And so dawns a new era.
I'll admit to being an addict. I'm the first one to say I have a habit of falling into patterns and old routines.
I'm addicted to the lazy culture of dating apps. Anonymous conversations, hiding behind profile pictures, effortless flirting, just add water relationships.
But I've always had a problem with this, so perhaps it's time to change?
Sure they have their place and are a lot of fun. But, this effortless download a relationship expectation from incessant swiping, finding a match for match sake. Just because you can, because you don't feel much like reading a book before you go to bed, and no one is retweeting your latest social commentary. So you swipe. You meet and you find you have even less to say to this person than you did when you launched into generic small talk over the Internet at 1am.
Ok, so I'm not disabling my Tinder account just yet, but really, when a match is plucked from random, because they happen to be within an acceptable dating radius and know how to Instagram their profile picture, can that person ever fit into your life in any way other than as a fling?
So when the dating site DoingSomething contacted me asking if I would go along to one of their singles nights I was intrigued to say the least. A room full of potential matches. People not Pixels. I signed up to their site straight away.
The thing that the guys at DoingSomething.co.uk seem to be getting right, that all the other apps and sites have mostly left up to chance and your own desperation, was common interest.
Not only is DoingSomething.co.uk an online dating site, with all the profile pictures and edited versions of people, it has one awesome difference.
The way you make your all important first contact.
You choose date options as a way of advertising yourself and your profile. There are hundreds of date ideas to choose from on the site and of course you can write your own. The set up is; you add date options to your profile and these become choices for the other singles on the site. They choose the date as well as choosing you.
Instead of ‘Hi I’m John and I’m looking for someone with a great sense of humor who’s happy to split the bill and wont ask to meet my mother.’
You get: “John 24 N8, “Fancy a walk in Richmond park?”
Call me old fashioned but I love a walk! Yes John that 'Sounds Good!' So let's get to talking about when we’re going for this stroll.
You see, John might fit into my life, I know what he likes to do, I know where he lives. I also get a few other helpful decoders:
Height, Children, Smoker, Job, Booziness, Activeness
‘Booziness’ and ‘Activeness’ are extremely important! I’ve dated my fair share of sloths and I happen to consider alcohol the great polly-filler of awkwardness. A recovering AA member whose new addiction is Netflix, for me, would not make for a promising relationship.
This phenomenon of "DoingSomething", active dating, is almost a foreign concept for my generation who expect everything to land into their laps via a wifi connection. I find the problem with this expectation is mostly long jeopardy.
Meet someone just because you can and because it was easy doesn’t suggest that you’ll put a whole bunch of effort into the relationship to follow. Also having devices on your phone providing a virtual dial-a-fuck service, the temptation to continue swiping, even after meeting someone great, is too much to bare.
But the alternative? Talking to someone in real life? Yuck!
As a rule I never get approached by guys in bars. Over the net I can clean up but in real life I don’t know what to say, how to stand, if I’m staring and what the fuck I should do with my hands?
But I accepted DoingSomething's invitation into a singles night at a public toilet which was circulating twitter with the hashtags #boyfriendexchange and #girlfriendexchange. A singles event with a genius premise of sharing the funny reasons for your latest split. The best of the night set to win prizes of future DoingSomething style dates. I decided to be brave and take the plunge. (All puns from here on in are totally intended.)
As I walked into the old public toilet, now transformed into the trendy Kentish Town 'Ladies & Gentlemen' bar, I was eager for a drink and nervous about the transparency of the evening. However, I reasoned that the whole experience would be much like shopping in Lidl. Much more acceptable these days and no one can judge you once you’re there, because, they’re there too…
In fact it was a lot more fun than shopping in Lidl. The atmosphere was friendly, the lighting low, the people easy to mingle with and the free drink at the start of the night was strong. I ended up talking to an Entrepreneur whom I didn’t fancy, but who gave me his card, from a silver cardholder no less! Yes a cardholder! But then a 30 year old music producer, whom I did, who also later gave me his number, but like a normal person sans cardholders. He prank called my phone and tried to kiss me...
I felt surprisingly comfortable and didn’t even notice my hands the whole night.
The evening was pulled together with the reading of the best break up reasons submitted anonymously that night. These ranged from ‘He wet the bed’, ‘She looked too much like my sister’ to ‘I didn’t hear from him for months, then found out he had been in prison… also he was a dick’, I imagine he might have been.
The night was a celebration of singletons. Single by choice, bad relationships ‘flushed away’ and new, hopefully better people, brought together because of it.
By the end of the night the majority of the bar were coupled off, I think I may have even spied a few leaving in pairs whom had come alone.
I think there’s still a great deal of cynicism surrounding singles nights, and dating sites. I think the suggestion is of desperation and sadly I think guys get to bare the brunt more than women. It’s still an expectation for men to make the first move on a night out. This may have remained in 'Ladies & Gentlemen' last Thursday, but, what the night did do was break the awkward tension before that first move. It gave everyone something to talk about and a chance to laugh at themselves. And, for the extra nervous there was of course the bar, for polly-filler sake.
DoingSomething.co.uk have got tons of singles nights available to their members on their awesomely original dating site. They're such a lovely bunch of match-maker types they're even giving you guys 50% off your first month's membership! That's only £15!
Head to DoingSomething.co.uk or click the title of this blog and enter Discount Code myplaceoryours for 50% off your first month's membership.
It's a great way to meet people and the gang at DoingSomething.co.uk have some brilliant ideas on how to bring us singles together, for a new era of DoingSomething!