A couple of months ago, while enjoying a few drinks with friends, we were sharing the woes of life, and in particular the lack of opportunities to meet people to date. I came up with the bright idea that we should consider speed dating. I wasn’t sure why I suddenly thought this was a good suggestion. I am not in the habit of assessing 25 contestants dating abilities in 3 minutes, or particularly adept at it. I rationalised that as I do a lot of networking in my day job it must be similar.
I found a city based, professional speed dating company, and signed up. I also signed the two aforementioned friends up, who I had coerced into this folly.
We joked around about not taking it too seriously, having a laugh with mates, and if we met someone to date then it was a bonus.
The event was 2 months in the future and so I put it to the back of my memory and got on with life.
A week before the event I realised that I had not thought of it for a while, and with only a week to go we needed to start making plans. I emailed the organisers to find out what people usually wore to these events. The response was smart casual, which personally I find the most difficult to decipher.
The event was on a Monday and the Friday before I was attending another party and asked a few friends what I should wear and we agreed that it should be a non office, non work shirt and jeans.
The shirt that came to mind was denim with an unusual swirling pattern, and slim fit. However, I did not want to commit the sin of double denim. This is only acceptable if you are a founding member of the group Bewitched! Another choice would be chinos, which from my collection could be green, orange, red or purple, rather than the regulation, boring beige. However, I wanted to wear my blue and silver prada trainers which don’t go with chinos so well. I did have a new pair of H&M denim trousers, and I say trousers rather than jeans as they don’t appear as jeans. They are stretchy and look like leather, or I guess leatherette, and I love them! Only challenge was to decide if leatherette trousers were suitable for speed dating! So many difficult and important decisions to make!
The weekend flew by and plans were made to meet at 6.30pm at Old Street Station to make sure we got a couple of drinks in before entering the lion’s mouth!
I finished work, had a quick shower, re-quiffed the hair, dressed, spruced and primped. I decided on the denim shirt, leatherette trousers and prada trainers, gulped a large sherry and set off.
En route the panic started to set in, and I started making a number of emergency phone calls to friends whilst on the bus, and heading to the tube station. My main concern was the leatherette trousers which were incredibly cool, but maybe not for speed dating. The potential helpers were incommodiously unavailable and I had to leave several messages. I wondered whether I should announce, as I sat down in front of each contestant, that the trousers were only leather in appearance, and were really denim.
I met my two friends as planned and we headed for the nearest pub, despite protestations from one of them to look for a cooler bar. I won out with needs must argument, and not limiting pre speed dating drinking time. We had 30 minutes before we needed to arrive at the venue. My companions wanted vodka and tonics and I really wanted a sherry but they didn’t have a good Fino (still quite shocked at the lack of good sherry in London pubs), and settled on a gin and tonic. Again limited choice and accepted Bombay whilst really wanting Tanqueray. Perhaps my friend was right and we should have found a more salubrious bar. We managed 3 drinks in our 30 minutes, and after a quick toilet check walked the few minutes to the venue. Speed dating was to occur in the restaurant segment of a swanky Hoxton bar/restaurant. There were tasteful nibbles and a glass of bubbles to help relax us as we walked in…
I am not going to detail any of the actual dating as it was really quite horrendous. The initial talking was OK, but it did feel rather like a meat market. I couldn’t keep up with the scoring, and by the last segment, was too drunk.
Cards were then gathered and passed out and I didn’t get a single contestant wanting to see me again! I did not send a single card myself, but was still massively upset and felt incredibly rejected.
I think valium should be provided at the end of the evening before the envelopes are handed out!
So despite a beautiful, classy venue and wonderful hosts the evening actually left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth. It’s too brutal and my skin is not thick enough.
The only upsides are that I spent time with good friends, and had something to write in my blog. I will not be partaking again. Now pass the sherry!