A few weeks ago I went speed dating for the first time. Prior to this, the only person I know who had been speed dating was a colleague who described it to us the next day as “a train wreck”. However, this seemed to be more a reflection on the men in attendance than on the concept itself and so, as men aren’t part of the equation for me, I bit the bullet and signed up for a Pink Date event at Retro Bar.
The format of the evening is pretty simple – you rock up, are given a name tag and a score sheet and told where to sit. You then have slightly awkward conversation with the person sitting opposite you and then after three minutes a whistle blows, they move on, you scribble down some notes and then start having the exact same conversation with someone new. When you get home you log onto the website and say which of the people you want to go out with. If they want to go out with you too, your email addresses are magically exchanged.
I was pleasantly surprised by how fun the evening was and how normal most of the people there were. While I didn’t meet my soul mate on this occasion, I might go again sometime and would definitely recommend it to others. If you are thinking about trying it, I offer the following tips based on my experience:
- If you are going on your own, arrange to meet a friend beforehand for a pep talk and some dutch courage (the lion’s share of a bottle of wine worked for me).
- Make detailed notes about the people you meet. The next day it was really hard to remember who was who when all I had to go on were comments like “red trousers”, “borderline chavy” or “Iceland”.
- Some of the three minute dates will seem to go on for hours (not in a good way). Might be worth preparing some hairdresser-style small talk to make these less painful.
- Before you go, try to figure out the correct response to statements like “I’m training to be an embalmer.”
- Don’t get too drunk. If you end up going on a date with someone you met at speed dating it is hugely embarrassing when they remember what you do, where you work and where you live and you can’t recall a single thing about them. This is even more embarrassing when it turns out they have quite a memorable job, for example (entirely hypothetical of course) , playwright.
Speed dating with Pink Date at Retro Bar
Players: 32 in all, I met 17.
Ages: Mostly late 20s and early 30s
Vaguely interesting fact: It’s only £1 extra to make a single into a double at Retro Bar. A very difficult offer to refuse.
Verdict: Turns out speed dating isn’t just for socially inadequate losers anymore (that, or I’m just not very self-aware) and is quite an enjoyable way to spend an evening. At £20 a go Pink Date isn’t cheap but the night was well run and attended by lots of lovely people.