A SKOLLY’S GUIDE TO SPEED DATING
Yes, I went speed dating. It sounds so retro, right? The first thing that probably popped up in your head was, why? Does he struggle to pick up a woman? Does he have a low self-esteem?
The truth is that I find the idea of being put on the spot in front of a complete stranger, with absolutely no prior knowledge of their existence, and then having to start a conversation with them, extremely intriguing.
Before I arrived at the venue, I had a few thoughts flowing through my mind; like, “is everyone participating a reject of society, or is everyone going to be a hot stud and I’m going to be the reject? Is there going to be a doll with a constant twitching eye, and will I have to concentrate like a Zen master to avoid staring at this possessed eyeball while making small talk?”
Well, I was soon going to find out. I arrived at News Café in Sandton with a few scattered humans lounging around. The atmosphere seemed relaxed and inviting. I approached the facilitator who gave me a quick rundown of the process, followed by a complimentary shot which I declined unless she had one with me – to which she did. After ordering a beer from the bar, I walked around and dabbled in a bit of small talk with some of the other gents and asked out of curiosity their reasoning for attending.
Some explained it had to do with a busy lifestyle that disabled their social life, while others, I could see battled with social anxiety. After my brief chat, we were summoned to meet our possible future wives, exes, friends with benefits, or neither of the above.
How it works:
You get five minutes to build rapport with each human and ultimately, charm your way into their hearts. There are ten guys and ten girls, and you rotate to each table until everyone has met.
For the sake of confidentiality, I won’t be using the real names of the girls I met. I’ll also only mention the ones that were interesting enough to write about or we will be here all day.
We’ll call her Thandi. It started off a little bit slow in the beginning, but we quickly warmed up to each other. I tried to avoid the cliché questions a little bit and keep it more entertaining. If you’re going to try speed dating, I suggest creating a list of fun and playful questions. No one is interested in, “Hi, I’m Frikkie, I like cars, and I like to drive really fast in my car from robot to robot, what about you?” Sequential questions are terrible, and you’ll immediately sound like every piel there and she’ll be dying of boredom.
Ask something like, “If we took a flight to anywhere in the world right now, and left everything behind, where would you go?” Hypothetical questions are fokkin mooi and I suggest starting off with something like that off the bat to quickly get things going.
After throwing in a few jokes and some of my mandatory cheeky questions, she loosened up and we got chatting. She too migrated from Cape Town to Johannesburg, loves dogs (high score in my books), not really into the outdoors (minus points) but does enjoy spontaneous adventures…aaand just like that, our 5 minutes were up. It really does go quickly so make sure you get in everything you want before the love of your life disappears.
We’ll call her Sally. She was Asian, and she was fucking hilarious. When I asked her what her favourite food was, she said cats and dogs, I died from laughter. If you can laugh at your own racial stereotypes, you’ll get along extremely well with me. I have no time for ‘PC’ babies. After wiping away the tears from laughter, she continued that she was a Joburg native, worked in finance and was way too busy for traditional methods of finding a man. I really enjoyed her company.
Vanessa. We laughed for days. She had the same vulgar sense of humour as me (probably worse than mine) and we were in hysterics the entire time. She had a colourful personality and a great smile. She was an aspiring radio DJ and she dabbled on the side as a voice-over artist. Humour and laughter really do go a long way when trying to attract someone and we ended up exchanging numbers before the event was over.
Let’s call her Nicole. She was from the south of Johannesburg, aka, kak far from Sandton. She came with a girlfriend and a guy friend who pulled out just before the event started. I’m guessing he was either too shy or he saw my biceps and thought twice about his sexuality (jokes!). She was also tatted up and we got chatting about our various pieces of permanent art.
She asked what my tattoos meant, and I explained I earned the majority of them in an overseas prison for smuggling drugs across the border. She wasn’t impressed. But then I was like, “only joking!”
So, after everyone had a turn to meet each other, the event was complete. Now, during the event, you had a card where you could tick off whether you were interested in the person in either of the following ways – relationship, friendship, or business. You’d take your answers and fill them in online, and the next day, you could see who you matched answers with and unlock their contact details. This is so that you don’t have some unwanted ‘Weinstein’ stalking you.
I would be lying if I said speed dating wasn’t a jol and a half. Not only is it a way to meet a potential partner for life, it’s a great way to also make new friends and make some serious business contacts. Some of the people in attendance were in banking, engineering, marketing and acting. It really is filled with people from all walks of life.
After experiencing speed dating for the first time, I was surprised that it’s not more popular? But then I realised, it’s probably since the inception of Tinder that’s dowsed its commonality. Tinder is more accessible and it’s free, whereas with speed dating, there’s a price and you have to immediately be in front of the person to get to know them, instead of sending a few messages and slowly warming up to someone if you struggle in social situations.
If you’ve thought of speed dating, do it. If you struggle to meet people for whatever reason, give it a thought.
It really is fun.