A Quick Date?


Let me just say, being a single lady in London can be both fun and delightfully empowering – but not more so than when you are faced with fifteen men, a pencil and a scorecard. Which is what happened on the night I attended the Graduates and Professionals speed dating event, run by Speeddater.co.uk.

This event was aimed at single women and men in their mid twenties to late thirties who have professional qualifications and are looking to meet a like minded sort.

We arrived at the luxurious Pullman hotel near Kings Cross with our gladrags, make-up and best smiles firmly in place. After locating the bar for a little dutch courage, we were impressed by the decor but less so by the prices (£45 for a bottle of wine!). Nevertheless, armed with overpriced wine we took our seats ready for the dating to begin.

The rules of speed dating are simple. Each date lasts just three minutes – the ladies sit at a table and the men move around. Everyone receives a name badge, a number, a pencil and a scorecard with three boxes: Yes, for a man who you consider on a par with Mr Darcy, No for a man who you would sooner have root canal than go on a date with, and Friend – for a man so kind you feel bad ticking No.

After three small talk dates that involve a lot of ‘So what brings you here tonight?’ and ‘Are those your real teeth?’ a man who speaks terrible English breaks up the monotony. We have the date entirely in Spanish which is great fun, and good practise for me. It is after a property hungry Iranian and a TV addict with an uncomfortably intense stare that I realise that due to a man down, I will have to spend three minutes across from an empty chair.

Overhearing my friend chatting away to a man while I pretend to be invisible makes for an awkward and slightly depressing three minutes of my life. On I plunder.

After a date with a chef with a limp, dead-fish handshake, a gent old enough to be my father, and a strange man who reminds me all too much of a serial killer, I finally meet a sweet and charming man who I have a spark with. His name is Sam* and he looks a little bit like a young Hugh Grant. After the event ended, my friend and I went and had a drink on our own somewhere else. We felt a little deflated, and my friend lamented that we might need to attend a younger age group next time. Similarly I saw a few girls throw their score cards in the bin outside in a rebellious gesture. The next day I went online and entered my ticks and held my breath. Thankfully Sam ticked me in return and we have since planned a second date.

Is speed dating worth it? Yes. If nothing else for a fun night out with the girls and an excuse to get your gladrags on.

* Names have been changed

SpeedDater runs up to 70 events every month across the UK. To find a speed dating event near you go tohttp://www.speedater.co.uk

You can find the original article at: http://www.lady.co.uk/blogs/young-ladies/entry/a-quick-date