New York City. The concrete jungle. The city that never sleeps. The city filled with museums, culture, art, and a beautiful park, all crammed on a tiny little island. 

For those of us that live within the five boroughs of Manhattan, we are every day entertained with the excitement of being able to live in a city that, just like its name states, is all about the new. New restaurants, new bars, and new shops are opening up so fast, that we cannot even keep track.

There is always a new hotspot to be seen at, a new food to tasted, and a new club to get drunk at. Perhaps that is why the city never sleeps. We are too interested in trying everything, and keeping up that we somehow lose the ability, or even willingness, of taking a break and going to bed.

The same goes for relationships. You always hear people grunt and groan about how impossible it is to date in the city. At first, I thought they were insane. There are over 3 million people cramped into this tiny little island. I am sure there is someone to hold a connection, even a conversation, with.

But as my residency extended here, I soon realized that we are also in competition with 3 million other people. Just like that frozen yogurt shop in the East Village, we are soon going to be overlooked by a better, newer, more athletic with better hair yogurt shop opening up directly across the street.

We are now fighting for the chance to survive. To outlast, outwit, and outsmart our competitor. Sometimes we succeed and business flows as normal, while other times, we are cleaning out shop and putting a “Going out of Business” sign in our window.

Why is this the case? It’s not like this in other areas of the country – even in other cities. There is something appealing about keeping up with the Joneses that every New Yorker seems to do. Everyone has to try the fried duck at this little UWS stand. Everyone needs to get access to the new lounge opened by some rap star. Everything about New York is a status symbol, and when it comes to matters of the heart, most people’s status symbol is single.

We go on dates with people we meet out, through a friend, or even online in the privacy of our 10ft by 10ft studio apartments. We have an amazing time, but just like the UWS duck shack, we are soon forgotten about and our pursuer is now pursuing someone else. Someone funnier, more attractive, richer, or even, someone who lives closer.

It seems we can never win. We, as dating animals trying to survive in this concrete jungle, will stop at nothing to be noticed. We go on these first dates, knowing that we have to be on top of our game, because one tiny misstep, one small mistake, and we are out of the game. They have already moved on, because they can.

Maybe somewhere like Lincoln, Nebraska, there aren’t that many funny, witty, handsome, and smart men, so you stand out above the rest. But, in New York?  Ha! New York was created by the funny, witty, handsome, and smart men. If you don’t have exactly what they are looking for, they know they can find it somewhere else.

Just like the yogurt shop. If you do not have Crème Brule flavored frozen yogurt, I bet you the shop across the street has it. And I bet it’s really delicious.

So, in a city, so competitive like New York, where everyone is out in search for the next best thing, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is the grass really greener on the other side?