A Survivor’s Guide to Speed Dating

Felicity Cant queries whether love really is in the air.

speed dating Valentine's

Speed dating: a uniformly feared concept.

Why would anyone opt to attend an event where you are imprisoned in a seat for the next hour, whilst chancers circulate and have 3 minutes or so to earn your affections?

This didn’t sound like a hopeful prospect for me. However I put myself through this humiliation for two reasons: a) to humour my friends who organised these event and b) for a bit of fun.

Last year, I was tricked into speed dating, being told we would be in groups and not one on one chats with, heaven forbid, boys. However this was not the case and I was placed (pushed) into a seat opposite a vacant seat awaiting the first candidate.

Speed dating is designed to accommodate us singles. Held in a place where it’s quiet enough to chat, unlike the chaos of a club, we are grouped into suitable age ranges and it is time-efficient.

This may make speed dating sound like an experiment but is it so far off? You test a sample, ask them questions, collect the data in your head and make a final conclusion: to date or not to date? Shakespeare would have been proud of such a question.

In my speed dates I tended to go into 'interview mode'. Asking every question known to mankind. I chat. It’s what I do. Nothing can be worse than silence. Silence is never good. It leaves a wedge between you and the other person as you both desperately try to look anywhere than each other’s gaze. But inevitably in the panic you can’t stop having awkward glances at each other and returning a quick but mortified smile. Many of the boys I chatted to must I have thought I had a nervous twitch.

So relax ladies and gentlemen. Take on the boring but effective “be yourself” attitude. If you’re going to ask questions make sure they are friendly and something you can also talk about.

Make sure you never ask questions such as, “so how many kids do you want?” or you will become a lot more familiar with speed dating than you initially intended. You haven’t got to make a promise to this person chatting to you. You could be meeting a new friend not just a potential partner. If they don’t like you that’s fine. We can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Then there is the problem of what to wear. Girls of course want to look vaguely attractive without suggesting that they have tried hard! Plus if you are going out afterwards you want to wear something you that will look good in a club. Wear something you feel comfortable in. If you feel comfortable you will relax and be more confident. 

Believe it or not the awkward experiences you have at these collaborations turn out to be the stories you tell over and over again. Plus there’s always the glimmer of hope that you will meet a frog, kiss him and find your prince!

RAG is holding a speed dating event  at the Lemmy on Friday 17th February for £3.50. 8pm start.