So yesterday was the day I popped my speed dating cherry (click on the link if you want to find out why I decided it was a good idea.) It was certainly … an experience, and here are 10 things I’ve learnt about speed dating.
1. Getting chatted up at the petrol station beforehand is fun.
Weirdly enough, I have never been chatted up at a petrol station before, so the timing was almost serendipitous. Check me and my big words out. I went to fill the car up before I picked my best friend up and the guy next to me looked over, smiled and told me how pretty I was. It wasn’t lascivious at all (that’s two big words now … I need a lie down) and he said it again when I walked back to my car. It made my day. Proper beefcake he was too! as I
2. Breaking your tooth on the way to speed dating is not much fun.
In order to be minty fresh, I bought some chewing gum at the petrol station and asked Jo to dish them out as I drove. Popped one in my mouth, and thought, “Oooh, this is a bit crunchier than usual.” I then tasted blood and realised what had happened. I GOT OLD! That’s what happened! I only had half a tooth left at the back as it was and for some reason, an innocent looking chewing gum broke the rest. Great. Still, at least it wasn’t at the front … small mercies eh?
3. Find out where the venue is beforehand. (Especially if you’re not wearing tights.)
We hadn’t done our research and ended up not only parking miles away from the venue, but then walking in the wrong direction for ten minutes before realising we are absolute melts and shouldn’t be let out alone in public. Thankfully, we arrived on time, just a tad sweaty. Great first impression. It was a nice restaurant though, away from the public, thank God.
4. Speed dating is nerve-wracking, even for someone confident like me.
Walking into the venue, even if you’re with a friend, is really nerve-wracking. Most people are on their own and already sat at tables, and because this particular evening wasn’t a massive event, it was a bit cringey walking in because we were really noticeable. Erm, and late. But we did what most women do when they go somewhere new, we went to the toilets to recalibrate … and I wanted to put my high heels on. Except, they were new and very slippery underneath, as I found out as I tried to walk back up the ramp to the tables. Think Chandler trying to dance at his wedding. #FriendsReference
5. Drink all the alcohol immediately.
I was driving but normally allow myself one drink when driving and this was definitely the time to drink all the alcohol. I think in hindsight, we should have got the train, got there early and had a couple of (several) drinks beforehand just to settle our nerves, but I’d imagine it’s not wise to get shit-faced. Just a hunch.
6. Five minutes is not very long at all.
I thought we were going to only have three minutes with each person, and when the organiser said five minutes, I thought it would feel like ages. It didn’t, it went by so quickly, and just as you get into the swing of things, they go onto the next woman. Story of my life. And then you start your spiel again with the next one. It’s funny but when I would first meet a man, and think that we’d have nothing in common, or I wouldn’t find anything attractive about them, I was proved wrong each time. Not in the physical sense necessarily, but they were either funny, or had interesting jobs or hobbies, or seemed warm hearted or had an interesting outlook on life – amazing what you can gauge in five minutes!
7. Pre-prepared questions aren’t necessary.
As we walked the half marathon to find the venue, we talked about what type of questions we should ask, knowing we wouldn’t have long with each man. Sense of humour is really important so our questions were all based around whether you find The Inbetweeners funny or not (which says a lot about our SOH.) But when it came to it, any question I had pre-prepared went out of the window because it’s not just a Q&A session, it’s a casual chat, and it’s more about the banter than what is said. We usually covered the basics like where do you live (original) and have you been speed dating before, but other than that, conversation flowed freely, which was a relief – no awkward silences.
8. Nine kids is A LOT of kids.
I got on quite well with one guy – he’s in the media, creative, smiley, quite engaging, and although I wasn’t particularly attracted to him, I thought it would definitely be worth meeting him again. And then I found out he had nine children and I went right off him. Does that make me an awful person? I know we all have baggage, not that children are baggage, but I’d imagine that if you have nine children, a new partner isn’t going to be at the top of your priority list and I think at my age, at my time of life, I’d like to at least be quite near the top. Anyway, we were a match, because he wanted to see me again as well, but I’m undecided, and as yet he hasn’t got in touch. Which kinda proves my point – he’s one busy man!
9. I give GREAT first date.
I honestly think I do! So to be able to give SEVEN great first dates really is generous of me! Kidding, kinda, but I can honestly say that each and every meeting went well last night. Each bloke was nice, normal, not (that) weird … and a whole lot better than the dross I talk to online. All were professional men, bar one stay at home dad, and all seemed to have the same struggles as us when it comes to meeting new people. It restored my faith in men a little and made me realise that I’m never going to find the love of my life staying in my safe little bubble at home. I didn’t find it in Canterbury last night either mind you, but you get my point.
10. It’s good to chat to the women as well.
I think the best chats I had last night were with some of the women that attended! It was great to compare notes and life stories and bond with women who are in exactly the same boat as we are. I even swapped numbers with one of the women with a view to us going to her home town for a night out so even if I don’t end up dating anyone, I’ve made a new friend. (I sound like my Mum.)
I only met seven men last night as five dropped out that same night (hopefully nothing to do with finding out I was going!) So it was a little disappointing, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t fancy anyone. They weren’t ‘my type’ at all, but they were all really nice blokes and I’m glad I went. I agreed to see three of them again – including Mr 9 Kids, Mr Vanilla Solicitor and Mr Bird Boy, and I got the email this morning to say they had ticked YES to me as well. I just figured that it’s worth at least one more date … a bit longer than five minutes, and I’ll take it from there. Or not.
It’s a few hours later now and I’ve had a text from one of them asking to meet for drinks next week, but he’s asked to meet halfway and it’s put me off a little. He sounds like a bill splitter, but we’ll see. I don’t mind driving but I hate people being pedantic about stuff like that, (although I’m allowed to be.) Maybe I’m deliberately sabotaging it all before it starts because it’s just easier that way, but I’m trying hard to be open-minded.
Would I go again? Definitely. It was lots of fun and knowing there were at least three blokes who liked me has given me a much needed ego boost if I’m honest. And if nothing else, at least I went somewhere different than the gym or Tescos!
So, watch this space. But for the first time in years, I feel a little bit more optimistic about the whole dating thing.