A Response to Toronto Life’s Urban Diplomat About Dating Someone From Mississauga
Toronto Life's esteemed Urban Diplomat recently delivered a satisfying verbal (well, textual) smack down to an east side Tinder-er with a troubling case of "416 snobbery."
A reader wrote the following:
"I recently matched with a guy on Tinder who seemed perfect. He described himself as a "proud Toronto boy," and we spent hours messaging about our favourite neighbourhoods and sharing TTC gripes. On our first date, he was charming and funny, but when I suggested we go back to his place, he dropped this bomb: though he works downtown, he actually lives in Mississauga. He never lied, but I feel misled, and it seems like a huge red flag. Am I wrong?"
The Diplomat -- who helps city dwellers address all manner of first world ills -- told the writer that she (assuming she is indeed a she) was "feigning offence at his suburban bait and switch to mark [her] own 416 snobbery."
The Diplomat also told the urban bachelorette to give the 905-er a second date, while also adding that, should the area code deception be a genuine deal breaker, the Mississauga boy -- not the Roncey letter writer -- would be better off.
Although 6 and the City is but one Toronto resident wary of cross border romance, she's probably not alone when it comes to dismissing the 905 as a dreary wasteland of subdivisions and chain restaurants. Having spent a great deal of time in both Toronto and Mississauga, it's common to hear both sides spout misconceptions about the other.
Once, when planning a meeting with some TO-based coworkers, they scoffed at the idea of traveling to Mississauga because there would be no "ethnic restaurants or non-white people."
On other occasions, Mississauga people I know have resisted traveling to Toronto because "it's dangerous and parking costs $100 an hour!"
I once spoke to a girl from Burlington who was complaining about her long commute from the far west side to her downtown TO office. I asked if she would consider moving to the city and she said no, that big city life wasn't for her.
"How about a closer suburb then? Maybe Mississauga?"
"Ummm, no offence, but I don't want to get stabbed, thanks."
So some people think Mississauga is just as stabby as TO, so there's that.
Now, some might say that the Diplomat got the letter writer all wrong -- that she wasn't as upset about the Mississauga address as she was about the deception. That's a fair point. The guy did call himself a "proud Toronto boy" when he's really only a part-time or social TO guy. If your address is in Mississauga, that's where you're from.
But the letter writer, if she is indeed put off on principle by a Sauga address, is missing out on not just a potentially great match, but a very cool -- and growing -- city.
Although Toronto is a wonderful city (and perhaps I'm just biased, but I do honestly and truly believe it is one of the best big cities in the entire world and I feel #blessed to have such great access to it), it's surrounded by other cities that offer incredible hidden gems that are more than worth leaving the 416 for.
More troubling, however, is the idea that people from the 905 are fundamentally different from their 416 counterparts. The letter writer is shocked that a man who uses the TTC and has favourite TO neighbourhoods is from Mississauga - shocked!
Like, how could a man with a Sauga address know anything about the subway system or Kensington Market? How did he get past the invisible electric fence that keeps white-washed suburbanites out of the chic mecca that is Roncevalles?
You can live in Mississauga (or Brampton or Oakville or Markham) and still know your way around The6ix. Why is this woman so incredulous that a man who lives a little beyond Etobicoke knows where The Annex is?
Perhaps there needs to be more unity in the GTA. Perhaps we need to open our minds -- and our hearts -- to our neighbours. Love knows no geographic boundaries, after all.
And who knows, maybe the Sauga boy will show her that there's life beyond TO's borders. Lots of it.
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