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If Paris is the city of love then Wellington is also the city of love. The proof is in the pudding, with pudding being that increasingly rusty bridge on the waterfront, becoming more and more of an eyesore with all the copper-tinged love bleeding from those initialled locks. But hey, love conquers all, even public eyesores, even tetanus.
Are you, dear reader, in love? If yes, good for you, hope you have a rust-contributing lock on that bridge; and if no, you have come to the right page. Many find it difficult to know where to begin searching for love, especially now that Hope Bros is gone. This comprehensive guide will enlighten you not just to who your perfect Wellingtonian is, but where you can hunt them down, how to get them into your life, and if worse comes to worse—where and how to end things. Yes, with this guide you will find that Wellington is full of potential suitors, making our city not just the capital of New Zealand, but the capital of looOOove.
Preparing for love
First and foremost, you must ask yourself: are you ready for love? Consider these questions: do you have good linen? Have you run out of TV shows to watch? Are you sure you’re not just hungry? Have you tried running for President of VUWSA yet? If you answered yes to all of these, then congratulations and commiserations, you are ready for love.
Love is a fickle, tempestuous beast of a thing and it is important that you prepare yourself for the stormiest of conditions. You may find yourself lost in the Botanic Gardens at 3am, or aimlessly looking for somewhere to charge your phone in Aro Valley, perhaps even going as far as Lower Hutt in the search of love. Love will take you all over Wellington, so before you download Tinder, before you write your number on someone’s hand at a gig, and definitely before you ask someone to Salient crossword and chill, make sure you have:
- 1x military standard torch with extra set of batteries
- bread and preferred sandwich fillings
- a topped up Snapper card
- a flint
- an immunity idol from Survivor
- a clean library account with no overdue fines
- an extra pair of underwear.
Once you have all these things, the next question is who to love? This process usually takes several failed relationships and potential loss of friends and strained familial tension over the course of many years, decades even, but thankfully with this handy quiz you can find out who you should fall in love and spend the rest of your life with in a matter of seconds. Approved by Cupid himself, in a few seconds the identity of your lover will be revealed. Good luck. For simplicity, the options have been narrowed down to five main categories—The Complete Stranger, The Hot Barista, The Transitory Dudebro Hipster, The Prefab Yopro, and The Giant Squid At Te Papa. Though these are the main archetypes of potential Wellington lovers, other viable candidates include Entry-Level Alty Girl, Barefoot Acoustic Buskers, and Peter Jackson.
Now that you have discovered who your true love is, read on to find out more about them, and how to get them into your life…
The hot barista
Wellington is known for having the most cafés per capita than anywhere else in the world, making ogling baristas a popular local pastime. So close yet so far away, the café countertop is both a physical and romantic barrier between you and the eye candy that passes you your third environmentally inconsiderate disposable coffee cup of the day. Your friends may tell you otherwise, but you are certain that you are the only one they’ve smiled at today, and that forgetting your order of cold milk on the side is barista code for “I’m fantasising about pettily arguing about what to name our adopted dog.”
Variations on the barista include the librarian (borrowing only erotica novels should be a clear hint), the Moore Wilson’s employee (have we not all considered seducing a Moore Wilson’s employee to help sustain a financially crippling pastry addiction?), and the tattooed waiter who works at a certain Bresolin Brothers establishment (oh, you’ll know when you see them…).
Your most frequented caffeinated watering hole. That’s why you frequent it the most, right? Everyone knows all coffee tastes the same and you’re just pretending otherwise. Different cafes have different baristas and surely in the sea of Wellington cafés there’s one just right for you—the Midnight barista is for someone who doesn’t mind yelling entire conversations, the Customs barista is perfect for those who are looking for a relationship purely for Instagram purposes, while a lover from a Mojo or Starbucks is great for people who are looking for something to point to when they get accused of being pretentious.
- When the barista asks if you want the usual, say no. Instead, order five long blacks.
- Sit at a table alone surrounded by your five long blacks. Write the name of the Friends character you think you are most like on your forehead. Write on each coffee the remaining characters.
- Start re-enacting scenes from the show, putting on different voices for each character, wiggling the coffee when someone is “talking”.
- Do this every day until the barista knows what your new usual order is, and they start calling you by your Friends name. This is barista code for “I love you”.
- Dramatically smash all the long blacks and say to the barista, “you’re my smelly cat”. The barista will then leap over the coffee machine and into your arms, followed by the most disgusting act of PDA Wellington has ever seen.
