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European Meat Markets
by Stirred Up!
2007-05-27 10:16:53
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Singles never had it so good: meeting places for them have popped up all over the continent. You know what we're talking about: those posey social scenes in every city where we go to see and be seen, to show off how important we are and how much we earn, hoping that the night will end in a drunken hook-up: good, old-fashioned meat markets. Here's our take on Brussels and London, Europe’s sleaziest cities!



The circuit begins on Wednesday when jeunes cadres dynamiques (young, upwardly mobile professionals) and pretentious European civil servants meet at Place du Chatelain in Ixelles, a large plaza with “bohemian bourgeois” restaurants around it, Jean-Claude van Damme's gym and a chi-chi fruit-and-veg market open late, where you can buy strawberries in winter for the price of a Rolex (poshly served by pale-skinned guys called Baudoin). Of course the bar to be seen at is called Le Chatelain (how original).


On Thursday it's almost the weekend, and it's party time: the crowd is at @Seven, at the Mirano on Chaussée de Louvain. Selection here is rife. You must be a member to book a place and to get in, with a yellow, pink or black card. It's the 7-to-2 concept in Brussels: people come directly from work in their Hugo Boss suits, BlackBerry and files under their arm, accompanied by cute (male or female) assistants (read, EU stagiaires). People eat and drink, and there are well-known DJs. Of course it is the same crowd as Place du Chatelain on Wednesday!


Friday is time for Happy Hour at Place Lux (Place du Luxembourg, just in front of the European Parliament). It's a large square with bars around it and a statue in the middle (no one knows who it is). The bar to be seen at is Ralph's: very small with a heated patio in winter, decent tapas and a lot of guys from the Commission who strut around with their badges, just in case you didn't guess by their looks that they are public servants. And Friday is a total fashion show: the girls have had time to go home and to put on… practically nothing. For each drink you order between 6 and 7pm, you get another one free. That lets lushes get completely sloshed by 7:30. The guys are good looking, and it’s the same crowd as Wednesday and Thursday!

At least Place Lux gives you choice: Ralph's for uptight eurocrats and pretentious high-finance types. The Grapevine has the same types, but more laid-back. O'Farrel's is a dirty elephants’ graveyard. Fat Boys has all the other types, especially the rugby players. Otherwise there is Living Room, on Chaussée de Charleroi, where they organise themed parties for single people: speed dating, lock & key parties, etc. You always end up meeting complete losers. No glam there, avoid at all costs.

And what about that all too common species prowling the Brussels scene, the married man? Married men go to Ralph's on Friday, followed by Jeux d'Hiver, possibly the snobbiest club in the world and populated with a posh crowd and a fair share of Z-list celebrities. Going out with a married man from the Commission is a rite of passage on the circuit. Many have “entente cordiales” with their wives, and it is ok to go wild with your friends on Friday night as long as breakfast is spent with the children on Saturday morning. Wives do not seem to bother as long as the money rolls in. It’s called “avoir une copine” (having a girlfriend), and, after age 38, it seems like every Commission bureaucrat goes on the prowl. A Commissioner is hard to get, but a Chef de Cabinet is easy at Ralph’s and Jeux.


Swinging London pales in comparison to the narrow-minded focus on hooking up in Brussels. Still, the European finance capital has a sizeable American expat contingent that constantly brings from New York the very latest in dating and mating sophistication: hurry dating, natural selection dating, art gallery dating, dating in the dark, the list goes on. Perhaps surprisingly for a nation with such a poor reputation for romance, many new trends are home grown. Key to this is the incredible segmentation of the London meat market, with people seeking to meet those just like them.

Broadgate Circle is London’s Friday night meat market, where ‘gold diggers’ flirt outrageously in search of that elusive catch, the London City banker. A proper gold digger knows the difference between a Boxster and a Carrera from a mile and can sort the Associates from the Vice-Presidents. Competition for the fattest bonuses is stiff, and the end of the year heralds the opening of the season. The relocation of many City firms has shifted London’s centre of gold-digging activity: Liverpool Street’s Corney & Barrows has become a hangout for (relatively) low-paid fund managers, and the smart crowd has moved to Canary Wharf for investment bankers and to Mayfair for hedge fund workers.

Gay London

For London gay singles, Gaydar has brought meat markets into the 21st Century. Established in 1999, it boasts millions of members. Just like Brussels is a provincial outpost and London is Europe’s capital of finance, London-based Gaydar is in fact more commodities trading platform than meat market, and as sophisticated as the London Stock Exchange. Selection is key, and guests and members are invited to search through endless criteria, including postcode, ethnicity, physical endowment and sexual preferences. Lately a built-in calendar has allowed worldwide travellers to synchronise their agenda and to hook up with Brazilian hunks on a shopping escapade to New York.

Offline, gay London has seen the rise of professionals’ networks: attendance is so high that three chapters have been created: finance (Interbank in Canary Wharf), professionals (Village Drinks) and a new one for politics and the civil service (Politico).

Straight London

In line with the British open approach to multiculturalism, dating sites aimed at very narrow groups have been all the rage, something that would seem odd on the continent. The most popular are restricted to Jewish singles (www.totallyjewish.com) and to the Asian community (www.asianfaces.co.uk).

The latest and very popular addition to the dating scene has been www.mysinglefriend.com, which lets your friends do the talking, just like in high school. All it takes is a best friend to upload a flattering description. This has proved very popular with Londoners, sick of self-elevating classifieds. When it comes to dating, our friends just know better. Just like many sites and venues in London, My Single Friend caters for both straight and gay singles.

Of course, the mother of all UK dating websites remains www.friendsreunited.co.uk, which boasts 18 million members. While catching up with old school friends was the original purpose, the opportunity to catch up with that hottie from school has fuelled the phenomenal success of the site. In fact, so many men and women have run away with their long-lost sweethearts that the website is blamed for the surge in divorce rates in the UK over the past few years.

Married London

As in Brussels, there is no shortage of options for the married types, both male and female. Rooted in British pragmatism, new websites take the view that a successful affair should always take place between consenting adults who both have much to lose from disclosure. As such, new sites are for married people only. Ashley Madison, the US import, boasts 13,000 members in the UK, while meet2cheat.co.uk, illicitencounters.com and philanderers.com have all been successful. Sadly, like in Brussels, they report a shortage of married women, and an oversupply of men in their forties.

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Isabelle2008-09-11 21:54:06
These are all fine websites, however I recently stumbled upon a bilingual Eng/Spanish website that caters to married adults. The website is very discreet with the use of pictures. You can upload photos and videos and share them with other users with password protection. The name of the website is www.scapadasamorosas.com which in spanish means loving escapes..Most of the users are from Mexico, South American and Spain, which fits me to a T as I travel to those places quite often..Maybe I will see you at their chat..By the way ladies, we get FREE membership..

FindNewPassion.com2010-06-26 21:36:03
Is it realistic to make a promise “I will love you until death do us part”? Famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy who is considered an expert in understanding human feelings and relationships between people in general and man and woman in specific, in his novella “The Kreutzer Sonata” said: “To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live”.

Are you married, but not dead? Interested in discreet married dating? Welcome to FindNewPassion.com - premiere dating website for married and singles. Join free - thousands of members around the world are waiting for you.


dsfgfhfn2011-01-26 07:27:13
tiffany and co

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