My friend, who is a Canadian and has lived in several European countries, says Prague is doomed. He claims that nowhere else in the world he found it so difficult to find a girlfriend. True enough, he is good looking, interesting and great fun, yet he is alone. And we both know quite a few people like that – people who, objectively speaking, should have no difficulties finding a partner but they are wandering the streets of, allegedly, the most romantic city in the world alone and their lives are shared with no one.
My friend and I have talked about this phenomenon a lot but have not come to any conclusion. There is one motif though that reappears in our discussions – the kind of people Prague attracts.
In Prague there are many foreigners, a lot more than in other Czech towns or cities and therefore lots of cultures and mentalities that move around, touch, hit, collide with or pass by each other like balls on a billiard table. To come across one that will pull you towards itself and will make you stay side by side has therefore become like a lottery with the chance of winning one in a million. Also, people come here for all kinds of reasons and for different lengths of time, sometimes with a clear end, sometimes not even knowing when they will be leaving again. I guess this might be an off putting factor to many. Usually you don’t start digging a well if you don’t think you will ever drink the water and therefore you rather turn on the tap… It might not be as good and fresh but it will quench the worst thirst and it’s effortless.
Besides, apart from people who come here out of convenience – Prague has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, amazing 2% – the city does appeal to souls who are like Prague itself – bruised, recovering, a little restless, artistic; with a past that bears the most beautiful flowers like Oscar Wilde’s rose made of blood of the little nightingale’s heart, they are people looking for their place in the world like Franz Kafka himself was. These struggles are lonely battles; we must win them ourselves before the peace comes and we can settle down, so…
Ironically, Prague is the city which witnesses so many weddings and proposals. On my tours, quite a few girls have showed me a brand new ring with a small diamond on their fingers, the brides come out of the Old Town hall every day and newlyweds add to the charm of Prague castle and its gardens as if paid for promoting the sight. Oh, by the way, the vast majority of them are not Czechs or even foreigners living in Prague, as if our local loves happened elsewhere.
Oh, I’m sure this is not true for everyone. I also know couples here and one was even happy for a good few years! But it is strange – when I was living in Brno for example, the second biggest city in this country, I was dating. There I met one boyfriend at a party and the relationship lasted for years. Another partner I met at a language school and it was again a long term relationship. In Prague I’m attending classes, going to art events, I’m among people most of the time and all I have encountered in ten years were people interested in tap water. I don’t know if Prague is doomed or not but I’m living there and the first man who has made me interested is – in Mexico City. Surprised? I’m not. Long live love in Prague!