices. 

Woolwich 

Again, if you’ve agreed to go on a date here, I’m afraid you need to revaluate your choices.

Chiswick

Unless your ex is Ant, Dec, or a married family man, you’ll be safe in Chiswick.

Whilst we can’t influence you to make better dating choices, please Google ‘life coaches in my area’ for such help, we hope we’ve made it a bit easier for you to navigate the Capital with minimal awkward encounters.

Words by Kardelen Yuce, edits by Armani Syed

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