The Great Speed Dating in Sydney Experiment: event number 1…

Sometimes, seven minutes is just way too long. As the guys shifted around me last night, one checked shirt after the after, I found myself thinking about nunneries, lesbianism, maybe even swapping locations entirely in the name of having exhausted Sydney in my hunt for suitable suitors. And then I thought, shit, I still have three more events to go! Last night was only speed dating session number one… I can’t lose hope yet, can I?

Last night’s session was via the operation Blink Dating, and involved roughly 15 guys and 15 girls swapping seats in what can only be described as a conference room, in a pub.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in to The Office Hotel were two girls, nervously sipping wine at a tall table near the bar. I knew without asking that they were there for the same thing. I plonked myself next to them, got a glass of $4 house white and proceeded to befriend them. Lovely ladies, single just like me… although one girl has actually just started seeing someone, which we felt made her being there a bit naughty. She confessed to wanting to keep her options open though, “in case it doesn’t work out”. I wanted to hold my nose in the air and declare it a selfish, vindictive act, but then I thought fuck it, why not. It’s not like she’s married.

Once we’d ignored the giant platter of mini pies, sausage rolls and other carb-laden treats on offer as part of the $50 fee (we couldn’t be seen as greedy cows before we’d even met anyone, WTF?!!? What’s wrong with carrot sticks?), we were ushered into the conference room. It was almost as if a squad team had been in beforehand with an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner and sucked all the atmosphere out in advance; a soulless place with bad lighting which, thinking back, fit the tiny-bit-desperate theme of the entire evening, really. I sat there, hoping the spotlight beaming down on my head like a spaceship didn’t make any grey hairs stand out.

The dates began. The guys were all very nice, except a weird French bloke, mid-20s with a blonde comb over, who was sporting an unacceptable, round-necked, woolly grandpa jumper. He loathed me from the start. He looked down his long, pointy nose as soon as he heard my accent and stated “The British and the French, we just don’t get along.” I laughed, expecting the same back from him. But he was serious. I said nothing. He said nothing. I sipped my wine. I felt that time itself was playing a mean trick on me, turning backwards, mocking the very notion that it’s supposed to pass. I repeat: sometimes seven minutes is just way too long.

Then came Shabang. Well… I think his name was Shabang. He was Chinese and couldn’t speak much English, but afterwards, the lovely girls I met when I first arrived agreed that they too were sure his name was Shabang, so fair play to him. If you can’t speak English and you live in Australia and you’re still intent on talking to multiple girls who’ve paid $50 for your stilted conversation, you’d better jolly well have an amusing name to help people people remember you.

There were two guys I thought were kind of interesting. I gave them both ticks on my little card. I’m pretty sure one of them will be announced as a match, but I have to wait for the email to confirm it. The other one, I’m not so sure. I think maybe the fact that I threw a drink over him might have put him off. Not on purpose of course, but in a wild gesture over something dramatic I flung my arms wide and off flew the glass, showering my date, the guy at the table next to ours, (and his date too) with an even splattering of the cheapest Chardonnay. I wasn’t drunk at that point, but as the entire room turned to look at me and one guy shouted “Taxi for one!” I pretty much knew it was over.

After the dates, I went on to Cargo Bar with a few of the others. Some of the girls, and a couple of the guys also were great and we had a nice time, although I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was part of some sort of rejects-group… like Glee but without any talent. Cargo Bar appeared to be populated with students doing that awkward kind of dancing you’re forced to do when you only have three square inches of personal space in which to move. So we left. I got a cab home and found I was locked out of my house, so I had a little cry and sat at the bar round the corner, calling people who didn’t pick up, looking like shit.

And yes, still single. Obviously.

Three more events to go, though, let’s not forget! There’s still hope. There’s still hope.

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