06, 11, 2017
Awkward. Uncomfortable. Last resort. These were some of the thoughts that came to mind whenever I thought about speed dating but there was always another trying to break through too and that was intrigue. You hear some absolute horror stories of Speed Dating but there’s always been something about it that has me hooked and considering going but I didn’t know where to start, so when Original Dating were looking for bloggers to trial their service I couldn’t not speak to them about a collaboration.
Original Dating is London’s leading speed dating and singles party company, starting out in 2003 with a monthly event in Clapham before branching out to the rest of London. They later included larger scale parties, niche speed dating events and lots of other popular event formats to their roster before realising the world’s first dating event icebreaker app to select your matches post event.
From standard speed dating nights with a selective age range option, they also host a range of themed speed dating events such as pub quiz speed dating, dating against humanity, scrabble speed dating and they also run the only London speed dating event especially for people of Chinese descent. With events on every evening between Wednesday to Saturday in numerous locations, alongside the larger scale parties, there really is something for everyone.
I attended on a Saturday night in their Oxford Circus location, Peroni & Peroni, a underground bar inside the Ponti’s restaurant. I was allowed to bring a plus one so I took my friend Abi and I felt a lot more comfortable going with her than I would have been going alone. I applaud anyone who has the guts to attend any dating event solo! Upon arrival you find the host for the evening who signs you off the register and gives your own unique number for the night, mine was 100, and you are told to grab a drink, take a seat or whatever you felt comfortable with whilst they waited for everyone to arrive.
You are given a sheet and a pencil so you can keep track of everyone you have met and make a note of their Mixeo number. This is very important because this is what you use to make sure you are select YES/NO/FRIEND on the app following the event. You have space to make any notes to remember them by and you also have space to write your yes or nos but really, as if anyone actually uses this when the person is sat a table over on their next “date”.
The girls are seated first and there is a number of each table so the guys know the order in which to make their way around the room. You get 4 minutes with each date and at first it feels like you are interviewing them with the standard “Hi, what’s your name and what’s your number?”… Mixeo number, I’m not that forward to be asking the phone number before they’ve even comfortably sat down.
I was really surprised by how casual and down to earth the whole event felt. It was like catching up with a bunch of friends you haven’t seen in a while. I got to meet some lovely people who I wouldn’t have come across otherwise and it made me realise that realistically how do we meet people anymore. We get drunk in clubs and potentially don’t remember what they look like in the morning or even what their name is. We meet people at work and hope that if things go sour it doesn’t cause any issues. We hit up dating apps and hope to actually talk to a normal person and not just be sent an array of weird looking unrequested genitals. How often do you just sit and talk to someone and get to know them.
Once the event is over and you have finished your dates you can stay at the bar for a bit longer or you can leave for the night. You then log in to your Mixeo app and make your selections before waiting till 5pm the following evening to find out whether you have any matches. If you have pressed YES on someone and they have put FRIEND you will get a friend match, if you have selected YES on someone and they have put NO they will not be listed in your matches at all. The app also gives you the option to message your matches if you want to get to know them a bit more before swapping phone numbers.
Unfortunately there was a bit of mix up with our booking on the night but the host was quick to try and sort this out for us and made us comfortable and do what he could to rectify the situation. Neither of us got any matches out of the evening (we’re going to blame the mix up, otherwise we’d both feel rather disheartened) but it definitely hasn’t put me off the idea of speed dating as I’m going to their St Pauls location this Friday with Ashleigh. Wish us luck!