When you're dating in Toronto in your 20s, there are a handful of universal characters you're bound to run into, and you may even get attached before you know it.
These canon events will mark up your decade like footnotes in the chapters of your life. Or at least, that's what they did for me as a woman dating in the city.
At 22, you date the 30-something who thinks you're mature for your age, and at 23, you'll encounter the fake woke feminist who swears they understand intersectional feminism.
Whether you're using dating apps like Hinge or Tinder or locking eyes with a stranger at the bar, these romantic tropes will follow you throughout your 20s like a bad case of mono jumping from lips to lips, year after year.
I've watched my friends fall for finance bros and baddies who yearn for validation through their careers and let their billable hours destroy their social lives. On the other hand, I've been the workaholic who reschedules and cancels dates at the drop of the hat.
No one is perfect, and we all have our catch-22 when it comes to dating. So let's get this out of the way. If you haven't dated one of these tropes – you may be one of them.
Maybe you're emotionally unavailable and work on Bay Street, or you're a free spirit on Queen West who's too busy jet-setting to hold down a monogamous relationship. And that might work for some people, although each type comes with some obvious challenges to finding a more long-term relationship.
If you're dating in Toronto in your 20s, here are five people you're bound to date.
The one who's looking for a tour guide
Everyone has to start somewhere, and there's no better way to discover a new city than to date a local.
This person just freshly moved to Toronto, and they've got stars in their eyes and the world on a string.
The CN Tower is still a novel concept, they're dying to go to the AGO and desperately need a restaurant recommendation for when their mom visits.
This love interest is harmless, but you may notice they aren't keen to commit as they survey the field and their options. But they will keep you around for recommendations and to have someone as a steady partner to do fun activities with.
I'd say this is one of the best people to date in Toronto because you get to fall in love with the city all over again through fresh eyes.
Do your duty as a seasoned Torontonian and give them a proper introduction to the city but be prepared to release them back into the wild once they've acclimated.
The jet setter who is rarely in town
The view from a plane window.
Right person, wrong timezone.
This person is perfect for you on paper. They are chalk full of charisma, they're ambitious, sexy and wickedly funny, but they never stay in town long enough for it to actually go anywhere.
Chances are they have multiple cities in their Instagram bio and are always trotting around the globe for work or pleasure.
When they're in town, you have passionate nights and talk until three 3 a.m., but good luck getting another date on the books. This person will float in and out of your life like a cool summer breeze, and you either have to roll with the weather of their schedule or break it off.
Chances are they're seeing multiple people in every city, but you may pretend otherwise, and I support your right to be delulu.
Just remember, if they can't commit to a city or apartment, they probably won't commit to you.
Two champagne glasses.
Ahh, the vampires of youth desperate to relive their glory days.
Now this one is slightly more gender-specific. However, I do recognize all genders can be cougars.
This 30-something single will swoop into your life in your early 20s with a flashy career, some money to burn and the promise of emotional maturity and stability.
Only you're too young to realize that the reason they date down in age is probably because they can't keep up with their own age demographic.
Chances are they'll feed you lines like "You are so mature for your age," or "I didn't realize you were so young."
On the odd chance you really are mature a decade beyond your years, it's probably just trauma you need to work out in therapy, not by getting sweaty with an oldie.
Now, some age gap relationships are totally above board and based on mutual interests and respect, but you can sniff out a youth vampire based on how big of a deal they make about your age gap.
Do they act shocked by your age and pretend to hesitate to progress the relationship while throwing you lines like "I'm too old for you" while actively pursuing you?
Are they putting down your peers and saying you're just so "different" from people your own age?
The one who's super into their career
This boss bro or babe is so into their career that dating is effectively on the back burner.
You'll get nice dinners when they can fit you into their teeming schedule, and you'll know all about their quarterly reports and projects, but they won't know a thing about you.
Chances are you see this love interest in the wee hours of the night after happy hour with their colleagues, but those plans are never set in advance, just through an ominous "You around?" after 10 p.m.
If you have a busy schedule, this calendar hopscotch may fit into your own chaotic life, but if you're looking for someone who's going to memorize your Starbucks order, look elsewhere.
The fake woke bloke
Bloke or not, this love interest probably took one feminist theory class in college and ran with it.
If they're a dude, chances are they'll repost empowering messages on Instagram and lecture you on feminist theory, but they'll throw a tantrum if you don't hook up with them on a date and ask if they can "Just go down on you?"
Dating in Toronto is all that you make it, and jokes aside, there are thousands of complex and incredible people you'll meet.
You just have to get through these five first.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.