Speed dating was created in Beverly Hills in 1998. Since then it has soared in popularity. The official match-making service was popularised in its portrayal in Sex and the City. I heard about speed dating years ago and always wanted to try it. The opportunity came when Romeo, Romeo – Juliette, Juliette targeted a speed dating service at the gay community. Six weeks ago, I bit the bullet and signed up. My attempt to bring mates failed; I ventured alone. To describe myself as nervous on the night is a massive understatement. Outside the venue, BrasserieSixty6, I centred myself with deep breaths. I eventually mustered some courage and entered the restaurant. The atmosphere, enhanced by the hosts, was welcoming and friendly. Tables with large, flickering candles lined one side of the room. Nibbly bits were on offer. Before the kick off, I chatted with many guys, assisted by a generous glass of white wine. It wasn’t long before I was at ease.
The (good looking) host, Anthony Nolan gave me my name badge and number before explaining the mechanics. “When you take your seat, write down the name and number of your date. Following your date, mark the box next to their name that indicates whether you are or are not interested in seeing them again. If you’re interested, you can opt to meet them either as a friend or date.”
Speed dating is an overwhelming experience that evicts anyone from their comfort zone. Chatting to fourteen men I never met before did my confidence much good. While I might not have met the love of my life, I did meet numerous guys with whom I would like to pursue friendship; Anthony Nolan explained how difficult it is for gay men to meet people Dublin when they might prefer not to socialise in bars and clubs.
My first date sat at table fourteen. I introduced myself and asked questions, lots of questions. On reflection, I pretty much put the same questions to every guy. Now and again, good conversation struck up, allowing me to deviate from my scripted interrogation. During one date, I asked a guy where he was from since he looked like a girl I knew. He laughed. I guess he declined to meet me again.
Looking back on the evening, I am unsure why I was nervous. Everyone was there for the same reason – to meet new people. Speed dating is without a doubt a good way to make new friends, which in today’s age is challenging. I give it my recommendation. Why would a singleton avoid it, when all it does is provide mates and dates?