I’m recently back from, a city I regard as by far my favourite in Europe. I love the combination of history and attitude. It’s the sort of place where you’ll head out at 8am and don’t come back before 2am. That’s in a good way – you want to be there and see no real need to retreat to the hotel room to freshen up and recuperate.
It’s a ballsy, faintly anarchic city. Most people I’ve spoken to about it hold it in similar regard – very few claim to hate the place. Those that do dislike it, however, tend to be female.
Not all females dislike Berlin, of course. My wife, for one, loves it. A lot of it is down to individual personality. But, from the largely unrepresentative sample I’ve spoken to, men are more likely than women to enjoy Berlin. It is, for want of a better word, a boy city.
On the flip side, there is Paris. The city of romance, all that guff. It’s a place that I’ve never been particularly enchanted by, although it does have the odd part that I like. It’s a city everyone is supposed to love, but a significant band of doubters don’t. Most – again from my staggeringly unrepresentative sample of personal experience – tend to be men. Some men love Paris, and I’m sure some women don’t, but it is surely a girl city.
At the risk of leaping into a stinging nettle patch of dubious gender warfare, Berlin and Paris are not alone. They may be the best examples, but they are not the only ones. And I think the spirit of a city has a lot to do with this. As a very general rule, cities that feel romantic, beautiful or stylish tend to be preferred by women. Those that feel somewhat gritty and rambunctious tend to draw the men.
Florence, for example, would fall in the girl city camp. Dubrovnik too; possibly Vienna, maybe Dubai, definitely Bath. And in the States, unquestionably Miami.
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Boy cities, on the other hand, would include, , Bangkok, , Amsterdam and .
Reckon any other cities fall strongly on one side of a gender divide? Suggest some below – and let battle commence…
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