The transitioning dudebro hipster
The Transitory Dudebro is a mystery both to others and to themselves, a poetic hybrid of opposing cultures, stuck in limbo between dudebro and pretentious wanker. They’re wearing a droopy t-shirt with a different coloured pocket, but they’re also growing out a curly moustache. Their summer plans have for the first time switched from Rhythm and Vines to Laneway. They want to play Xbox, but they also want to watch a Wong Kar Wai movie. They love hitting up MishMosh, but they wish the DJ would put some Mac Demarco on. VB or Garage Project? Oh, the torment. In this difficult transitory journey of self-discovery, perhaps it is actually love that they are seeking.
Weather plays a big part in where Transitory Dudebros can be observed. In sunny weather, they flock to the outdoor seating area of Fidel’s, where faux-retro sunglasses and six panels come together over a Snickers milkshake, adding a sense of childishness to their mixing pot of mistaken identities. In poorer weather, they can be found on Cuba Street, walking exasperatedly back and forth between Hallensteins and Cosmic, driven mad with indecision over whether they should spend their weekly Studylink on a vape or on another striped t-shirt.
- It’s impossible to tell whether the Transitory Dudebro will make a full transition to entry-level hipster, retreat back to full-blown Double Brown dudebro, or forever remain a complicated, tortured mix of the two. It is important you mentally prepare for any one of these outcomes.
- Once you have internally readied yourself, find a spot near a Transitory Dudebro and sit down, placing a rugby ball and a Thomas Pynchon novel in front of you.
- The target should sniff these objects out and approach you.
- While they mimic the motions of someone watching a Wimbledon game, flicking between the literature and the sports, they will begin to feel confused, then vulnerable, and may even start crying.
- Step in and comfort the confused soul. They should then form an immediate attachment to you by confusing you for their mother.
The giant squid at Te Papa
To be a Wellingtonian by definition you must have had some sort of romantic affair with the giant squid at Te Papa. The giant squid is a generous and exotic lover who is not just giant in size, but giant in its propensity for love, having had many different lovers over the course of its lifetime. Whenever you see strangers smiling at each other in the streets of Wellington, it is because they are sharing mutual acknowledgement of their relationship with the giant squid.
The giant squid at Te Papa can be found at Te Papa.
- Go to display and languorously rub your face against the plastic between you and the giant squid. This will notify the giant squid of your intentions and here the courtship ritual begins.
- If the giant squid does NOT appear at the foot of your bed the following night, then they have accepted you as a suitor and you can proceed to step 3. If the giant squid DOES appear at the foot of your bed, unfortunately you have been rejected by the cephalopod and you must move to Hamilton immediately.
- Go to any Wellington dining establishment that serves calamari and order every single item on the menu except for the calamari, as a sign of respect for the giant squid’s majestic species. Keep the receipt.
- Return to Te Papa and ceremoniously burn the receipt over the giant squid, repeating the incantation “Five of pentacles, Squidward Tentacles, burgundy spectacles”.
- Observe the colour change in the pile of ashes. If it turns purple, then congratulations, you have successfully courted the giant squid of Te Papa. If any other colour, you have just been hexed for eternity. Such is the risk one takes for love.
The complete stranger
You walk past them in the street, you peek in their shopping basket at the supermarket, you may even accidentally follow them home, but you will have never spoken to them in your life. Yes, the Complete Stranger is the Wellingtonian you currently know absolutely nothing about, but you’re pretty sure is 100% perfect for you. Strangers are the largest group of Wellingtonians and the most diverse, with the only prerequisite being that neither party knows the other. Often one will not even know of the other’s existence—very romantic. Strangers are a popular potential for love as their ambiguity makes it especially easy for a plethora of expectations and fantasies to be projected onto them.
The Stranger is the most geographically versatile of the four Welllingtonians and can be found in almost all public places—studies have found that the less you frequent a place, the more likely you will meet a Stranger. Popular places to meet Strangers include Briscoes on Taranaki Street, the pasta aisle of New World Metro, and online. It is often difficult to approach Strangers due to societal norms, so spontaneous marriage proposals to incredibly attractive members of the public you walk past in the street are unfortunately off the table, no matter how cute your children Viöla and Pimrod would be.
- Match with someone on Tinder.
- Go on your first date, confuse it with a job interview and spend the time talking about your strengths (always make it to the office on time) and your weaknesses (not very good at refilling staplers).
- Don’t talk to them for two weeks, during which time at least one of the parties must shave their head.
- Throw a baby-less baby shower, critiquing the socially constructed and archaic notion that one needs to be expecting a child to have a baby shower while also having all your guests think about fertility, ovaries, vaginal tearing and placenta the entire night (very erotic).
