Week 39: Speed Dating

Week 39 took me into the cruel world of dating, once again. Having already taken part in a blind date, I haven’t really wanted to delve into the dating world for challenges. But alas, I’m running out of things to do from the list, and speed dating was the challenge.

I went into this challenge, with a sense of arrogance. You know the “I’m a bit better than this” type of feeling. My perception was always about a sense of desperation around speed dating. I guess both of these kind of changed over the night. Let me explain…

The night started with a couple of drinks in the pub next door to settle the nerves (have you worked out a theme for when I’m nervous yet?). Once we finally stumped up the balls, myself, my housemate, Marc, and my work colleague, Steve, all entered the speed dating room, where we were handed a sheet of paper, a pen, a name badge and a number.

The Form
The Form

The rules are simple. 4 minutes. Have a chat. Rate either Date, Mate or No. On to the next one.

The ‘women’ came from all parts of the world, Mexico, Germany, Australia, England. No one really took my fancy, but it’s hard not to try and impress in the scenario. The main issue I had, was that due to the ordering, both Marc and Steve had already told the females everything about me. “Are you Tom, that writes the blog?” I’d normally be greeted with.

There were some characters, when I put ‘women’ in inverted brackets, that’s because I’m almost certain one wasn’t a woman. Despite the fact she/he was insistent on telling me she was during my four minutes. Never thought I’d date a transexual in my life, I must admit.

The event was all done and dusted and it was time to rate everyone. This is where the evening took a real downfall personally after this. Having a drink at the bar, the three of us asked four of the girls from the speed dating to honestly tell us what they put for matching. Their answers were as followed:

Girl 1: Pointing at Steve – Date.. Pointing at Marc – Date… Pointing at Me… Mate
Girl 2: Pointing at Steve – Date.. Pointing at Marc – Date… Pointing at Me… Mate
Girl 3: Pointing at Steve – Date.. Pointing at Marc – Date… Pointing at Me… Mate
Girl 4: Pointing at Steve – Date.. Pointing at Marc – Date… Pointing at Me… Mate

Date, Date......
Date, Date……

This followed by a procession of “I’m Fine!” in Ross Gellar style by myself. I was gutted, and my arrogance from the beginning of the evening was quickly shot to pieces. The girls told me it was because “my heart wasn’t in it”… It probably wasn’t but still. OUCH.

All this aside… My review on speed dating. Not for me. I struggle to believe anyone in this world would find romance from speed dating. It’s such a forced, un-natural process, filled with no time to actually chat to people. There is a clear feeling that people are rating you from as soon as you walk into the room, something that is not enjoyable. It was a laugh with my mates, but I can’t imagine I’d see myself doing this again. Were people in the room desperate? Maybe not as I imagined… I don’t really think anyone saw themselves getting much out of it.. But maybe that’s because my heart was never in it (Yeah – still fuming).

........MATE
……..MATE

Week 3: A genuine blind date

In a world where your next relationship/date seems to come from Tinder or some form of social media, this week’s task was extremely refreshing. A genuine blind date. No pictures, no swiping, no ‘liking’ pictures, no small talk prior to the date, just an open mind and trust in a friend.

Off the back of last week’s post, my colleague at work, Poppy, contacted me to bring up the idea. Traditionally, this is something I’d never even consider, my only experiences of a blind date is Cilla Black’s ITV programme or David Brent’s blind date in The Office. So it was an perfect idea for this challenge.

How it all started...
How it all started…

After accepting the offer, all I was told was I’d be meeting a Daisy, aged 20, who’s brunette. I did have mild panic attacks the day before, where I drew on the varied advice from people I knew. One person said “As soon as she sees you, she will love you and then she will talk to you and will love you more”, though this is something my mum would say, I promise it wasn’t her! Then I went to the boys for advice, to which I was advised “Just don’t faint this week”. Brilliant.

Before I go any further, I’d like to make clear that this blog post isn’t about rating how the date went. It would be unfair on Daisy and besides it’s none of your business. This is all about the experience.

Meeting at Brighton Pier at 6pm, I made sure I was fashionably late by arriving 15 minutes early. Thinking I’d be greeted by a Daisy, I was greeted by Rachel, the storm that happened to be taking place in Brighton at the time. Rachel was angry and was doing her best to brush me off my feet before my date even started. Hopefully Daisy would be a bit kinder.

Only when it got to the date, it occurred that she may turn up, see me and leave. You can see by the group ‘WhatsApp’ conversation, I was cool as a cucumber.

Calm and collected
Calm and collected

The good news is she turned up, recognised me from the pictures she had seen and didn’t feel the need to turn around. We got out of the storm, had a meal and went on to drink a few cocktails.

It’s hard to describe the energy I felt before and throughout the evening. Having no idea who was going to turn up and not knowing a thing about their background, was brilliant. There were no expectations and it turned out to be a fun evening. Yeah, it was a risk, but it goes to show you should trust your friends. I knew Poppy was unlikely to stitch me up; she knew both of us and thought we’d get on…. which we did. There were thousands of things to talk about and no pressure at all. The most pressure I had all evening was choosing which cocktails to choose. The ‘Songbird’, chosen purely as it’s an Oasis song, was a success. The Martini, if it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for me, wasn’t quite so successful.

I’d honestly encourage people to give something like this a go. Trust your friends, take the whole ‘looks’ element out of it and chuck yourselves in the deep end. As I said to myself before the whole thing, what’s the worst that could happen?….. (I didn’t faint this week!)

As always, ideas are encouraged. The list is growing!