‘Would you like to speed date on top of the Sydney Harbour bridge?’ the email said. It was closing in on valentine’s day, this year, when I was based in Sydney. Yes I was single, no I didn’t have any particular plans, but did I want to scale a bridge to find love? Well, not really no.
But that didn’t stop me considering it, ‘What if the Australian hunk I’ve been looking for is up there?’ I said to my flatmate. ‘You hate speed dating, you’re not that great with heights – is it worth it?’ she replied. Sure I could have fainted up there, suffered from a panic attack and been stumped with a load of losers with no get out clause, but what if I was missing out on Mr Right by turning it down? They say dating is all about being outside your comfort zone, but this was pushing it way past any sort of zone I’d found myself in before.
The problem is that dating today is so complicated – if we’re not logged on to at least 5 dating websites, if we haven’t chatted up a man in our local supermarket or re read the rules for the billionth time then we’re made to feel like dating failures. The same goes with dating events – today just plain old speed dating is so ‘old school’. If you haven’t spent the best part of an evening abusing your date at speed hating, doing your best Picasso impression at doodle dating or sweating your socks off at fitness dating then how, oh how, will you ever meet a man?
I surprisingly found myself saying no to speed dating on top of the Sydney harbour bridge, even though according to stats, over the last 12 years, 4,000 couples have become engaged whilst climbing the bridge. Yes, I could be engaged by now. So when I got home of course I had to say a big fat yes to every other dating opportunity that came my way.
First up was speed dating karaoke. Yep I had to do my best warbling impression to impress a guy. I loved karaoke and dating, seperately, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like the two together. I was totally wrong, the thing with karaoke is it attracts confident men i.e. loser/shy guys need not apply. But while my friend got matched with four guys, yes FOUR, I ended up with NO matches. Was my singing voice that bad? Obviously. I decided that applying for this year’s X factor probably wasn’t a good idea.
Then I was asked to date a fellow dating/burrito blogger. He’d been writing a blog for the last year, and having won a burrito meal once a week for a year he thought he’d incorporate it into finding a girlfriend. Now the first qualm was of course being blogged about. What if he hated me? What if he said mean things? Would I be getting a nasty taste of my own medicine?
Thankfully he blogged nice things about me. But being his last date after one year of dating a girl every week he seemed like more of a pro than me and was obviously bored of dating. So after a burrito and a couple of drinks - 2 hours later and he was waving goodbye to me! Really? Had I eaten my burrito the wrong way? Was he just dating me so he could, shock horror, write about me? I felt so used!
Then there was the zoo. No, I didn’t have to speed date with the monkeys, it was actually my choice of date after meeting a guy on dating website Doing Something. I’m not sure why I thought the zoo would be cool as a first date, but I would advise against it – unless the meerkats are offering you a glass of wine, that is. I felt like I was on a school trip, while I feigned an interest in the next animal I was wondering where the nearest bar was.
I also said yes to dating a guy from twitter recently. Now, my normal rule is that I don’t date guys from the social networking world. It can all get a bit well ‘weird and complicated’ when a first date doesn’t work out. But call me shallow - he was verging on the slightly ‘famous side’ – or maybe it was his ex girlfriends that were the famous ones....sorry I forget.
Anyway, after months of him asking me out and never actually setting a date we finally met for a few drinks in Covent Garden. He was a nice guy and I actually quite liked him, but he did have a tendency to talk about his exes. It’s normally weird to talk about exes on a first date anyway, never mind exes who are famous, and that are readily available to view on google. They were singers, glamour models and TV presenters. I unfollowed him on twitter a few weeks later.
To be honest with you even though I’m up for new dating concepts, I really like the old way of meeting men. My mum met my dad in the pub, my grandma met my grandad while out riding her bicycle. It just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, telling your kids you met while daddy was ‘trying’ to buy his weekly shop and mummy chased him round the fruit and vegetable aisle until he gave in and decided to date the ‘supermarket nutter’.
Sometimes I wish for a simpler dating life. But until then I suppose I’ll have to explore the weird and wonderful - Next? Well let’s just say I won’t be able to see my date until they turn the lights on 2 hours later – no doubt I’ll have the contents of my dinner down my outfit, so he’ll probably run a million miles. Wish me luck.....