why cities are like men

I was debating on whether or not to post something for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t want to post anything sappy or corny or too lovey-dovey as that wouldn’t quite fit well with the blog. Then I realised I could write about this: why cities are like men.


This analogy is based on something a friend said once in passing. Recently, I was asked about why I felt the need to write the short story 10 Days in Paris. Since the person asking was not satisfied with my initial answer of “I just had to,” I promised them I’d come up with a better explanation. Surprisingly, as I wrote, I realised that I had come up with a blog entry using a line my friend once said: “Cities are like men.” 

Just about every girl has had an “ultimate crush.” He’s that guy that is really handsome, the right amount of mysterious, nice smile, and seems really sweet. As you watch in admiration, you begin to imagine what it would be like to date him. You imagine what he’ll say, what you’ll do, the things you have in common… Then you go on a date and realise that yes he is nice, and smart, and wonderful, but there’s something missing. There’s no chemistry, or not enough.

The same goes for cities. You can have that “ultimate crush.” It’s that city that has all the museums you’re curious to see, food you’d like to try, and a culture you’d like to immerse yourself in. You finally get to that city and yes the museums are great, yes activities are fun, yes the food is delicious, and yes the culture is what you thought it would be, but something is amiss. Like the guy you dated, there is no chemistry.

Some cities, on the other hand, like some men, are places you have unexpected chemistry with. The people, the food, the sites, everything just opens itself up to you. With almost no explanation, you walk down a street for the first time and feel so at home, like you’ve walked down that street 100 times before.

Here’s the clincher: when you leave, you feel your heart break a little. No, not because you’re going home and it’s the end of a vacation, but because you are leaving a part of yourself, a part that belongs in that city, and so it is hard to say goodbye.

When you come across a city that opens itself to you, a city that takes you in and romances you, gives you a hug each day, inspires you, makes you feel special; when you come across a city that you just can’t say goodbye to, then you’ve found a city you can live in, or should live in for some time. Just to see how it goes. You never know. That may be the city you’re meant to be with.

Snapshots of Paris

I know this isn’t the typical Valentine’s Day post, but I figured a little food for thought on Valentine’s isn’t a bad thing. After all, we’re still on the subject of falling in love.

“When something is tugging at your heart, follow it. Because it won’t stop tugging.

And no one can live with constant tugging.”

– @javanillajames


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