Because I am an extremely adventurous single person, I decided that I would try speed dating last Friday. Maybe, just maybe, the man of my dreams would pay £20 to meet me, I convinced myself.
The event took place at a bar in Mayfair, giving me hope that it would be full of millionaires ready to talk to whisk me off to a life of diamonds and sustainable fishing. But the venue was actually more like that bar in Eastenders – Sharon’s Den, or whatever it’s called now (is Sharon even still alive?!)
Arriving at the venue, we were not so much greeted, but ignored by the organiser – a grumpy bloke in a t-shirt who boasted that speed dating “never started on time”. He wore a whistle and marched around the venue blowing it. Aside from being quite startling, this made me realise that I have never liked anyone with a whistle.
I won’t lie – the speed dating set up is very manageable if you’re a woman. You sit on a chair while men come around and try and impress you, each of whom have varying levels of sweat on their hand. The dates lasted four minutes, after which the grumpy bloke would blow the aforementioned whistle. Sometimes he went a bit psycho if you didn’t pay attention, which rarely I did – distracted by conversations about swimming and plumbing, among other things.
Speed dating has A LOT of rules. For instance, you can’t get drunk or talk about controversial topics, which is mission for me because I use Brexit as a litmus test for a man’s testosterone levels.
The rule list also said DON’T LIE. I’m terrible at lying anyway, so that wasn’t a big problem. Apart from when my dates asked me if I would write about the evening (because I am a journalist). One even checked in case I had a spy camera. I said I would only write about speed dating if it went badly.
Not that it did go badly, but it wasn’t great either. For starters, four minutes is actually really quick, however painfully slow that Madonna song featuring Justin Timberlake is. It’s not enough time to eat a baguette, let alone digest a person, and no sooner was each date over than I had to decide whether I wanted second course – or just to be friends. Mostly I didn’t even want the aperitif.
Ultimately speed dating made me feel sad! There were some really nice men there – and women – but it all felt a bit like being the last Ferrero Rocher in the packet. I would only do it again on the condition it was longer – a la Long Dating – or had a great mixture of Ferrero Rocher. Maybe what I’m really saying is I want Cadbury’s Heroes.
But overall, it was a fun evening. Afterwards we went out in Soho, resulting in the worst hangover of my life, that meant I spent the next day vomiting and wondering whether to call 999 (can you kill yourself vomiting?). All of this reinforced the fact I need to stop clubbing, find a husband and settle down. Just not through speed dating.