Londonist went speed dating.
You are probably asking, “Really?” Yes, really, I went speed dating. This “review” of sorts originally began with a slightly more imaginative introduction but the reality is that there is nothing more compelling than just saying it point blank
As London quickly approaches spring and the city begins to take on a look more similar to people preparing to board Noah’s Ark than anything else, I, as patron
saint writer of single people, took up the mantle of researching alternatives to flying solo. I went speed dating. (The more I say it, the less funny it becomes for me.)
Many of you may be asking, what exactly is speed dating? Speed dating is the opportunity for you to efficiently maximize a dating experience (no this isn’t the introduction to your Economics A-Levels again, this is real life). Over the course of approx. two hours you attend 25 – 30 dates for three minutes each. You are given a scorecard at the beginning of the event on which you write your date’s name, number, and any comments that will jog your memory the next morning. In addition, there are three boxes: yes, no, and friendship. At the end of those three minutes (which I might add is indicated with the ringing of a school bell, the kind they used in shows like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman to start the school day), you mark on your scorecard whether or not you would want to see that person again and then are onto your next date.
And now a narrative from my Friday evening speed dating in Leicester Square:
7:20 – Arrive at Sound in Leicester Square to register and attend the event.
I attended an event arranged by speeddater.co.uk, one of the more established companies that runs events for all types of singles (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, heterosexual, homosexual, women looking for younger men aka the “boy toy” events, and older men looking for younger women aka “sugar daddy” events, you name it – they probably have an event for it). The staff was friendly and informative.
7:25 – Receive name tag, scorecard, pen, and table assignment.
7:30 – Let the dating begin.
The event was a few men short but luckily I began the evening with a date unlike some of my female cohorts. Feigned comfort was the name of the game for about the first twenty minutes before the alcohol calmed everyone’s nerves (I am recently teetotal so I had no alcohol to assist in numbing the embarrassment). Conversations usually consisted of “Is this your first time?”, “What brings you speed dating?”, “What do you think so far?” and then some general getting to know you questions. Before you realized it, DING DING DING DING, it was time to rotate.
8:00 – Older Gentleman
I went on a “date” with a man old enough to be my father. Enough said.
8:10 – Break one.
The opportunity for people to refill their drinks, and for some girls to refill their pitchers (I kid you not, pitchers of alcohol).
8:20 – Resume dating.
8:30 – Mid date
At this point I am thinking to myself “How much longer?” Only to realize that I had quite a few dates remaining. I won’t divulge any really personal information or names of the men that I had dated over the course of the evening but on perusal of my scorecard here is a selection of what you find in my scorecard: “Nice but no”, “Never”, “Nice guy, traveled around States on Amtrak”, “Odd ball”, and “meh”. In sum, the guys were all pretty normal.
I was really banking on some weird ones to thrill you all with, but I basically went on dates with any guy you could meet out on any given Friday after work, wearing a blue shirt, collar undone and loosened, tie removed and black slacks. There were of course exceptions to this but overall this is a fairly accurate depiction of what I faced for two and a half hours.
8:40 – Strangest Date of the Night
In an attempt to make conversation I asked one man if he had any horror dates yet, to which he replied no. He inquired after my dating situation and I responded that I thought all the guys seemed very nice but that I was really hoping for some guy to tell me some crazy story (It was late, don’t give me any lip about how lame that was). I then proceeded to ask him what he liked to do in his free time.
His reply: “Impale babies.”
NEXT! His attempt at humour failed miserably, note to the gentlemen: never tell a girl that in your free time you like to impale babies she will not think it is funny and she will most definitely not want to see you again.
9:30 – “Is it over yet?” (said in whiny five-year-old voice)
At this point I talk to a girl nearby during one of our breaks, she is pretty drunk (having just finished her third double vodka and orange), she said one of the funniest things I heard all evening (although the gentlemen were trying really hard) – she said, “I am not taking attractiveness into account for these guys because that just wouldn’t be fair, I wouldn’t really date any of them.” Ouch!
Roughly 10:00 – The End
25 dates later I have checked almost entirely “no” on my scorecard and I was exhausted. I left the event with my two friends and made a quick dash to China town for some post-speed dating sustenance – the highlight of the evening.
The Day After....
This is when you really start to get crazy. This is when you find out if you were wanted.
I logged into my account and received (some of) my results. I had eight "ticks" so far - a few for dates and a few for friendship. I was obviously as enthralling to date for them as they were for me.
Luckily I don't judge my self-worth on this, but I can imagine a girl or guy in a rough situation putting themselves out there at a speed dating event, and being rejected by everyone. To wake up the next day to no matches would be a blow to their self-esteem and probably send them spiralling into a deep depression. Speed dating for them is like your Grade Three Teacher from Catholic school sending her ID picture to Hot or Not - it is just not a good idea.
Conclusion: Speed dating is not for me.
Well organized and well attended I have nothing bad to say about the company’s job, I just don’t see how or why anyone would want to meet their future boyfriend or girlfriend at an event like this.
The city is big, there are lots of people, it is hard to meet people, but instead of paying £23 for a speed dating event, go out at night and attempt to talk to people outside the group of people you left the house with and spend some of that £23 buying them an alcoholic beverage (unless its me, I will have a water with lemon).