Ladies of london: we’re about to make your day. We’ve found a 27-year-old City trader who’s single and available. We’re too good to you, we know. Better still – unlike the swathes of City lads that sway on the floor of Forge on a Friday night, James Biagioni is actually dateable. So dateable, in fact, that he’s been crowned the City’s Most Eligible Bachelor. And it’s not hard to see why. When he saunters into our south London studio for our photo shoot – chiselled, gleaming smile and coiffed locks – it’s hard to imagine that half-Italian James would struggle to impress the opposite sex. Not only does he look like a young Bradley Cooper (“I get that all the time,” he chuckles with a knowing look), but he’s also smart, funny and charismatic.
Admittedly, he’s chosen those adjectives himself – they are the personal qualities he submitted for the City’s Most Eligible Bachelor competition, run in association with offline dating service Social Concierge. So no, he might not be the most modest of men, but luckily this charming Jack the Lad doesn’t take himself too seriously, either. “You’ve got to have a laugh in life, haven’t you?” he tells me in a strong East London accent.
I ask if entering the competition was a laugh, too? “I was put forward by three guys at work”, he admits. “They said, ‘There’s this thing called ‘eligible bachelor’. We’re putting you in, pretty boy.’ I was like, ‘Oh, whatever. Just stick me in.’ I never thought I’d win.”
Biagioni tells me he was so busy with work that he didn’t realise he’d got through to the next round, missing an Evening Standard photo shoot with the competition contestants. “I went into work on the day of the finalist’s party, checked my email, and found out I’d won it. It was all a bit of a surprise. It was nice to know that Nana [Wereko-Brobby, founder of Social Concierge] said it was because of the way I answered certain questions.”
Aside from those killer cheekbones, Wereko-Brobby told Biagioni it was his fresh approach to women that won him the title. “I look for a laid-back attitude and approach to life, and a curvy figure – that’s important,” Biagioni tells me. “She’s got to be independent and have good sense of humour, too.”
Since he’s been named the City’s finest catch, has he been inundated with numbers and date requests? “That’s life’s greatest problem, isn’t it, balancing pleasure and work?” he muses. “I have been asked on a few dates but I’ve been very busy with work, so I haven’t actually had the chance to act upon them. I work silly hours.”
James works for a proprietary trading company in Tower 42, communicating with markets around the world, so he often works through the night. Yet surprisingly, he says that’s not the worst thing about his job. That dubious honour goes to the Central line in the mornings: “It got so bad that I drive to work.”
What was My worst date? Finding out that a Jane was actually A John. Next question…
So where would he take his ideal date? “I like City Social,” he says. “They’ve had a lot of money off me over the years: I might have been driving a Ferrari instead of a Mini if I hadn’t been going up there so much,” he laughs. “It’s nice and relaxed in there, so that’s an ideal opportunity to get to know someone.”
If that someone were a celebrity, she’d be Sofía Vergara from US TV show, Modern Family. “She’s unbelievable. Wow,” Biagioni gushes. “If she reads this… well…” Don’t worry, James. Her copy’s in the post.
Girls might want to date Biagioni, but guys would want him as a mate. During his photo shoot, he jokes around with his childhood friend Jordon, laughs at some of the shots – “I look like a right toff in that one” – chats about his love of poker and going to the gym, and shows us an Instagram profile that he’s created for his dog.
As the banter levels soar, I manage to bring the conversation away from Vergara and her impending marriage, to ask him about how dating has changed lately. “Back when I first started going out, say 13 years ago, you had to get the home telephone number of the girl you met in your local club, get past the protective father on the phone and then arrange to meet up. Now it’s pick up your iPhone, log onto your dating app, search within two kilometres and away you go.”
So aside from making the modern man more lazy, are dating apps a bad thing? “Not necessarily, but it depends what you’re looking for. It gives you greater accessibility to women, and women to men, so you can filter out people that you don’t like. You can end up finding the person you do connect with a lot quicker than you would normally. Although saying that, I’ve been on Tinder and it wasn’t any use to me, really.”
Does this mean that the City’s Most Eligible Bachelor has had some bad dates, like the rest of us? Apparently so. “My worst experience was finding out that Jane was actually John,” he laughs. “Too many cocktails at City Social. Next question, please.”
Sadly, we’d have to track down John to find out how that date ended, as Biagioni refuses to divulge further. But on the subject of bad dates, he continues: “My biggest turn-offs are fake tan, fake eyelashes and clip-in hair extensions. There’s nothing worse than seeing a hair extension hanging off. Or one falling into your Caesar salad.”
If your extensions are glued in securely, and you fancy meeting the most eligible man in town, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion you should head to City Social. If your name’s John, wait until he’s had a few more Old Fashioneds before you go and say hi.
For more information, visit socialconcierge.co.uk