I’m not sure how many are willing to share their speed dating stories but it could make for some fun reading. If you don’t fancy sharing your name, although I encourage it, then there is a way to anonymously comment. For the sake of autonomy and preference, I refer to non-friendship type of meets with the opposite sex as dating – I appreciate that other words are more appropriate to people (“rishta meets”, “business lunch”, “staying the night” etc) so you’re free to use what you want.
I should also say, I’m not here to turn any dating/rishta stories into a major negativity rant. The world of dating is hard enough without being told by people who’ve never had to do it that “online is full of weirdos” or “dating events just don’t work”. I disagree with both statements as someone who has seen others succeed in both! The reason I probably write about these topics is to remind each other that we’re not alone, have a laugh at our experiences, enjoy them when we can and perhaps at times talk publicly about behaviours which are beyond acceptable.
Nearly every singleton (and some married folk, eww) are on some sort of online dating app. Towards the end of last year, tiring of the technology world after a couple catfish incidents, a friend encouraged me to sign up to a speed dating event with her. A little uncertain, thinking I know the male Glasgow population but reminded by my friend that I most certainly don’t, I bought myself a ticket. The event was aimed at Muslim singletons. No age limits (that made me slightly nervous) but a promise of equal numbers. I decided to go in positive – it would be nice to have real time conversations!
The atmosphere was pretty relaxed – the host did a good job of breaking the ice and explaining the setup. I assumed it would be a “first dates” type of situation except that I wouldn’t have to sit with one person the entire time and an inkling that I wouldn’t get as fancy a meal as the first dates restaurant. I was somewhat delighted that we had a Brummie “Fred” as our host, slightly less charming but nevertheless lovely. It turned out it was three blokes to three lassies with the guys rotating around each table – not what I had pictured at all. Thereafter if anyone was interested then the one to one’s took place (I sniggered thinking it reminded me of the broom cupboard in school). My mate had found her other friend (did she know the setup all along?) and we all sat together. Atleast there would be some banter if it got really cringe.
Cue the first rotation, one bloke sauntered upto our table. In a normal dating situation there’s a fine line between interrogation and casual questions; when there’s three women sat across one bloke, it feels impossible. He chatted about his sci-fi interests and the difficulties of finding someone in this day and age – nice enough bloke. Cue second rotation, two men across from us, the first trying his hardest to make sure we knew he wasn’t friends with the second; second bloke who, perhaps nervous, was acting like he had snorted a bagful of something in the toilets. That went a little easier, number one touched upon travelling which got me started on my own little experiences with ‘wired to the moon’ interjecting here and there. Third rotation, one bloke again and at this point, it started to feel a touch degrading – the bloke was lovely, trying to hold some polite conversation about his work however I couldn’t help but feel it was becoming slightly cattle market-ish.
As it went on, it became clear that there definitely weren’t equal numbers. A quick count afterwards showed there to be 36 women to 17 men – explains why they had to spread them out so thinly! We’re also pretty sure some of the men were the organisers who perhaps embarrassed by the last minute realisation of low numbers had forced some of their single helpers to participate. Having probably been lured up with the promise of free food and Irn Bru, I felt a bit sorry for them – not that sorry though, I’d paid money to attend this thing. Mama was promised men.
Although the blokes were nice enough, they were young! There was adorable Saj. A 21 year old gent in the making who we all found delightful and who, in turn, decided we would be the ones to garner some life advice from. There we sat, quite the wise sophisticated ladies we are listening to Saj’s love woes before sending him off with some gems of wisdom. Surely kids at university don’t need help hooking up……..do they? Go stalk someone at the Saltire centre, Cale Uni, you’re welcome (may have been one of my gems to Saj, never said it was good advice).
To me, other than the cattle market issue, the event at times felt like I was prowling at the school gates – I don’t feel a connection with younger men, a silver fox does me fine. Sadly, there weren’t many of them. Out of the two there, one clearly didn’t want to be sitting at our table – pretended he’d already spoken to us and sauntered off to join another table. He was never to be seen again – until the end when he complained to the organisers nobody wanted to talk to him.
On the part of the guys, it must have been nerve wracking – one bloke sitting across three hot women, there was much sweating. But for the most part they did well; were polite, one or two perhaps a little bat shit crazy but the rest pretty normal. Next came the one to ones. It was like being picked for school teams all over again. I didn’t request a chat with anyone and vice versa but I decided to hang about while my friends went into their broom cupboards. This is where alcohol no doubt comes in handy but being Muslim, I made do with a plate of gulab jamin. “Awwww, I would’ve picked you Fai!”, I’m told as I re-tell this story to a friend…….I highly doubt it if you’d seen the rate I was wolfing those bad boys down.
Numbers were exchanged between people with promises of future meetups. One of the girls told us that there was an initial polite message but it never went any further (it was Saj! We taught you better than that!). Did many meet up afterwards or was it a case of taking numbers but never actually taking it anywhere? Feedback from the event (I’d demolished the gulab jamins by this stage so had to find someone to talk to) was that many of the women had come looking for something more serious but felt most of the men were just there for a bit of fun (basically tinder then?). If you were one of the blokes at this thing then feel free to give me your view!
I do know of one woman however who has been talking to her bloke seriously for a while so there must have been some successes. I may have an update as I’m meeting some of the girls for a catchup this week (lack of men but some very cool women there who I became friends with…….maybe this is where I go wrong?). As a first time speed dater, I wouldn’t knock it – it would have been an okay setup if they had organised numbers better and by far the least cringe situation I’ve been in!
Post about the online world will follow in the near future so save those babies and don’t spill them yet. But do share if you have any gems from speed dating!