Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Ready, Steady, DATE!

Speed dating Leeds The Liquorist


So I went speed dating. Yep.

A couple of months ago, my lovely friend Lorna and I got slightly pissed at a wine tasting session and booked ourselves onto a speed-dating night at The Liquorist. There are a lot of things that seem like a great idea when you’re drunk (jรคger bombs, online shopping and attempting to slut drop, to name a few) and this was one of them.

Come yesterday morning and both of us were, not surprisingly, feeling a tad more apprehensive.

The thing is, I’ve done first dates before and I like to think I’m pretty good at them. I’ve been on dates where the conversation has flowed, we’ve spent the entire night laughing and the atmosphere has been great. I’ve also been on dates where it’s pretty clear that nothing will ever happen and you’re both working out how long you have to spend together until you can politely leave. Let’s face it, I once got taken on a first date to Yates where the guy rocked up looking nothing like his photo, got hammered and then tried to forcibly hold my hand. Once you’ve dealt with that shit, anything else is a dream.

What speed dating is like now is pretty similar to the rep online dating had a few years back - it was seen as the thing sad weirdos did. Being on a dating site used to be the epitome of desperate yet now everyone does it and speed dating could well be the next POF – but without the crap. There’s no waiting hours for a message back, trawling through profiles or rocking up to find that he’s added several inches onto his height. It’s just sit down, have a chat, move on.

I’ve found that a lot of my single friends are single for the same reason as I am – we all struggle to meet new people post-university. When you move to a new city, as I and many others have, it does limit your social life. Whilst I feel permanently busy, it’s not often that the socialising I do is in Leeds – it’s at home, with my university friends in Huddersfield or with my sister in Manchester. So now, unless I want an office romance (no thank you) or make eyes with someone over the squat rack at the gym (not through lack of trying), where am I meant to meet someone? Contrary to what chick lit leads me to believe, there’s none of this chatting in the queue at Starbucks as we’re all too busy scrolling Instagram.

Everyone says that if you stop looking then it’ll happen when you least expect it and I genuinely believe this as nobody ever seems to fall into a relationship having assumed it will happen all along. But surely surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, instead of never meeting anyone new will heighten your chances somewhat? I don’t know. Clearly I’m not that shit hot at dating or I wouldn’t be single!

So, speed dating. Honestly? It was the best night out I’ve had in ages. When Lorna and I signed up, we knew that it would go one of two ways. We’d either meet amazing people and that would be great or we wouldn’t and it would be a fun experience to share with our readers. I felt I had a bit of both! Neither of us had any expectations of what it would be like, which I think was the best way to go into it.

The way it works is the women are seated and the men move around the room. You have 5 minutes per person and as you move on, you make notes so you remember who that person was and submit who you want to match with online later. Then, you can talk to them online for free and if you wish, swap contact details.

Being able to go on 12 ‘first dates’ in a night is pretty intense (the most I’ve ever managed is 2 in a day before... woops) but whilst everyone is in the same boat, everything is taken in good humour. I met a whole array of people and yes, some were strange. One guy even asked me whether I wanted marriage and kids in the future. Another (not actually weird at all) guy told me to ask him an interesting question and I asked him what he had for breakfast (crunchy nut cornflakes, in case you were wondering). Maybe he thought I was weird. I’d take that when that’s the first thing that springs to my mind when I need to be creative.

It was pretty clear that the guys last night fell into two categories; Rehearsed and just rolling with it. When someone lists their interests as ‘going to the cinema, eating out and socialising with mates’ it feels a bit like when you ask a school kid about what they did over the summer then get them to translate it into German. Another guy told me about how he’d been speed dating before, got hammered and ended up meeting up with a girl who turned out to have a moustache. He then complimented me on my lack of facial hair.

To me, the guys who had (I hate to say this word) banter, stood out to me the most. For others, that could be over-bearing and a bit intense. But that’s the beauty of speed-dating, you meet so many people, there’s bound to be at least one person you can get a good 5 minutes of conversation with even if you don’t match them later.

Would I go again? Definitely. If I’m still single come February (LOL most likely), I will definitely be heading to the next Leeds event as, if anything, it’s just a good night out.

What do you think? Have you been speed dating before?

Also, if you think you know someone who’d be my Prince Charming, feel free to hit me up. Blogger blind date could 100% become a thing.


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6 comments

  1. Great post, sounds like a good night and now you've found another way of meeting new people :) x

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    1. Thank you! It really was a good one and Lorna and I have tickets for the next one now too! x

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  2. Well done you for doing it, it sounds like a great time!

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    1. Thanks :) I really hope it opens people's minds to the idea, it's really not how people think!

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  3. I LOVE this post - yay for sharing your dating life on the internet! Actually this sounds like lots of fun, I love the idea of short timed conversation and then moving on...meeting face to face but still leaving wanting more.

    www.jessicainyourear.com

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    1. Yeah, it's definitely worth a try as it's long enough to know whether you get on and it's not so long that if you have a rubbish time, you're sat awkwardly for ages! I must admit, out of all my posts, the dating ones seem to go down the best!

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