Tab Guide to Speed Daters

JOSIE PARKINSON guides your nervous, sweaty hand through the perils of speed dating, and the characters waiting for you out there…

atoms cafe nero Cambridge cheeky wink cupid designer stubble grad union Guide hobbie interests love power player smooth moves speed dating Tab The Game

I went into RAG and the Romance Soc’s Speed Dating night exhausted, hungry and with no clue of what the evening held in store for me. The only certain knowledge I could hold on to was that I’d be re-enacting a montage of  every cringe-worthy date scene ever made. I felt the odds were against me in finding Mr Right, a fear encouraged rather than dispelled by venue of the Grad union. If they hadn’t found love by now, what were the chances for me?

Answer: slim to non-existent.

However,these concerns were assuaged when I arrived to find a room buzzing with equally awkward-looking but no doubt goshdarned charismatic people, who were getting more so by the minute thanks to free wine and M&S treats. However, 120 seconds is barely enough time to dribble your name, your subject and an uncomfortable joke about your perspiration. So to help you shave off valuable seconds of your two-minute tête-à-tête, here’s a quick guide to who you’ll find in the quick, heady waters of speed dating.

The Smooth-Mover (see also: Sleazebag)

How to spot:

Sharply dressed, designer stubble, maybe a foreign accent of questionable authenticity. Can also be identified by eyebrow-wiggling and a cheeky wink. (Or that may have just been a face twitch. Cute, right?)

Lak of designer stubble more than made up for in winkage

Lack of designer stubble more than made up for in winkage

Interests and Hobbies:

Women/men, wine, good food, light jazz- basically everything that makes up a classic seduction scene. Because that’s why they’re here.

For sex.

Will ask:

If you realise how beautiful you are; if you like to have fun; if you would like to have coffee and “see where things go” (i.e. sex in the Caffè Nero toilet)

The Earnest Introvert

How to spot:

Bless ‘em. A lot of blinking. Eager expression that seems to suggest blind rabbit-like fear rather than anything else, but it could be just the shock of being out of the lab.

Interests and Hobbies:

Without naming names, probably something that doesn’t involve all that much talking to people. Ok I’ll name them. They’re Natural Scientists and all they can talk about is atoms.

The worst kind of pillow talk

The worst kind of pillow talk

Will ask:

Lots about you. They’re just trying to find love in a hopeless place.

The “Wingman”

How to spot:

Can take any shape or form, but their identifier is how little they want to speak to you. Dragged along by a friend or just trying to raise some money for charity (because who wouldn’t help charity get laid?), whatever their agenda, it isn’t you they’re interested in.

Interests and hobbies:

Who knows? It doesn’t matter if you share any of them. You like sailing? Apparently his buddy Brad or her best bud Sheila is into that.

Will ask:

Nothing much. “I’M NOT HERE TO MEET PEOPLE.” Fine. Whatever. I’ll just eat caramel mini-bites.

The Demigod

How to spot:

Damn good teeth. And a charming manner. And damn, did you see those peepers? They seem a bit perfect really and you’re not sure if they’re some sort of highly airbrushed advert for speed dating. (But it’s hard to entertain such suspicions long when you’re so lost in their eyes)

Does his head hurt? I think he just fell from heaven

Does his head hurt? I think he just fell from heaven

Interests and hobbies:

As it happens, they’re also just delightful. They might be into charity work, reviving third world economies, or rescuing orphans from trees. Maybe falling. From Heaven.

Will ask:

Sorry, how- how silly of me, I- just didn’t catch that. What did you ask me?

The Power Player

How to spot:

Lots of eye contact, in fact, they may sit down on the chair backwards like in detective shows to show who’s boss. (Not you.) The whole thing is a little bit like a police interrogation, but with crisps.

Interests and Hobbies:

Probably lots of things that are more impressive than your interests and hobbies, even if you do lie about them. A bit like the demigod, in a way, but with more dynamic ordering about than caring for equally adorable people or baby animals.

Will ask:

“Let’s cut through the crap. What’s the best thing you’ve ever done?” (cue impressive thing that the person has done.)

The Piss-Taker

How to spot:

The piss-taker is a mutation of the wingman, except without the friend-agenda. You’ll recognise them by their cynical expression, sarcasm, and almost certainly fake name (strangely enough, “David Attenborough” wasn’t all that convincing). They might also just amuse themselves by asking you questions that make little to no sense.

Interests and hobbies:

Judging by this event, the piss-taker enjoys sitting in the corner eating free food, minesweeping abandoned rosé and doing a poor job of pretending they want to be there for any reason other than to tell their friends they went (or just to write an article about it maybe…? OMG WAY META).

Will ask:

“Did I tell you about my profound love for marine biology? Would you love me more if I looked like Christopher Walken or John Travolta? What if it were John Travolta in drag? Can you please pass me the truffles?”

So there you have it: a weird and wonderful night out and a way to meet people that kind of recalls the mad dash for friendship in Fresher’s Week, but without all the angst and VKs. Do go along next time- I had a great laugh, met lovely people, and although I wasn’t one of the people who came out with the look of love in their eyes, I did get to have free wine and truffles for dinner. (#welcometocambridge)

Speed Dating was a RAG and Romance Soc creation that also was a part of the Ethical Festival, and raised £414 for RAG’s ballot charities.