Speed-dating II: The Revenge OR How To Meet Someone When You’re Over Thirty

Recommended sanderwich: It’s halloumi and balsamic vinegar fried peppers with rocket, because you’re dating and you’re trying to look sophisticated.

I went speed-dating again. If you know me or you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I’m very bad at it and that last time I did it was a disaster. I must confess that part of the reason I did it this time is because I thought it would make a funny blog. On the day of the event I realised that I’d actually have to go through it again, because I’m not detached from myself just watching my own life like a movie. On that day, I hated myself. Oh, how I deeply despised myself. However, as I’ve also previously mentioned, I’ve been doing lots of things that scare me in recent times in an effort to ‘grow’ and ‘become a better person’. I am a woman of constant terror – stick that in your harmonica, Bobby D. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is truly when we learn the most about ourselves, and I’d signed up to another bout of self-knowledge.

The event I tried this time was called Compatibility Cabaret, and it was much more fun than the speed-dating event I tried before. A group of musical comedians were hosting it. They performed songs in between the more date-y bits, and it took the focus off the MEET SOMEONE pressure. On top of this, it was done as a series of games and questions; there were no one-to-one dates. I found this much less stressful as a process. The questions ranged from the factual to the personal and depending on your answer you went to stand at a particular colour of table. You were supposed to look out for other people who stood at your table a lot, because those would be the ones you had lots in common with. Every five or so questions there was a kind of discussion round with whoever was at the table with you. I was surprised to find out how few people had kissed somebody at a work party during a game of I Have Never, but they were a fun bunch in general.

I don’t feel like I was amazing at it this time, nor I think, will I ever be. But, I left a note for a person who left a note for me. We swapped Twitter handles. I know! How modern! I am a very modern woman. In the end, it didn’t come to much, but it was nice to make a friend. How then, does a woman of a certain age (thirty-one) meet a lover in London? It’s something that crosses my mind between one and twenty-seven times a day. Here are the five best ways to meet someone in London if you’re over thirty.

1)      Regular Internet Dating.

Whenever I get a message from someone these days from the dating site that I am signed up to, I just feel irritated. Yes, I am an irritable person in general, but I just can’t be bothered with this anymore. You have to go out into the cold to meet a stranger who will only disappoint you. I wish the disappointment came in a big, catastrophic way. If the person you went on a date with was truly awful, or verging on the psychopathic it makes a great story. But usually, they disappoint you because they’re just fucking dull, they’ve never even heard of Twin Peaks (?!), and at some point during the date you realise that they are the kind of person that kisses their dogs on the mouth. Ergo, they will never kiss you on the mouth. I’d rather stay in with my electric blanket and a good book.

2)      Irregular Internet Dating, or those apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Brenda. Yes, the lesbian one is called Brenda. I know.

Oh, I’ve been on them. I’ve been on them alright, and they are fun. On Tinder you get to throw people away and they get a big ‘nope’ stamped across them! It is with fervour that I play the best misanthropist card game in existence! Nope, nope, NOPE! For hours. I realise that it might be something in my attitude that needs to change, but honestly, could you resist? Then you are a bigger man than I. These apps were designed more for hook-ups than dating, although people use them for both. Personally, I’d be too frightened to invite a stranger over to my house based merely on two exceedingly flattering photos of them. They could turn out to be a psychopath! Or smell really bad! They could steal your crockery! Of course, equally they can turn out to be a psychopath if you know them in real life first, and more often than not you only realise several years into the relationship. We all know that most people are murdered by somebody they already know. We’ve all watched the crime dramas and detective stories. But, I feel like you’re really decreasing your odds of getting a heads-up on the axe murderer front by inviting someone over straight off The Tinder. Plus, similarly to the other kind of internet dating, there is no predicting chemistry. And British people are so polite/repressed I think that if I invited someone over for a dirty bang and we didn’t fancy each other, we’d probably end up having a stilted, uncomfortable courtesy fuck anyway. And I’m not that desperate. Yet.

3)      IRL, at a club, bar or pub.

Haha, I said club. I’m over thirty! I don’t go to clubs! I’m old, my joints hurt, and I have an electric blanket, why would I go to a club?! People my age have dinner at each other’s houses because they’ve got huge mortgages or barbeques with the same old couples you yourself set up years ago. Side note – I work extremely effectively as an aphrodisiac for others, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s like an Ancient Greek punishment – Sisyphus has nothing on me. My punishment that continues forever in Tartarus is that I cause other people to get together, yet I am destined to be eternally alone. I’m thinking of hiring out my services for some dollar, though. Anyway, that leaves us with bars and pubs. It’s hard to approach strangers in a bar. The idea of chat up lines makes me want to die. And my friends are probably better company than that person over there, sobbing into their pint.

4)      At a house party.

This is really the  only feasible way to hook up with someone I fancy because a) I invited them to the party, b) they have been invited by one of my friends, or c) I might actually fancy a stranger because it’ll be a friend of a friend and we’re more likely to actually have something in common. Sure, obvs most people will be in a couple. But there will be some singles, there will be a tiny mouse-hole of hope. The problem for me here is that after the initial jokez and piss-taking bit of flirting, I can’t take it to the next level. I become so self-conscious I’m rendered almost entirely immobile. And I probably have a lot of guacamole on my face. Before in this blog, I gave the advice ‘Life is like a sandwich, you get out of it what you put into it, so stuff it full of all the things you love’. The original phrase comes from an ex’s grandmother and was actually about soup, not sandwiches. Having a conversation with a friend recently, she told me that I had to show someone if I fancied them, for it ever to move into a sexual context. I replied “you mean I need to put sex in the soup?”, “yes” she replied, “yes you do”. Anyone want to come over to mine for soup?

5)      At a class or place of mutual interest.

This is the perfect way to meet someone! I’ve seen the rom coms, we meet in writing class. We disagree about everything. Then we meet in a social situation and get on like a house on fire. We go back to mine for soup. Does it really work like that? Well, I took a fuck-tonne of classes last year. I met lots of wonderful, funny, interesting, talented people, people that I genuinely cherish. But did I meet anybody with whom I could make a mutual agreement involving the tessellation of body parts? Hells no. Not a single one (geddit). Maybe I’m going to the wrong classes. Life drawing, anyone? Embroidery?

The truth is I don’t want to actively look for love or sex or whatever. I want to find it organically. I do loads of stuff, and I have a lot of friends, surely it is statistically likely that I’ll meet someone I like? That’s taking the Ancient Greek curse out of the equation. However grumpy or stand-offish I seem at first I actually love people. Not just in a ‘I find them fascinating’ way, but in a connecting with someone, really connecting is the whole sodding reason for existence. Whether it’s just in one specific way, a transient moment, or whether it’s someone you feel like you really get along with in almost every way. I just fall down on the boning element. Soup anyone?

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