I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d ever “lower” myself to go speed dating in London. The thought of having to wade my way through a room full “desperados” never really appealed.
After being convinced by friends that I had nothing to lose, I decided to look into it as something “fun” to do as a group. After seeing lots of offers on “Groupon” and “Wowcher” and imagining how desperate that crowd would be – I finally found that “The Book Club” in Shoreditch run a speed dating event once a month, quoting; “It’s quick, clever and painless; a light-hearted, fun time in a relaxed atmosphere. Limited places are available, age group is mid 20’s to mid 30’s”. Hey, at £13, what did I have to lose (apart from my dignity)?
When it came to booking, only one friend was able to commit to going – but at least that didn’t mean having to turn up on my own, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t taking it seriously at all (I do have my street cred to salvage at least).
So, we both get there and the scene is set: A dimly lit basement with music, insense and candles – everything you needed to feel like you were walking into an orgy….. with a bar.
I sit down in front of the first girl. 19, Taiwanese and staying in the country for about another 6 months. Hardly off to a flyer. Nothing against her, but I was starting to worry that this is how the next 3 hours were going to be – struggling to make conversation with people I had nothing in common with. Each short meeting was met with a certain intensity as both of us try to get out as much information as possible in three measley minutes. Most conversations went along the lines of “where are you from?” and “what do you do?” By the time both of us had finished, the buzzer went for us to move to the next person. It most cases it would have been better if the buzzer had gone off sooner.
After 3 hours of small talk and scribbling down notes with 25 strangers, we were told to hand in a piece of paper stating who we’d like to see again. My friend and I convene. Neither of us really excited by the prospect of writing down anybody’s name, we look at the guy next to us who has written about 15 names. Had I missed something? Am I too picky? Feeling forced, we both put down 4 names each, as we agreed we could never have too many friends, and most of the girls were really nice after all. Now all we had to do was wait for an email and if those we had chosen had also decided to choose us, then we can get in contact.
The next day the email came. 3 of my “choices” decided to choose me as well (the 4th one clearly had mental issues – that’s the only conclusion I could come up with).
I don’t know whether I’ll get in contact with any of my “matches”. But I know I won’t be speed dating in London any time soon. All I can do is encourage everyone to at least give it a try. You have nothing to lose after all.