The Fix Go...Speed Dating
Speed dating is not a new concept, far from it. It hit the world properly in the late nineties sparking a new way to find ‘the one.’ I’m a bit of a mixed Mary when it comes to the whole dating situation. Why? Because I like to meet people naturally and the idea of 'the one' I don’t completely believe in, having had feelings for numerous people in my life so far. However it does happen for other people and in the name of research I like to give everything a go at least once. Especially with the boom of dating apps these days like Tinder, I wanted to go old school in my dating trial. So along with a couple of my close friends I grabbed my pad and pen and went to check it out.
I met up with Ajaz, founder of Fast Love Speed dating which has a Northern focus. Now over 10 years old, the service has been running since 2003 and Ajaz comments how it’s just as popular now as ever. With modern technology and dating making its new entrance on apps, does it mean the physical face to face side of dating is dying a death? “The landscape has completely changed since 2003. Back then it was more about people never having given a go, the Sex and The City types but now it’s a variety of people that come - the only thing they’ve got in common is that they’re single” says Ajaz. “It’s way more mainstream now than it was back in the day.”
“The biggest thing we’ve got is that you’re dealing with people face to face. On the internet people can lie but you can’t lie about your appearance when you’re sat right in front of them. You can’t edit yourself, you can’t put a five year younger version of yourself out there. And even if they put an honest picture of themselves up online, you can go out with them and realise 5 minutes in, there’s something about them that can put you off them basically. With speed dating you get a taster of what people are like and whether there’s a bit of chemistry between you face to face. At the end of the day your relationship is going to be face to face."
So what do you get for your £25 ticket? Quite a bit actually. You get a welcome drink upon arrival where you’ll be checked in, given your name badge and seated ready to begin. The old me would have run at anything like this, having next to no confidence however what kind of writer would I make if I didn’t give it a go first hand? How could I review an experience I’ve merely witnessed from the outskirts? So yep, with my badge, glass of champagne and a form to review the guys, I sat down at my table.
Over the space of a few hours you’re given 3-4 minutes with each guy to find out what you wish. That night we met with 20ish men and weirdly I felt no fear. People always question: 'how much you can find out from a person in four minutes?', but I beg to differ. I like to believe I’m a good judge of character and I know straight away if there’s a vibe there or if they’re a good person. If you ask the right questions you’ll know if they’re compatible. Some guys refrained from wanting to talk about work, which is fine but you spend most of your time at work and it makes up a lot of who you are, so I honestly didn’t mind. Everyone’s different so different things will attract you to a person, whether that’s looks, personality, their profession, their passions etc.
I was asked what I like in a guy and it was pretty simple - someone who can make me laugh and someone who has passion. That doesn’t have to necessarily mean their line of work, it could be that they’re a massive family man and their admirable relationship with their nephew is adorable or it could be that outside of the 9-5 they’re a dab hand at piano or they’re a massive animal lover and that far overrides any other characteristic.
In between all of it, you do get a break, which I needed after non-stop talking. It also gave me a breather to catch up with my friends as to how their dates were going, before heading back for the second round. At the end of the night you tick which guys you’d like to see again and if there’s a match you get emailed shortly following to notify you (they also get your contact details). And you’ll also get a list of all of the guys you didn’t say yes to, but were interested in you. So in terms of organisation - top notch.
Was it as nerve racking as I was expecting? Definitely not. I love meeting new people and although I wasn’t in the market to find anyone I can definitely see its appeal. I met 20 lovely and very different guys and it’s something I’ve never done ticked off my bucket list. If you’re feeling shy about it, I’d advise going with the girls as I did, that way it’s a fun night out to share together. Since it started it’s had numerous known couples and over 150 marriages so you can’t say it doesn’t work!