So last Sunday I was useless. I could barely dress myself, eat or stand without a serious concern that I might lose the contents of my almost empty stomach.
The night before I had embarked upon a Single’s Pub Crawl with Date in a Dash.
Singles Pub Crawl, three words holding so much promise for those who subscribe to the, very British regime of, getting shit faced before being able to talk to the opposite sex.
The night was sure to be even more fun, as I was meeting five awesome ‘Wingwomen’, each with dating blogs of their own.
…Arriving at Ruby Blue in Leicester Square I was already apprehensive. Remember my golden rule specified in my review on Slow Dating?
Never date within a postcode you’d never normally hang out
Oh how I loathe Leicester square.
As the bar began to fill and I collected my free shot ticket I looked around nervously until I found my tribe.
We’d never met before, but the dating bloggers and I got on like a… well like a group of girls who write about dating and relationships. Those poor poor men!
As we downed our first disgusting blue shots and, blitzed through catching up on each other’s latest blog posts, we took a moment to pause and survey the room. I mean it’s a single’s night; of course, this was a night of options and chance. But as we viewed ours it became apparent the most ‘dateable’ man in the room was in fact our host… And this was a guy who was wearing a whistle and seemed truly at home in a club before sunset in the middle of tourist central.
Well at least the girls were here, there were about to be some ‘fun’ ice breaking games and more free shots still to come. Actually thank god the girls were here!
As we milled around waiting for something to happen we began to realise that this was it. It was already happening… oh.
Talk turned to twitter trolls, male bloggers we’d all crossed paths with and some of whom a few of us had dated. The poor boys didn’t get a look in. I felt bad but wasn’t it worse to fake it with one of these poor unsuspecting saps? At any rate I was far too busy fantasising about where we would sneak off to and buy food to begin fake flirting right now. We we’re in a bar drinking shots before 7pm!
“It’s only the first place. I’m sure things will liven up…”
But I was half talking to myself as I reassured the group.
After a short and cringe worthy group meeting where the only saving grace is that we weren't forced to go around the circle to answer ‘What’s your name and where’d you come from?’ we finally moved on.
Walking out into the stark daylight of Leicester square made my stomach turn a little after the artificial night of Ruby Blue. Or maybe that was the fact I’d not had time for dinner as the event began at 6:30pm…
I looked down at my hand now branded with a large ‘P’. One of the other bloggers giggled. “What do you think it stands for?”
“Pathetic?” I joked.
Moving off as a mass body of singledom, feeling as though I was part of the saddest school trip that had ever been, I realised I might have been right. Give me Skegness and rock formations please!
We arrived at our second spot Verve Bar and found ourselves milling around again in the waves of uncertainty. After a few minutes of smiling and nodding through awkward small talk it was clear something had gone a little a rye. A double booking at Verve meant that we were back on the march moving as one. What is the collective noun for Loser?
We skipped ahead to Picadilly Institute and found ourselves in the 90s...
Retro dance floor and music to match the place would have almost been cool if it wasn’t for the fact we were almost the only group populating it. More brightly coloured shots mostly drank out of necessity, the girls and I decided to throw caution (and taste) to the wind and get stuck in. We each grabbed a guy and got chatting.
I say chatting. We got bellowing. The early bird’s clubber’s party was in full swing making it impossible to have a decent conversation.
As my guy told me his name and I nodded pretending that I’d heard, we began that inevitable awkward sway to music, that probably neither of us liked. He was a sweet enough guy and respectful, American, I somehow deduced through broken conversation. He was broad shouldered and surf styled but somehow came off as more Lenny from Of Mice And Men than Channing Tatum.
As the conversation drew on and he drew closer I excused myself to the bar so as not to be crushed like the mouse or just plane old bored to death. Both seemed likely options.
Upon regrouping I learnt unsurprisingly, although none the less disappointingly, we’d had much the same experience in our 10 minute (or possible three hour long) excursion away from each other.
On to the next bar!
At this point of the evening I imagine we were supposed to feel something similar to excitement. Unfortunately I’m all cheesy musiced, small talked, bad dancinged, sugary shotted out!
Finally as we make our way outside, leaving the 90s, the air is beginning to lay a thin shield of ‘protective night-time’ around us. As if to filter our uncool a little while we follow the man with the whistle back across Leicester Square.
So this is the option? You’re single and the virtual world of dating via the appstore and online isn’t working. Speed dating feels too intense and you can’t salsa dance and all your friends are staying in on Friday nights with the other half cruising Netflix instead of bars. Is this what’s left?
These are the thoughts I have as we trail off, part of an uninspiring group, who for the most part are still avoiding eye contact.
Before we reach Tiger Tiger the bloggers admit defeat. We’re drunk before 9pm, hungry and unmoved by our present company. I try to protest but I don’t blame my fellow dating blogger ladies for leaving.
It’s just @Singletontales (#HIF) and I who enter the final spot. The music is blaring, as we discover there are people far drunker than we ,already crammed into the over priced joint. Our free drinks seem to have run out and as we fight our way through the entrance we’re already discussing how to leave.
We decide within five minutes of awkward swaying that this is a lost cause. It’s time for food.
In short we ran away.
The highlight of my night becomes scoffing a pasty on the northern line.
So Single’s Pub Crawls, what have we learnt?
Great in theory with a few big ‘Ifs’!
If number 1 – You’re heading out into a part of town not crammed with tourist joints
If number 2 – You’re heading out after dinner
If number 3 – You have a host who’s going to force all the awkwardness out of you and get you mingling
If number 4 – You have a wingman/wingwoman – Don’t go in a pack like we did (admittedly we didn’t help a bad situation get much better).
If number 5 – You have fun!
I can see this concept working really well in some more up market bars, in cooler parts of our capital, with fun hosts who get you playing drinking games and ice breakers with the whole group.
To me single’s events shouldn’t only be reserved for the shy and those needing a push towards dating. They should be fun and a chance to get out and meet people with the same drive and enthusiasm for meeting someone new.
However I think this was a case of not finding a match with the event, let alone with a date.
If you’re new to London, you don’t know where to drink, and you’d like to meet a couple of people in a non-pressured environment then this could be a fun event for you. Just so long as you like your music cheesey and your drinks sugary!