Speed Dating Adventures: My First Foray into Dating in Real Life- Part 1

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“I am done with dating apps, I am going speed dating”

If you haven’t heard me say I am deleting all my dating apps 100 times this year, are you even my friend? I have been using Tinder/POF/All the others throughout my singledom, and realistically they have been my only avenue to meeting people I want to bone. I am a socially award pickle, convinced that any person I approached would be appalled at my audacity and grimace at the thought. Even if they did welcome my attention, I am likely to just squint, giggle and then throw my drink down myself. I’m a mess.

But whilst Tinder might be my lifesaver to avoiding any cringeworthy ‘hellos’ in my local wine bar, they come with their own list of problems. Ghosters, Orbitters, Dick Pics and just general wankers are rife on the internet and dating apps are like their cat nip. It’s tiresome scrolling through reams of messages from people condensing you down to a sack of tits and lips. I am done.

Earlier in January, I had that hopeful New Year glow that promised that this year would be the year of ‘The Relationship.” But come June, and my dating life was as happening as a school disco in a sports hall. It wasn’t. I would like to say that after a few wines with a pal, we decided that we would take the leap back into reality and try speed dating. But we were completely sober and the only excuse is that me and my best pal were desperate for real life interaction (and content for this blog). We searched for all of ten minutes to find our local dating events and picked the only one that landed on a Friday so that we could get royally shanted on Sauvignon.

During the lead up to the night, it didn’t look good. I studied the organisers Facebook Page and on the Monday saw that whilst the women’s tickets were sold out, the male tickets were going for half price. Oh god, dating me is literally a BOGOF deal. Men complain about women being aloof online, but ask them to whack on a Ben Sherman and a spritz of Old Spice and the buggers become bed bound. Nerves danced wildly in my stomach.

A flat lay showing a red book covered in red love hearts

On the night itself, I rushed to my friend’s home, showered and glugged down a Gin and Tonic as she drove us to the venue. I imagine the conversations we had in the car that night were much like cult members have with one another before they sip the pink liquid. Intermittently encouraging and despairing between ourselves, both excited and ready to do a u-turn on the dual carriageway. Once in the car park we sat and watched like 90’s detectives, peering over sunglasses at those walking through. Unfortunately the venue also happened to be hosting the world and his Dad’s Friday night football match. We were surrounded by toddlers in tiny kits and Dilfs dragging teenagers to the pitch. Of course we looked completely out-of-place in 4 inch heels and a midi skirt.

In front of our car walked two very young women, in backless dresses and knee highs. This was our chance to assimilate with the crowd, we leapt out, and edged our way to the door, holding their young nubile bodies in front of us like an armoured shields. We were going in.

When we entered the speed dating venue we gave our names, got an identity sticker like we were spending our first night on a cruise ship and were shown to tables filled with cheap vinegar in wine glasses. I grabbed two and downed one on the way to our chairs as we prepared to enter our details into a ‘romance questionnaire.’ I had decided to live tweet our speed dating adventure (much to my friends dismay) as I insisted on taking photos of every tacky love heart and inspirational quote. I was Captain Kirk, sent on a mission to search out new life forms and from the looks of it, these life forms hadn’t left their Mum’s basements for quite some time.

I looked to my left to see that the girls who had protected us earlier in the night had leap frogged it to the exit having seen the possibilities for the dating larks that evening. I felt a sharp nudge to my ribs as my friend uttered under her breath to make a quick dash to the bar. Not one to be deterred from sinking a Jager for dutch courage we shuffled from our table avoiding eye contact like two timid Geisha’s. It was then my friend described her horror at seeing an online ‘match’ sat behind her, only to realise that the guy she’d spent two days pulling conversation from like rotten teeth had a preference for flame hemmed shirts and Gareth Gate’s hair do. Did we want a double gin with that? Abso-bloody-lutely.

The bar man though. The bar man was hot. I wonder if he would join us at our speed dating table? We began whispering between ourselves about how much we fancied him the most and who he would fall in love with first whilst my friend scanned the room like a penis seeking infrared beacon. Another nudge to my ribs.

“They kind of look OK, over there?” she muttered under her breath.

Now tanked up on all of the handsome bartenders finest liquor, I swung my body round, contorting my head like a scene from the Exorcist in the hope of catching a glimpse of men that seemed “OK”. This market research was definitely taking a bash to my standards. At this point I think my bestie may have wished for her life to end there and then as I did a full body scan of the two men directly opposite us. If someone could ever make the sound in one sigh of how you eternally let them down by being unbearably uncool and indiscreet then that was the sound that escaped my best chums mouth that night.

But I couldn’t hear it. I was too distracted. It may have been the gin warming my insides at this point (it was definitely the gin) but I couldn’t help but look at him. For alongside a tall, pleasantly looking chap in the corner stood…him. He leant back onto the wall, sipping beer, he looked relaxed and calm compared to my nervous and wasted. I studied him over my glass, his dark hair swept back in a quiff, beard full but trimmed, bright blue eyes scanning the room. He was almost hipster, without looking like an unbearable knob. My friend’s eyes rolled as I spent a little too long prying.

And then the bell rung and a call went out;

“Let the speed dating, commence.”

Want the next instalment? The click here to read what happened when I went on seven dates in 28 minutes and how those 4 minutes with Blue Eyed Hipster was spent.