So speed-dating, hay? Why don’t we call it slow-Tindering. Four minutes is a really long time after all if you’d rather have swiped left.
I wasn’t that keen on the whole speeddating idea but Valentines Day is coming up so I felt I had to do something about it. With about 20 singles to meet, the night promised to help avoid a lonely Valentines day, if not more. My Russian mate was in a similar situation, equally keen to do something about being single and equally willing to pay the price to pay: presenting yourself to 20 random girls hoping that one would be the one (the one forever or the one till February 14, that was TBD).
The rooftop setting with the potted plants and dim lights under a sky full of stars did give the instant romantic twist to the mechanical set-up of twenty dates rotating every four minutes by the ring of a bell, like a dating assembly line. Not that Tinder is not a machine by the way. But swipes made on the scoring form with paper and pen did give an old-school charm to the event that can’t be matched on a screen.
The first lady who landed on my table definitely would have received a ‘super like’ from me, if she was on Tinder. Partly for her charm, partly her looks, definitely her elegance. We were novices in the speed-dating rituals, the basics of ‘where are you from and what do you do for work and where do you live’ kind of got us stuck in the opening rituals of the conversation.
Somewhere near the third minute I landed ‘So what is your biggest passion?’
‘Oh well that’s an interesting one’
‘I like singing’ I added to make her feel more at ease revealing my own passion that I am really bad at, but is a passion nevertheless.
‘I sing in the shower when no-one can hear me’
Excellent, a great entry into her drive and interests. Before I could ask the follow-up question, the bell rang, off she went.
Not entirely sure whether she’d swipe me right on the score card, I could only hope for that. There wasn’t much time to contemplate on how I felt anyway, the next lady took a seat already. She was nice, but we didn’t click. I marked her as a ‘no’ on the score card. Let’s be honest, you can’t date everyone. It happened a few more times, four-minute intervals can indeed be long if you don’t find that spark.
I got slowly bored with the same set of general questions on what you do for a living etc. Suddenly a lady opened with:
‘so what is your favourite pasta sauce?’
‘Hahaha. Does that say something about my character?’
‘Nope. But it’s something different to ask.’ She frowned her head and gave me a dorky smile. Guess she also found out that having the same questions over and over again on the dating assembly line is not adding to the fun or chances for a romantic future. I could tell she was a strong woman, up for fun and not easy to please.
‘Arabiatta tomato sauce made from scratch, mildly smoky and spicy, with grated parmesan. I’m not too much a fan of carbonara, though it’s tasty and rich, it’s too heavy for me’
‘so you are a bit of a traditional man.’ she assessed me.
‘maybe. So you did use this question to find out about my character?’
‘Yup totally tricked you into it’
Four minutes were over. Saved by the bell, literally.
A couple of assembly-attempts later a lady sat down who was a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She wrote literally about everything, from fashion to travel to Sydney-neighbourhoods to events and the like. Interesting.
‘So do you write about this event as well?’ I never took this blog too seriously, but somewhere I felt the sudden want to compare my writing of this blog to hers as a professional.
‘oh I already did, honey. That’s already a while ago’
Hmmm… bummer. Who am I, thinking I am an original to start writing about dating. The bell rang, the thought was quickly overpowered by the next beauty sitting down.
Ten dates in, there was a break. The social mechanics based on four minute date-time with a random stranger hoping for love, suddenly reverted back to a normal bar where you could or could not talk to a girl, based on confidence, courage, the right moment and a bit of luck. I joined a group of four girls who had not yet visited my table, in deep conversation:
‘So nah, I don’ think the guy should pay for everything on the date, I am a modern woman’
‘Well, depends on how you look at it: thinking of the cost of mac-make-up, my evening gown, and the Brazilian, him paying a $200 dinner bill is more or less even.’
‘Not to speak of the pain of the Brazilian’
‘Indeed. Not fun. He should at least throw in a couple of cocktails for that.’
I thought one was particularly cute. It turned out she was staff…
The dating assembly line resumed operations. I was lucky that five beauties were next at my table, they saved the best for last. I could also keep an eye on my mate’s table, and was happy for him the same five would cross his table too. How often would you have the chance to compare a date with the same girl with your friend? Guess you’re not supposed to, but everyone would do it if they could.
‘So how is my competition?’ I asked cheekily to one of my dates.
‘Oh they are very nice guys, very good looking, funny, so yeah’ she nodded and gave a misty smile.
‘So yeah’, I thought, what does that mean? Is that ‘so yeah, competition is fierce, don’t keep your hopes too high’? No time to ponder on this too long. I mechanically grasped back to my safe question ‘what are you passionate about?’ the dating machine made me a bit robot-like too.
‘I’m just a normal girl, you know. Just working and chilling and having a good time with friends, so yeah.’
‘yeah’ I responded. Guess that’s the key word here. I made a mental note that the ‘what are you passionate about question’ is not that fool-proof for every girl.
Bell rang. Guess we’re not a match. Another five ladies sat down and then the dating machine halted, the evening was over. The atmosphere was different now, gleaming eyes sparked through the venue, looking for that potential lover to strike another chat with or even a phone number. Everyone kept their smiley pokerface on. So as to not reveal to anyone you are hopeful or disappointed. I found my mate in the crowd and off we went. Downstairs was the ‘favourite pasta sauce’-girl again.
‘Oh hi. So what do you think?’ I said.
‘You have a good taste…’
‘oh you are too flattering’
‘In pasta sauce’
‘Thanks. Very romantic’
Fun, definitely. Exhausting, too. And a good opportunity to get used to talk to girls as well. There were five girls I actually would be interested in. Both my mate and I got matches, yes! One was indeed the very first date of the event, pleasantly surprised. Let’s send her a text. Maybe we’ll be singing in the shower together one day.