Ali goes speed dating

So, you’ve heard the traumas of Tinder, horrors of Happn…how about the saga of speed dating?

This “great” idea came about in the same way all great ones do….during some Friday night drinks with the girls. You see, while the majority of my friends are either engaged, married or just very happily loved up, I do still have two remaining single friends. For the purpose of this blog they will stay nameless, as while I’m quite happy to share my countless embarrassing dating disasters, I don’t think they’d be quite so keen.

Drinking our drinks the usual “any man drama?” question came up. And again sadly as usual, none of us had anything to report. … Tired of tinder and put off by POF, I suggested speed dating! Now, I don’t know if it was due to the amount of alcohol both my friends had consumed or the fact that like me they really were willing to try ANYTHING, but to my surprise both friends agreed. I’d always been curious by speed dating. Impatient and with a relatively short attention span, the idea of being able to squeeze lots of dates into one night rather than waste unnecessary time with lots of nothing guys had always appealed. So, when my friends said yes, I wasted no time in getting my phone out and booking us on – they weren’t getting out of this.

The tickets cost £18, which I’ve got to admit at first I did think seemed slightly pricey (that could get me an entire outfit in Primarni!) But, if there was a chance of finding true love (or at least a few laughs!) I thought it was probably worth it.

My friends and I then spent the rest of the night laughing about the questions we were going to ask and who we could potentially meet. However, in the week as it drew closer, their moods began to change. The jokey Whatsapps had turned into nervous messages as it dawned on them what they had agreed to.

Trying to boost morale, I reminded them that if worst comes to worse, this will be a funny story and luckily, by the time the night of the event came around they were all still in – phew!

On the day of the speed dating, my train was delayed, it was raining and of course I had forgotten my umbrella. So, by the time I actually got home, my feet were soaked, my hair was looking ‘dragged through a bush backwards’ chic and I had approximately two minutes to get ready . Thankfully, dry shampoo ( the greatest gift to females after GHDs) came to my rescue and I managed to just about style my hair so I didn’t look like a Frizzee’s commercial reject. A quick outfit change and Nakd bar scoffed, I was on my way.

Now, when I imagined speed dating I always pictured a stylish bar, sipping cocktails with loads of hot interesting guys. Unfortunately, I don’t live in an episode of Sex and the City. Instead, this speed-dating event was in a nice, but distinctly old man style, pub. Half expecting that my friends might have had some last minute nerves and decided to bail, I made a quick phone call before entering- . they were there – again few!

My feelings of relief soon passed however, when I opened the door to a depressingly empty room, with just my two friends standing looking nervous next to a faded “speed dating this way” board pointing upstairs…this was not a good sign. My fears were then confirmed when the first thing my friends asked when I got to the bar was if it was too late for them to leave.

Things didn’t improve when I heard the door open behind me and my friend said “Tinie Tempah has arrived” Sadly, she wasn’t referring to his rapping ability and a guy honestly no taller than 5ft strutted towards the speed dating sign. Trying to remain positive, I ordered a drink…surely there must be at least one normal guy there? The grin on the barman’s face when we said that we were here for the speed dating told me otherwise.

Drinks down, I somehow managed to convince my friends (and myself) that bailing at this stage wasn’t a good idea and we made our way upstairs. Suddenly, the empty pub downstairs seemed a lot more inviting as I looked around to see a room of what can only be described as ‘interesting’ characters. Okay, so I wasn’t expecting there to be a room of Channing Tatums and Jamie Dornans – but seriously, along with Tinie Tempah, there was an array of comb overs, beer bellies and people with seriously questionable hygiene habits!.

In the middle of the weird, and not so wonderful, guys there was a cheery blonde woman sitting at a table with a load of sticky name labels and form for us to sign in. Signing in the lady asked us if we had been speed dating before– Did they honestly get people to do this more than once?! Replying no, she went on to tell us that we were lucky tonight as there were lots more men than women. This lady clearly had a different definition of luck to me.

All labelled up, each of the ladies were then given a different table to sit on and a form to mark and make comments about each of the dates. We were then told the dates would be four minutes long. Now, four minutes might not sound like a long time but when you’re sat with a guy whose favourite past time is Warcraft, he didn’t like music and he didn’t agree with the cinema because it was too expensive…you’d be surprised at just how painfully long it can be.

Things went from bad to worse with date number two who decided to open with “I have three kids with thee different mothers” and number three felt the need to tell me that he was still hungover from the week before. After the geek, philanderer and alcoholic, date number four didn’t actually seem too bad. Sure, he did look like he enjoyed a pie or two and he did ask me if I wanted to play connect four …. But, he was also actually quite funny, he liked dogs (always a good sign) and he was the first one to ask me some genuine questions. Maybe there was a smidgen of hope after all.

It was then time for a quick break, giving my friends and I a chance to regroup where I discovered their dates with IT technicians, caravan enthusiasts and just plain arrogant guys, had been on a par with mine. Date number four then came up and like me, my friends agreed that he showed the most promise. However, it was at this point my friend pointed out that we were all considering was overweight, had asked us if we actually wanted to play a 5 year-old’s boardgame and had just walked to the toilet wearing a massive rucksack. Realising this behaviour didn’t exactly scream out normal, let alone dating material, suddenly, singledom didn’t seem so scary anymore. We thought it was probably for the best if we didn’t stay for the second half and made a rather indiscreet exit. Returning home we laughed about the evening’s antics, safe in the knowledge that we would never look at backpacks or listen to Tinie tempah in the same way again.

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