Nervous giggles, flirtatious glances and unexpected findings, in a Tinder generation consumed with snap judgments and mechanical swipes to the right, meeting and dating someone in real life has only become even more refreshing, exciting and important. Whilst on dating apps, a photo and a quick bio can only ever showcase a glimpse of who a person is; dating face to face gives you the opportunity to delve past the superficial in search of something more. Call me an old fashioned romantic, but algorithms and pixels on a screen can never match the real thing. With that being said, when a speed dating event was hosted at Bournemouth University, I simply couldn’t resist – finally I could do some real dating!
Fast impression was the name of the event, omg, I just realised the title is a play on the term ‘first impression’ – duh! Whilst usual speed dating/mixer events feature a standard dating experience, Fast Impressions on the other hand, added the genius twists of incorporating the five senses: there were ice cubes to be sucked, staring competitions to be had, knots to be untired and chat-up lines to be embarrassed by saying. I loved the dating twists! Firstly, because they were hilarious! Secondly, I truly believe you can really find out a lot about someone, by the way they react when they are placed outside of their comfort zone. And best thing about Fast Impressions, there was a raffle for a cheeky Nandos at the end of the event!
It’s been a very long time since going on a date has filled me up with anxiety, not because I have nerves of steel – embarrassingly I have slight fear of pandas, but, it’s because I have long made the mental shift that dating isn’t about someone judging you. Regardless of the outcome, all dates should be seen as journeys of discovery and opportunities to have fun with someone new. Before the dates, I also made the decision to avoid asking the generic and boring questions, i.e. What course you do or where are you from? Instead I tried to bombard my dates with the most surprising questions ever! Usually before they have sat down or had a chance to take a second breath, I will ask them, what is your spirit animal? or what is your killer move when you step onto the dance floor?
Generally, all my dates were incredibly fun and I learned so many cool and unexpected things about each of them, however there was three women who stood out to me the most (not all for necessarily good reasons – eke!). Sitting opposite my first date, I was relieved to find her as chatty and as lively as I was, meaning as soon as our date started, it felt like it practically ended a second later. We easily talked about everything under the sun, it was like a staccato of passions, music tastes and cheesy chat-up lines (It did help that she was also stunning!).
I knew I was on to a winner with my fourth date, who adorably matched her lipstick to her autumn orange jumper. Then as soon as she flashed her 100-watt smile, I knew I was smitten. Like a school girl with her first crush, I had my check in the palm of my hand and my eyes in a dreamy daze, I could have listened to her speak for days. The feeling was certainly mutual; firstly, because I’m impossibly charming and secondly, I was able to wow her by being able to accurately describe her personality through what fingers she put her rings on – trust me it works! Luckily during the interval, I was able to get her number – I told you I was charming!
My very last date was by far the least enjoyable – verging on the gruelling. Whilst my energy and bizarre questioning was enjoyed by all my previous dates, my last date certainly wasn’t having it – in fact, it put her off. If my first date felt like it ended in a second, during my last date it felt like time had refused to move forward. All in all, I have no real animosity toward her then and now, I guess we were just very different people.
Speed Dating Tips
- Ask questions about the other person, this isn’t a Shakespeare monologue in the West End, a big part of dating is getting to know the other person and you can’t do that if you’re reciting every last detail about your Lads holiday to Magaluf (and Zante, Kavos and Malia before that).
- Remember their name, remember their name, remember their name! Remember what? Names are important, that’s why we have them and by not remembering your dates name, it’s as if you’re saying they aren’t important – and that’s just rude!
- Relax (just do it)! Dating is fun and if you are still feeling anxious, remember every person who has ever had a first date in history, has felt nervous to an extent.
- Ask the obvious questions because it leads to a cul-de-sac of conversation and ends up making the date feel more like an interview. With only 5 minutes on the clock, why waste it with something Google could tell you in 5 seconds? Be creative and don’t be scared to be silly with your questions or better yet, just tell them a funny story.
- Most people need a little Dutch courage to bring out their more confident side, but please don’t get hammered! Yes, put that 3rd pint down. First, it’s extremely embarrassing and unattractive for someone to be wasted by 8pm. Secondly, it shows your date that you have no self-control and you use alcohol as a social clutch.
- Don’t be negative! No one wants to hear how hard your course is or how much you hate David Cameron. 5 minutes is a short time, but it’s still a long enough time to inform an opinion on someone and the last opinion you want them to have on you, is that you’re bitter and miserable.