Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Cardiff, Wales 2

Pin it

"If you talk to a guy here, it doesn’t really matter how you look, he’s just charming and flirty."

Tommy, 28

Where are you from? 
I’m from Cardiff. 

Ah, you don’t have a very strong accent.
I’m from the outskirts, so it’s more of a soft accent.

What’s the biggest misconception about Welsh guys? 
That we’re all rugby-orientated, drink too much beer – all that, really. 

The whole laddish culture? 
Exactly. That’s a part of it, but you’ll find that anywhere in the world. 

How did you and your girlfriend meet? 
We went to school together and we knew each other, but not very well. And then we worked together at a Tesco job, and it just happened, really. We’ve been together about six-and-a-half years now. 

Wow, congratulations. 
Yeah, cheers, man. We’re off to Malta next week for a little holiday and that. 

How did you know it was love? 
You just do. It’s when you can’t stand being apart, I guess. It’s like that person is a part of you. I know everything she thinks, and she knows everything I think. If she’s even slightly pissed off, then I know about it. I think that’s what has made us work so well – the fact that we don’t hold back on anything. 

Does she ever get jealous about your work as a bartender? 
No, no, not at all – she knows she’s the one.

That’s sweet. What’s your idea of a perfect night with her? 
Anything where we can get together and explore, maybe try out different restaurants. She’s a bit of an herbalist, so a lot of the time, we go up and down the Taff Trail looking for different herbs she can pick and make tea out of or cook with. We also like to get out and see the Forest of Dean or different cities and just get lost and find our way around. 

How do you keep the love going after six years? 
So far, it’s just worked for us. I work nights, and she works in the day, so we don’t get to spend that much time together. So absence makes the heart grow fonder? Maybe that’s part of it. But we have different tastes, and we like different things, so she goes her way, and I go mine. 

Does that mean, for you guys, opposites attract? 
In a way, yeah. To a degree, but there has to be that little bit of similarity. 

What’s the nicest thing she’s ever done for you? 
For Valentine’s Day, me and her went to Amsterdam. She got the tickets, and we just went straight out there. 

Just like a spontaneous, “Oh, we’ll just go to Amsterdam today?”
Yep, just gone. We got a little house boat for a couple of days. Got totally lost, totally lost. Checked all the places, saw what was happening.  

I don’t know how to say this in a polite way… but I loved the “excess” of it all. 
Indeed [laughs].

Lily, 22

How long have you lived in Cardiff? 
For almost a year now. I’m originally from Stuttgart.

Are you dating anyone at the moment? 
No, I’ve spent far too much time abroad, so I don’t really want to get involved in anything. I don’t really like dating, so if I go out with guys sometimes, I know it’s a date for them, but I’ll make it clear it’s not. I pay for my own stuff. Otherwise, I find they expect so much more from you. A lot of guys just annoy me. 

How do they annoy you? 
I don’t know. Maybe my expectations are too high, but I don’t like it when they talk about themselves all the time. I mean, I want to have a conversation about me and him. And some guys are too girlish. 

What do you mean by that? 
I’ve met a few guys who are too emotional for me. I don’t know – they’re just too soft. And they really show it off. I can’t handle that – I need a bit of a guy. Later on, it’s fine, because you know each other better and you’re sharing feelings, but in the beginning, it’s really a turn-off.

So how would you break it off, then? 
The thing with me is, I’m quite straightforward with guys. I feel like guys never think about what they’re saying to girls, so I don’t care anymore as well. Especially if I don’t care about the guy, I’ll just confront him and say, “You’re talking shit at the moment.” It’s not nice – I’m rude. I need to change, of course. But if I’m not interested, and I see he wants more, I’ll just say, “Friendship, okay – but nothing more,” and be really honest about it. But guys don’t get it anyway.

Really? They just keep on trying? 
Yeah, I feel like guys don’t accept a “no.” There were a couple of cases where I told a guy, “No, I’m not interested,” and they kept spamming me and stalking me. And doing some really, really weird stuff.

What kind of weird stuff? 
Like texting me all the time. One guy even said he was going to kill himself. And there was no kissing, no touching, nothing. It was just that I wasn’t interested. That was back in Germany. Another guy was spamming me for six months and we only had dinner once. It’s just so inappropriate. 

How do you find British guys, for the most part? 
British guys are easygoing. I really like that. They’re really open and casual – you can just approach them and talk to them, and it’s fine. The area in Stuttgart where I come from, guys are really posh – so they’re really arrogant and very self confident. If you talk to a guy here, it doesn’t really matter how you look, he’s just charming and flirty. 

Another thing about British guys, it’s kind of normal to get it on on the dance floor – you see it so often. It’s like they’re nearly having sex on the dance floor. You see really inappropriate stuff. And in the toilets, you always find someone half naked on the floor. Or like, people really getting it on.

In the toilets? 
In the toilet, on the sofas, everywhere – on the streets. And it’s really interesting. It’s so normal to have sex with so many people, and they talk about it. Here, it’s normal to say, “I’ve slept with a guy last night, and I have no idea what his name was.” You can have sex twenty times a day, if you really wanted it. 

But it depends on the person – I’m not really that kind of person, but it’s good for a single life – for one year – to enjoy everything. But for a whole lifetime? I couldn’t trust guys. I see how they are in the clubs, and I’d be like, “We’re having fun, but not anything more.” It’s really nice for going out, because everyone’s so open, and we just have a party. So there are pros and cons.