Single and ready to mingle: how to navigate Tel Aviv's nightlife while single

Written by
Sol Gruffy

Every day, young people from all over Israel migrate from their safe homes to single bedroom apartments, with old beds, smelly refrigerators, and dreams of forming a punk band with a female drummer to keep them warm at night. But the biggest dream of all – as represented through generations of pop culture from "Annie Hall" to "Sex and the City" – is to fall in love in the big city...or at least gain a fair amount of sexual experience that you can, some day, fondly recall to your frightened looking grandson. Today, it seems as though the opportunities for meeting people are endless; the bars magically appear in every corner of the city like baby cockroaches, dating apps dominate the Smartphones of every self-respecting 8-year-old, and Facebook has long since redefined what was once called "self-representation," whereby hitting on someone now merely constitutes "liking" one of their selfies-with-a-cat pics.

But alas, some would say that Tinder and other dating apps seem to keep us farther away from each other. Personally, I miss the good old 90's, when you could ditch remedial math class just to hang out at Dizengoff Center and get to know your future boyfriend in a soft metal band poster store. So I decided to take one for the team and go out on an investigation on the scandalous streets of Tel Aviv grilling innocent single bystanders about their most embarrassing dating stories, and their favorite dating apps. As backup, I took Kayla and Jenny with me (my co-workers and confidantes) and as weapons, we carried with us a camera, tape recorder, and the attitude of the investigative journalists that we are.

We went to the most hipster bars in the city – just because we love being humiliated when people reject us with nonchalance. After we begged some bearded men to answer our pressing questions about love, and got half a dismissive glance as a response, I decided to use my well-known charm, which included shouting into someone's ear and pushing him into the corner with a threatening look. Finally, we found some nice, single people who agreed to reveal their deepest secrets and strongest moves. The fact that they were a little drunk and looked like they regretted everything the moment after the picture was taken did not stop us from writing this important document before you. After all, as investigative journalists, it is our duty to give the people what they want.

Name: Shay Yermiyahu
Age: 23
Spotted at: Beit HaPsanter
Occupation: Nightlife & party promoter
Dating Apps?  No. I never had one.
How would you usually hit on a girl? Buy her a chaser.
Has anyone ever hit on you?  Yes, of course.
Best/most embarrassing dating story in Tel Aviv:
One time, a friend told me to wish a happy birthday to some girl at a club we were in. He claimed she was his cousin, but she wasn’t really – she was not good looking to say the least. I went to wish her a happy birthday, and when I realized he was making fun of me, it was too late. She aggressively pulled me back to her and I couldn’t get away. I've actually never been on a real date before and I'm not planning to. I just recently got out of a long-term relationship and I don’t want anything serious, I just want to enjoy myself (don't need a girl for that).

Name: Guy Shamir

Age: 27
Spotted at: Hoodna
Occupation: Student and internet marketing freelancer
Dating Apps? Tinder, OKcupid, and Bumble. I think the Internet is an amazing tool, but I believe that Tinder has lost its functionality. I have no problem getting to know my future wife on a dating app, but even if you're serious, you lose interest very quickly – you just swipe and go on.
How would you usually hit on a girl? It depends on the situation. I don’t have a pickup line or anything. I used to do it more often, but it's kind of embarrassing. Now I'm trying to get back into it (You go Glenn Coco).
Has anyone ever hit on you?  I feel like girls never hit on guys, at least not on me, so I’d like to believe it’s the same for everyone (perhaps you should meet Shay).
Best/most embarrassing dating story in Tel Aviv:
I once met a really uninteresting girl and just waited for the date to end, I only stayed out of politeness. It was just terrible and embarrassing; we talked about things I really hate, mainly about university and professors. At the end of the date, I paid for my own beer and left. I don’t feel like I'm always obligated to pay for the girl. To my surprise she tried to talk to me later, I think it's mainly because when one side is less interested, it makes the other one curious.
Ami (right) and a fascinated bystander

Name: Ami Friedman

Age: 35
Spotted at: Rokoko
Occupation: Culture writer at Ynet online magazine
Dating Apps? Tinder
How would you usually hit on a girl? I don’t like to approach girls I don’t know, I should at least know them from Facebook or from friends.
Best/most embarrassing dating story in Tel Aviv:
It's not an embarrassing story, but I have a really good one. It was about 10 years ago, and I was a bit depressed at this point in my life. It was when I went to university, and I  was invited to a house party where I met a girl named Yaeli. We immediately hit it off and just talked all night, but when I left I didn't take her phone number. After that, for years, it always felt like a missed opportunity. A few years later, Facebook became popular and once every few years I would type her name in the search engine, but never find her. Not long ago, I matched with someone on Tinder and we went on a date at Beit Maariv, and had a fun evening. A few days later, it suddenly hit me! I texted her: I know this is a strange question, but by any chance were you at this house party 10 years ago? And it was her! I finally found Yaeli after 10 years of looking for her.(You have to marry her!) We haven’t met since, but we like each other on Facebook from time to time
Indeed, a classic end to a modern love story.

Name: Shiri Klein Nahari

Age: 28
Spotted at: Rokoko
Occupation: Kindergarten teacher
Dating Apps? For now I'm sick of apps, I'd rather meet a guy in real life.
How would you usually hit on a guy? I'm quite talkative and flirty, and sometimes send a friend to find out what the situation is.
Best/most embarrassing dating story in Tel Aviv:
I matched with this guy on OKcupid, and had a nice conversation, but all of his pictures were of one side of his face, which made me a bit suspicious. We met for a date at a bar, and when I arrived and saw him from afar, my first reaction was uh-oh. Let's just say he had a good reason not to show his whole face. But I was trying to get over it, and telling myself that he might be a really lovely guy. We entered the bar, but he said it was too crowded for him so we had to leave, we went to another place, but it was too noisy for him, and then all throughout the night he dragged me from one place to another (until one was jusssst right).
When we finally found a place to his liking (that was super remote), he started talking about himself and didn't stop for a minute. I felt like I was in a ridiculous movie, in the midst of the worst date of my life, and kept trying to find a way to escape. After an hour or so, I said I had to get up really early, so we left. A few steps later he just grabbed me in the middle of the street and gave me the most repulsive kiss I've ever had! With tongue everywhere. I shuddered with disbelief and just ran like the wind. The next day he sent me a message that he couldn’t wait to see me again. When I politely dismissed him, he got crazy upset that I didn't have the “decency” to tell him my decision during the date.
This is what dreams are made of.

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