Chapter 1

Vilnius: crazy dating in a crazy city

People know three things about Vilnius for sure: traffic jams here are insane, the aroma of speedy life pace, expensive perfumes and unrestricted freedom permeates the city air, and the inhabitants of Vilnius are not only keeping up with this insane pace, but also have zero concern about “what will people think” and live so freely, that it is even almost improper to tell about it.

Of course, that is just why I’ll tell you about it. I am Sandra Vilimaitė, a well-known 32-year-old journalist, reviewer and editor, but here I am a narrator of city stories. Once, I was ordained as a Duchess of Vilnius by self-proclaimed Duke Vildaugas of Vilnius; then I pledged to write about Vilnius and its people, because I was born and raised here and I know them best. Vilnius is my beloved (of course, after my spouse), with whom I constantly go on a date. He is my beginning, the city of my heart, flowing within my veins.

Vilnius is a silent witness who watches life stories of the city dwellers everyday. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people fall in love, argue, break up, make love, swear eternal fidelity or share wealth in divorce court. Here ambitions like to overcome the opportunities, therefore, everything seems possible to the residents of Vilnius. People smile a great lot, even if they are more likely to run on the streets than walk. Courageous dreams come true in Vilnius, and sometimes hopes are broken, making the trusting ones disappointed in life – before they discovered its beauty again.

Vilnius is a city where ”sex and city” is not just a name of the series, it’s a promise. This promise undoubtedly always has its price. My acquaintance once got to know  a girl in the club.  When he took her home for the night,  he heard the price of the promise.

“€ 500 for a night,” she said in a laconic manner, but the deal did not happen, because the acquaintance felt cheated. The poor naive lad believed that she really liked him.

Meanwhile, Saulė is a 33-year-old businesswoman who successfully manages an architectural company, is a passionate and active creator of a “sex map”. A couple of years ago, she packed the luggage of her spouse, having paid him his share for the house, and taking their daughter for herself, she kicked him out of her life. Then she said that from now on, she will “fuck everything that moves”. Of course, all of them, without their knowledge and permission, were included in the map.

“Sex is fun when he knows what he is doing, but sex for a higher goal can compensate even ignorance. Of course, just for one night stands,” Saulė laughs while explaining her philosophy.

Saulė loves parties in the city and crazy dates. She does not call herself a romantic, but she likes romance. She is convinced that one of her most romantic dates took place this summer when she wrote to an unknown Tinder match that she would come to Anykščiai, and he should pack some necessary things because they would go swimming. Naked. She did it. Took the guy to Vilnius, and they bathed naked in Šilas lake. Saulė put new checkmark on the map, then brought him home to Anykščiai and blocked him on all social networks. Nojus, a

25-year-old decorator, a resident of Vilnius, my friend, who I call my brother, met his partner, a British man named Thomas, while studying at prestigious London University. They were introduced by common friends, Thomas had to move in as a roommate in a house of Nojus’ buddies, to share lease in London. Nojus at that time was in a live-in relationship with a beautiful woman, but feelings for Thomas fell on him like a hurricane on a clear day and broke many beliefs. Especially about himself. However, Nojus and Thomas went to a “real date” only in Vilnius, of course, in the most expensive city restaurant.

“Romance is to cook dinner together in the evenings,” says Nojus, who is already counting his fifth year of life together with Thomas. They keep living between Vilnius and London.

“Dating and romance are overestimated by people, and marriage is a foolish occupation in these days. Do not take it personally, Sandra, but the divorce stats speak for themselves,” says 36-year-old doctor Beatričė, expressing her opinion on the subject I chose to write about. She loves cold mind, logic and precise cut of the scalpel. Beatričė likes to live alone, watch horror movies before bed, hates children and adores animals. Secretly she hopes to meet a serious, reliable, financially well-off husband, but officially says that they are all extinct.

“The idea of ​​rescuing people after the catastrophes was a romantic one, but in reality, I get good money from women’s low self-esteem,” Beatričė is sceptic about romantics.

The latest experience in her dating was so annoying and anti-romantic that she tends to avoid any dating and seeking of romance for now. At first glance, what seemed like a charming guy, norvegian, instead of “nice to meet You” sent her a photo of his phallus. On the one hand, it is a very clear message, but on the other hand, even for the cold minded, un-romantic Beatričė, it was too much.

Deep in my heart I am a bit romantic, although I’m lying, I am a well-developed romantic. At one time, I myself brought table and chairs, food, drinks and candles on one observational viewpoint in Vilnius, and brought my husband there with his eyes blindfolded. We bathed in the red light of setting Sun. Our love story began almost seven years ago in one of Vilnius’s car parking lots. When I came to visit my friend Martynas, I discovered that he was waiting for some company to show up, and we went out to meet his friend. When we got there, I knocked on a car window, and six years later, I married that guy.

We are all Vilnius people  –  we were born here or arrived sometime, or maybe we are just starting a romance with Vilnius, we are crazy, sometimes weird, or just dumbfounded, churning into eternal circles of endless projects, wanting everything here and now, we still cannot remain indifferent to romance,  however unusual sometimes. Vilnius is a city of romantic and anti-romantic stories, but all these stories are about us.

I know you love me. Hugs and best wishes.

Sandra Vilimaite


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