There are too many great things about the HBO series Girls, the foremost being its creator Lena Dunham. She brings twentysomething women's personal, professional and dating lives to the spotlight in a true to life format, without overplaying any grating "real women" cliches. She also gives a frank two-fingered salute to the flawed He's Just Not That Into You school of relationship pseudo-empowerment, creating a male lead (Adam) who moves from hopeless sex fling to committed boyfriend. Ha.
In real life, Lena is vocal about being unsure about the dating game and relationships in your twenties. In a recent interview for GQ she said:
Positive, healthy, loving relationships in your twenties...I think they're the exception, not the norm. People are either playing house really aggressively because they're scared of what an uncertain time it is, or they're avoiding commitment altogether.
But date she must. So, if she was my best friend and happened to live in Dalston - the obvious twin to her beloved Brooklyn - this is where I'd send her:
1. Look Mum No Hands: This Shoreditch café combines several loves of the East London creative set: bikes, great coffee and house beer. However, it's comparatively commercial enough to safely accommodate a more preppy date (like Sandy), lacking the rougher edge of Dalston caffeine shacks.
Girls twin: Café Grumpy, Greenpoint.
2. Dalston Superstore: This is a two floor ersatz dive bar that's perfect for casual, beer-swilling dating (Two Hackney Gold ales, please). Throw in some dirty burgers and, all things going well, stick around till a club night springs up around you.
Girls twin: Bushwick Country Club, Bushwick.
3. The Broadway Bookshop: An independent bookshop in Broadway Market, this is a romantic Saturday stop once you've eaten the street food and sipped the Climpson coffee. Leaf through the books in the back room, discuss, make out.
Girls twin: Spoonbill and Sugartown Booksellers, Willilamsburg.