Once upon a time there was a (slightly) lonely and (extremely) unlucky in love teacher. (You can indeed surmise that the heroine of our story is me.)
After one too many disastrous dates, Housemate and I decided to embark on a summer of love. During this summer of love we joined a couple of online dating sites and started up conversations with some very interesting characters. Don’t get me wrong – I think internet dating is marvellous, and it is a fantastic way of meeting some very nice people. But we were making no real progress, and I was starting to have some fairly serious doubts about my own hilariousness (dark times). Housemate suggested we go speed dating.
I have never been speed dating before, which would come as a surprise to all those who know me, because – I love a random chat with a stranger. I am the person who gets on a train aiming to make friends. I will be the nattering nan at a bus stop. I once had to get off a tube two stops early out of embarrassment because I asked everyone on my carriage if they’d had a good day. So speed dating sounded AMAZING. I would get to meet 15 strangers and talk to them for 4 whole minutes.
Before we went, Housemate decided she needed a serious chat about my strategy. “You’re not going to ask your ‘questions’ are you?” she began tentatively. To explain, something I love to do to start a conversation ball rolling or find out more about friends and strangers alike is to ask brilliant questions, such as:
• If you were a cheese, what cheese would you be?
• If you were a condiment, what condiment would you be?
• If you were an ice-cream, what flavour would you be?
And so on and so forth. I’m sure you’ll agree, perfect questions to ask a potential date. However, Housemate carefully pointed out that perhaps I would want to ask more ‘normal’ questions instead. Reluctantly, I agreed (after all, I could always ask them on a first proper date!)
Housemate and I dressed accordingly and arrived at the venue – The Living Room. We chose the carefully studied casual approach of having a drink in the bar beforehand, and soon selected a few likely candidates to also be attending the speed dating event. We took our seats in what had to be the hottest room EVER. I had to dab gently at my perspiring face to ensure my makeup didn’t slide down my face. I had to keep my arms clamped closely by my sides to hide the sweat patches that were rapidly forming. Worryingly, I downed several gin and tonics in quick succession in an effort to stay cool. Also, Housemate and I were sat embarrassingly close together. So close we could hear every single word each other was saying as we tried to flirt with our dates. Awkward is not the word.
Housemate and I were also appalled at how attractive all the other women were – or as I thought of them, our competition. We seemed to be surrounded by tall, leggy, blonde models. Although unsure that we had made the best start, I tried to remember Housemate’s advice regarding not asking my ‘questions’, and for the most part was successful at maintaining the illusion of normality when chatting to my dates. I have to say, most of the gentlemen that evening were absolutely lovely – interesting, funny, and charming. Except for Arrogant Man. Arrogant Man got himself off to a bad start by making a beeline for one of the aforementioned blonde leggy models before the speed dating even started, thus turning every other woman in the room against him. He then went against the speed dating code (as told to us by the event organiser) – the men should be trying to impress the ladies. Arrogant Man instead sat back in his seat and informed me that it was my job to impress him. He also dismissed every conversation line I began, and it was the only time in the evening that 4 minutes felt far too long!
Around halfway through the evening, a tall, good looking, dark haired man sat in front of me and introduced himself as Pedro. Around this point I had become bored of ‘normality’ and promptly asked Pedro what sort of biscuit he’d be, to the despair of Housemate. After some conversation over the merits of custard creams, our 4 minutes came to an end. Pedro has since disclosed that those kinds of questions make his brain hurt, and his mind has a ‘does not compute’ reaction to being asked what type of sandwich he is. Naturally I delight in asking him these questions at every available opportunity.
The rest, as they say, is history…