Dating Against Humanity – My first go at speed dating.

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!

more: instagram | twitter | other dates | playlist

Adventures in Dating 13: Whoa, We’re Halfway There!

Ella reflects on her adventures in dating so far as she comes to the halfway point of the experiment

Livin’ on a prayer, lemon and a pear, kitten on a stair, etc. etc. Already we’re 50% through this series. Where has the time gone, eh?

I’ll be honest with you guys – this date was kind of a non-event. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t anything to write home about; and certainly not for 1,000 words, the average word count for these posts.

So, this is what we’re gonna do. I’ll give you a brief rundown of how the date went down, and then I’ll spend the rest of the post reflecting on the first half of this experiment, and what I’ve learnt so far.

M’s opening message to me was “Ella, delete Hinge. I’m your boyfriend now.” It was corny, but bold and to the point. I liked it.

“Haha! How doe this line generally work out for you?” I asked.

“I would call it a moderately successful attention grabber to hide my shit chat,” he said, “I usually let my looks do the talking…”

“It certainly grabs your attention,” I concurred, “There’s only so far looks can get you.”

We were pretty quick to sort out a date, as a couple of days later we met up at another London bar that does a great happy hour. With such a strong opener, I was expecting a charming, confident guy with great chat. However, I should have noted the first red flag when he openly admitted to shit chat… because it was, in fact, not great.

M wasn’t a bad guy – he was actually a rather nice guy, pretty wholesome – but we just didn’t click. In fact, I found it quite a slog at times to keep the conversation going. We had virtually nothing in common: he wasn’t in films or music, he worked in IT and, when I asked him what he did outside of work, the only hobbies he could think of were rock climbing and socialising with friends. I even asked him what he would do with his life if money was no object, and he said he didn’t know, because he wasn’t passionate about anything.

He seemed quite nervous as well, which didn’t seem to ease up at all even after a couple of drinks. Maybe he could also sense that things weren’t quite meshing. At least we decided to give each other a chance and neither of us decided to call it quits after 45 minutes. Cough cough.

So, what have I learnt during this dating experiment thus far?

I’m very forgetful.

When you’re talking to so many people, and repeating a lot of the same details of your life, things tend to blur together and I forget what I’ve said to what person sometimes. I’ve even had a few occasions going into a date and thinking, “Fuck, what is this person’s name again?!” Luckily I’ve not had any slip ups so far, not called anyone by the wrong name, or repeated something I’ve already told them.

Guys like to pay for stuff.

I feel like every now and then I hear about guys complaining that they are the ones who always foot the bill. However, I’ve found that, for the most part, they like to pay. A lot of them even INSIST on it. I don’t know if this is because we’re all victims of the patriarchy and gender norms makes everyone feel that guys have to pay. Or, maybe it’s just that the guys I’ve been on dates with so far have generally been over 30, and older guys (who are generally more established in work/money) don’t mind paying as much. We’ll never know.

It’s not a big deal if you don’t click.

I’m playing a numbers game here, so if I’ve not had a successful date, I don’t worry too much about it because I’m more than likely gearing up for the next one. And I’m not necessarily saying that you should all go on LOADS of dates in a short period of time, like me. However, this experience so far has me believing that there really are more fish in the sea. Of course, I live near London where I have access to thousands of strangers in just a swipe. But even in less populous towns and cities, there’s always going to be someone around the corner, eventually. There’s no point on dwelling too much on something not working out. If you don’t click with one person, there’s almost always going to be someone else out there who you will click with.

Many people don’t practise what they preach.

A lot of people will post on their dating profiles “say something more interesting than hi” or “don’t bother if you’re a time waster” and the classic “not looking for a pen pal.” These people are, more often than not, the ones who are uninteresting, unable to hold a conversation, or reluctant to initiate a meet up. Funny that, eh?! I could do a whole other series on dull duds and no follow-throughs of the datin pool (and there would be more than 26 of them, i can tell you that for free).

People love to go ghost.

I’ve had three occasions so far where I’ve chatted to someone, got on well, arranged the date… but then they go quiet a couple days beforehand. Even when I’ve nudged them to say, “sooo… are we still meeting up?” Nada. Nil. Zilch. Like they’ve fallen off the edge of the earth, or something. I don’t know whether to make a separate post about it, because it’s just plain weird how some people will ghost you before you’ve even met. And then there’s of course, people you have met IRL, gotten on super well with, and still decide to ghost you… and then later zombie you.

*

Dating is a minefield and there are times when it can get super frustrating. The incessant swiping, the endless small talk, always having to put your best foot forward to make a good first impression. However, when you don’t take it too seriously, it can be tones of fun. I’ve had people asking me if I’m having a good time with it, and I honestly am. When you take away the pressure of finding someone – whether it’s ‘the one’ or simply the one ‘right now’ – dating is such a great experience. I’m meeting all sorts of people that I probably wouldn’t have met before, having a ball, and learning a lot about myself in the process.

The journey’s not over yet, there’s still so much to explore. Bring on the next 13 dates!

The soundtrack to this post is also super obvious and if you haven’t guess it by now then, frankly, I am appalled.

(Lol, just kidding. It’s this one.)

more: instagram | twitter | other dates | playlist

Adventures in Dating 12: Runaway Lover.

Adventures in Dating, where Ella goes on a great with a Hispanic Fuckboy who then ghosts her

It’s the age old dilemma – you sleep with someone after the first date and then you don’t hear from them again. A problem that I’m not exactly unfamiliar with, but hadn’t encountered in a while. And let me tell you, it doesn’t feel great the first, second or any other subsequent times.

Does anyone remember this onimus tweet I posted a while back? Well, hold onto your butts and let’s rewind, shall we.

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Adventures in Dating 11: A Date with a Mate.

In this installment of Adventures in Dating, Ella goes on a date with a friend and over analyses everything

I was slightly nervous to write about this date. Part of the reason why there’s been such a gap between posts on this blog (other than life getting in the way and then being ill), was that I knew I had to reveal this date to the world soon. Because, dear reader, this date was with someone I already knew, and who also reads this blog.

*mic drop*

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Adventures in Dating 10: Sugar Mamma Mia.

Adventures in dating whimsicella goes on a date with a sugar mama

J greeted me with a simple, “hey, pretty lady,” which was always going to grab my attention, because I am a pretty lady who loves a compliment. I matched with her around the time I received news about landing my new job, so I was pretty excited about it and telling everyone who would listen. We discussed that for a while and made other polite chit-chat before I asked her out for a drink. Because if I’ve learnt anything so far during this experiment, you have to make things happen as soon as possible, otherise you get stuck in a forever limbo of chatting to a stranger that you don’t even know is worth your time.

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