Sunday, 10 May 2009

Very, very quick dating

When I signed up to do speed dating I thought it might be fun, but now that it’s only a matter of days away I’m wondering what I’ve let myself in for.

Will it be like an adult version of musical chairs – fun and slightly competitive, or more like prime ministers question time – intimidating and way out of my league?

And doing speed dating in my hometown puts all sorts of fears into my head. What if an old work colleague or the spotty kid from school turns up and starts to flirt with me? It’s not like I can pretend I have a boyfriend, I’m at a bloody speed dating event.

The biggest fear of all is bumping into an ex, or one of their friends. I can just imagine the scene, “So erm….what have you been up to?” I say, as I shift uncomfortably in my seat and the three minutes tick by incredibly slowly, beads of sweat gathering on my forehead as stilted conversation turns into silence and the wall behind them becomes incredibly interesting.

And who came up with the idea of speed dating anyway? I’m going to guess it originated in London or somewhere similarly as busy, by someone who just didn’t have much time to date. I’m not complaining, if you can eliminate half the men in a bar as arrogant twats, boring bankers or ‘not a hope in hell’ in a few hours then that’s fine by me.

Apparently we only have a matter of minutes with each potential love interest. In some cases these minutes will be way too long – mind numbingly, awkwardly, finger tappingly long (and if it’s really bad, a chance to pop to the loo) or just not long enough. It’s like seeing that really cute guy on the tube, you make eye contact, you share a smile and before you know it the doors open and he’s lost in the crowd of London never to be seen again – in this case he’ll be lost in an array of women who’ll gobble him up before my very eyes.

I've also wondered if taking a notepad and using my shorthand would be acceptable. At least I would remember the Tom’s from the Paul’s, and when my friend says ‘I really like Ben, what do you think?’ I could consult my notepad with enthusiasm and either say, ‘hmmm, yes he has a good job, above average looks, laughed at my jokes, yeh go for it’, or vigorously shake my head at her, after all I had only given him three out of ten for GSOH and a big fat zero for marriage material’.

Repetitiveness also springs to mind - will I get bored of saying the same old thing? ‘I’m a 27-year-old journalist, who likes spinning classes and a few glasses of Pinot. NEXT’. Maybe I’ll come up with a different story for each guy I meet – ‘I’m an entrepreneur who made her first million at 12 and is planning to retire at 30’ or ‘ I get bored of saving lives, as a doctor, I do it on a daily basis.’ Then again it may get complicated remembering who I shared my business wisdom and ‘saving lives’ tips with, and I could be outed as a fake before the night is over.

Most importantly my friend and I are wondering, with trepidation, what type of guys we’ll be faced with? I know that my friend and I are braving it, and of course we’re not desperate, losers or anything else that resembles bad date material, but guys aren’t as adventurous as girls when it comes to the dating scene. Are they doing it for a dare? A last resort after five years of failed attempts at finding a woman? And quite possibly I’m worried that half the guys there could just be looking for a night away from the missus.

Maybe I should stop being so cynical, my friend and I may have the night of our lives, meet the men of our dreams and skip happily into the sunset with them. Or does that just happen in the movies?

Realistically the night will probably be more repetitive than a Hollyoaks storyline and I’ll probably go home having had one too many wines, and not remembering what Paul looked like, let alone that Tom was even there.

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