- Invite them to your baby shower, talk to them for about 10 minutes the entire night.
- Let your face blindness set in, forget what they look like completely and walk around Wellington continuously in fear that any member of their sex aged 8–80 is them.
The Prefab yopro
Fresh out of the squalor of student life, the Prefab Yopro is a confident, arrogant lover, high off their newfound ability to order something more than just cabinet food at weekend brunch. However, they are also generous lovers; students often envy other students who have a Yopro in their life, who regale stories of being treated to not just coffee but actual meals at Olive, and unimaginable luxuries like using both indoor heating and the dryer. While the Prefab Yopro is often criticised for having income instead of a personality, whoever is doing the criticising is obviously just jealous that their partner didn’t get them the new pink iPhone as an anniversary present.
As namesake suggests, Prefab is the top hotbed of Prefab Yopros. You will find them inside obnoxiously asking for their food to be reheated and pretending to know about different types of wines, laughing about conference meetings and whatnot. Other locales include any restaurant that has just opened in the past month, the fresh section of Moore Wilson’s (never the bulk) and inside an apartment better than yours.
- Go to Prefab and make eye contact with desired Yopro. Do a bit of yodelling as you make eye contact to ensure that they’ve noticed you.
- Tell a member of the waitstaff to send a glass of water to the target Yopro, your shout.
- When the glass of water arrives at their table, wink at them, repeat previous yodelling performance.
- The Yopro will be charmed by your gesture but also see an opportunity to flaunt their positive bank balance.
- Join the Yopro at their table and allow them to bore you to tears but also enjoy the free lunch. Talk about wallets, coffee machines and gym memberships.
- Continue a relationship based purely on financial benefits and gifts, feeling slightly empty inside but very well dressed and well fed.
- When the Yopro buys you a Karen Walker ring, the relationship is fully cemented.
Alternative forms of love
For those who are wary of other humans (and for good reason), Wellington also offers a cornucopia of alternative sources for love. With three central city locations, Burger King is an excellent option. If truth lies at the bottom of a well, love lies at the bottom of a 12-pack of chicken nuggets. If you’re of the vegan/vegetarian persuasion (and let’s face it, if you’re living in Wellington you probably are), the weekly Sunday farmers’ markets on Willis and at the waterfront offer opportunities for you to meet your perfect courgette. An option for both herbivores and omnivores is Dominoes, with $5 pizzas a surprisingly under-utilised source of love. On top of love, $5 pizzas are also a route to inner peace, higher consciousness and physical perfection. Finally, we cannot forget the ultimate temple of salvation for lonely souls, the City Gallery. As everyone knows, modern art solves everything and the Wellington art scene is definitely not a complete joke, so take a trip to the hallowed halls, suck in the art, soothe the soul and go home with culturally-injected post-coital satisfaction.
Bye bye love
So you may have found someone to throw your affection upon, but, of course, the only real way to maintain the illusion that you have met The One is to not actually make any form of contact with them. If this is too late for you and you went down the path of “getting to know them” and perhaps even succeeding in “falling in love”, what’s next? Get bored and dump them of course. Or if you prefer, slowly lose interest in them and let the relationship slowly and painfully disintegrate by itself over the course of weeks, months, years, because you just can’t bring yourself to confront anything.
Luckily for you, not only is Wellington the perfect place to fall in love, it is also the perfect place to dump someone. Zealandia is a very popular breakup destination, with the sound of native New Zealand birds able to muffle your now ex-lover’s crying, a benefit also offered by the Wellington State Highway if you prefer a more urban soundtrack.
If you are after a quick getaway, why not take the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens? Offer to buy them their ticket, but secretly you only buy them a one-way while you get a return. At the top, sadly break the news to them that you have found someone who has better hair—someone who actually has hair—and due to these irreconcilable differences, things are over. When they attempt to get back onto the cable car, smugly point out their lack of return ticket, hop on to the cable car yourself, and watch them get smaller and smaller as you ride back down to Lambton Quay, maybe even doing a bit of shopping before going home.
So now you have all the information, you need to go out and find the love of your life. In this world of over seven billion people, it is certain that the one true love of your life just so happens to be located within a few kilometres of you, they are about the same age as you, are devastatingly good-looking and completely out of your league (but will think the exact same of you), will be loved by your parents and friends, have a cute dog, a beautiful, warm apartment, excellent hair, a professional masseuse, will smell fantastic, and be on first name terms with both members of the Flight of the Conchords. Yes, the love of your life definitely exists, and they’re just eagerly waiting for you somewhere in Wellington—so wait no more, top up your Snapper card and go meet them.