If any of you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m getting dating app fatigue at the moment. My amount of matches aren’t slowing down, necessarily, but everyone I’ve matched with lately is either not replying or not making a commitment to meeting up, opting instead on inane in-app small talk, until I give up out of pure frustration (or until I ask them if they want to go for a drink and then they ghost me).
Someone on Instagram gave me the idea of trying out speed dating, as there are loads of events around London, and most companies operate the policy of, if you don’t meet anyone you want to see again, you’ll get the next event free. I’ve never been speed dating before – a former work colleague once floated the idea that we all go to a speed dating event last year, but nothing came of it. So, using my frustration with apps as my guiding force, I typed ‘speed dating in London’ into my browser and hit search.
I think the second company to come up was Original Dating, and after browsing their events page, I was immediately intrigued. Mostly because they had an event called ‘Dating Against Humanity’, an event they described as combining “the best in speed dating with the hit card game Cards Against Humanity to bring you a new, slightly vulgar but absolutely hilarious way to meet new people in London.”
I took the liberty of contacting Original Dating to see if they would like to be a part of my dating experiment, and they were very gracious to gift me free entry to another event – their Lock and Key Summer Party – AND give me a code for you guys who might want to try out their speed dating events for a fraction of the price! I’ll leave all the info at the end of this post, so you can read about my experience and decide for yourselves.
When I told people that I was going to a speed dating event where we were playing Cards Against Humanity, the general consensus was that CAH is a strange choice of game to play when you are essentially going on 12 first dates with strangers, and want to make a good first impression. And that’s not an invalid opinion to have. I have a tendency to overshare on dates anyway (not on purpose, and I’m not necessarily condoning oversharing with strangers… but, come on, have you met me? Have you seen my Instagram? Have you read THIS BLOG? THIS SERIES? Of course I’m an oversharer). So, for me, it felt natural to reveal my slightly weird, sometimes dark humour from the get-go. If anything, it weeds out the people I won’t gel with much more efficiently. Go hard or go home, right?
However, on the day of the event, standing in front of the venue, the nerves suddenly set in. I had been excited about the night all week, but I was having doubts. What if it’s full of weirdo losers? Wait, what if I’m the weird loser? I think going to any social engagement alone is going to spark some initial apprehension. But, I swallowed my fear, and as soon as I met the host, I knew there was no need to worry. Alicia – who usually hosts the Brighton events, but occasionally pops up to London – was very warm and vibrant, and made me feel immediately at ease. You could tell she was had a performance background, as she had a natural charisma and way with people that made her a perfect host for this event.
How it all worked was that we were sat in groups of six, and we spent 20 minutes playing CAH and getting to know each other. After our time was up, the girls stay put and guys move around to the next group. This meant that I got to sit with two other girls for the whole evening, which was nice as we got along quite well (thankfully, could you imagine what a nightmare it would be if I was lumped with people who were annoying or rude?). I did wonder, since this was all so heteronormative, if there are any speed dating events out there in the world for queer people, because I’d be interested in going.
The first group we were sat with were pretty cool. I felt the six of us got on quite well and it all felt very natural, like we already knew each other well. We all had similar senses of humour, which did well to eliminate the awkwardness that we were all virtually strangers. And made things less judgy when we were pulling out some absolutely brutal cards during the game.
After the first three lads, we didn’t get so lucky with the next few groups. The girls and I would quickly debrief after every group to discuss what our initial thoughts were, and we agreed that while most of the people there were nice, there were no sparks flying for the most part. The chemistry, easiness and ‘bants’ we had with the first group was not replicated in later groups. One of the girls, who had been speed dating once before, and she said that she noticed that the girls were often much more interesting than the guys in these things. I know, ooo burn. But I could kind of see where she was coming from.
Even for someone who is ‘good’ at dating, that first one-on-one interaction can be awkward and daunting for everyone. Because of the nature of this event – a group setting, with the wonderfully awful Cards Against Humanity to break the ice for us – things felt a bit more easygoing. There was less pressure as it felt like more of a social environment than a date one. I was asked on Instagram if I came across any scary or weird players, and to that I would say no. I think we all know what we’re getting into when it comes to Cards Against Humanity, and everyone interested in this kind of event must have a sense of humour about it. Plus, I’m not one to talk when it comes to weird – I ended up winning two out of four games!
A fun time was had all round, so I’m glad I went through with it despite initial nerves. I would highly recommend going to an Original Dating event – I obviously don’t have any other speed dating events to compare it to, but it all was relaxed and easygoing, and they obviously have a sense of humour if they’re making strangers play CAH together. I’m looking forward to sampling another one of their event in a couple of week’s time.
And did I get any dates out of it? Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out…
If this sounded at all enticing, why not book yourself into an Original Dating speed dating event? As well as Cards Against Humanity, they have Vegan speed dating, the aforementioned Lock and Key parties, chocolate making, and traditional 4-minute speed dating. Get 25% off (that’s right – a QUARTER off) your ticket price by using my code: ellas26dates. They don’t just do events in London either, they have speeds dating events in Brighton, St Albans, Southend, Oxford, Cambridge, High Wycombe, Derby, and have just started doing events in Kent, too. So give it a go – and let me know how you get on!