I went to a speed dating event called Dating Against Humanity
And everyone was more dweeby than they were crass.
It’s funny how society changes, isn’t it. Tattoos used to only be for people who stab you and steal your wallet, now they’re for anyone with skin. And we used to think speed dating was only for people who wore turtle necks and glasses, and now it’s for people who just want to get out of the house sometimes. In my humble opinion, group dating is still as lame as it was the day it was invented, but somehow society has managed to dress it up with all sorts of weird variations on the concept. You can speed date silently, or over Ping Pong. There’s dating for cycling enthusiasts and people who like to play. And now you can attempt to find love over jokes about being paralysed from the neck down.
If you’re not familiar with Cards Against Humanity, it’s a game with a dirty/racist/sexist deck of cards, each competitively used to complete obscene sentences. The dealer chooses the best answer and the person who wins the most rounds wins. There’s something to offend everyone.
I thought I was safe because I was able to ignore the vulgarness of words like “eating ass” and “fanny farts”. Alas. I still felt genuinely offended at the flip of a card with Madeline McCann’s name written on it.
It’s also one of those games that you have an absolute knee-slapping ball of a time playing once with friends, but then the second time you play it you’re immune to the humour so you’re just a bit like, why the hell am I out on a -1°C night playing this game with a bunch of nerds looking for companionship?
Well, an awkward dating experience is an awkward dating experience. And I can fly my doing-it-for-the-blog flag as high as I bloody well like.
Though, I probably do need to admit that there was something inside me that hoped I’d find eternal happiness with someone after bonding over the “whipping lower class white men into a xenophobic frenzy” card.
The venue was a good choice (bar the £9.50 I was charged for a glass of wine). Pereni & Pereni is this cosy little bar below Ponti’s Italian Kitchen near Oxford Circus. It’s awesome in that it was once an underground carpark and the yellow lines painted across the cement floors are a fascinating dead giveaway.
“The rules are simple, but really quite horrible,” announced Stuart, the event’s facilitator, before sharing what the rules were and reminding us that it was still a dating event and to make sure we chit chat too. I mean, you can imagine how easy it is to get wrapped up in a big black cock joke and forget you’re there to find a soul mate.
There were four tables which the guys were instructed to rotate between every 10-15 minutes. I was sat on a table with two funny girls, Lucy and Anna, who had booked the event months ago while drunk. I assumed as a result of the “why are we single?!” type conversation I often engage in with my single gal pals under the influence.
The different groups of dudes brought different types of energy to our table. The vibes with the first group were good because we spent about ten minutes small talking before the cards were handed out. It consisted of three guys who had all come alone. One was visiting from Canada and thought it would be a good way to get to know the locals, which um, I guess so!
The next group was super awkwardcado, with the silence at our table particularly obvious when all the other tables roared with the laughters. One of the guys managed to break the silence but couldn’t quite crack the awkwardness when he suggested we go around the table doing introductions. I don’t think anyone considered going home with anyone.
During the third sesh I was seated next to a 22-year-old unemployed fella who thought the game was H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S. Like, seriously funny. He’d pick up a new card, laugh laugh laugh. Someone would read something not even remotely funny, laugh laugh laugh. I’d punch him in the face so he’d shut up, laugh laugh laugh.
Obviously I couldn’t really do that because he told us he spends his unemployed-ass time raising money for charity (and playing Nintendo, I bet).
After the last game Lucy and Anna legged it, leaving me alone to finish the small talk. This led to the revelation that the guy next to me once tried out a polygamous relationship for a week. A week! Then he dumped ’em all.
And then I think I socially crippled the guy across from me just by speaking to him and looking him directly in the eyes. Or maybe he just thought I was ugly, I dunno.
Group dating is a massive thing in lonely old London now. I’d really love to know the success rate of it all. It just feels so, like, I dunno. Desperate? Probably because it is. In fact, I bet anyone in a group dating situation would admit they were there out of some level of desperation. If they said no, they’re not being honest with themselves. It’s the same with the apps; if you’re using them, ya lonely.
I admit my use of such technology is more vibrant on a Sunday night when I’m eating homemade curry for one. Though, I recently told a friend that I had resided to the fact that all compatible men my age are now in a relationships. They’re having kids, getting married, blah blah. I’m almost 31 now. So I’m going to have to wait another four years or so to catch the men falling out of failed marriages.
Am I right?
Dating Against Humanity is an Original Dating event and they run loads of them – always selling out. So if it sounds like your jam, it’s worth checking out. You just never know the sexiness you might find in someone’s dark side. It’s a £20 experience, plus drinks.
SUBSCRIBE TO COMFORT IS FOR WIMPS
I liked your article. It’s funny. I think that we should stop being ashamed about being lonely byproducts of a consumer society that even tries to sell each other to the highest-status/best-looking/richest/coolest/whatever bidder. The dating apps thrive on selling our own legs back to us, a gram at a time.
We should make “desperately-lonely-jeezo-i-need-to-get-out-of-the-house” events. Scream it from the rooftops: “I am not a product!”
I totally think that desperation should be off-the-table in the culture wars. Think of that uncle in Fellini’s “Amarcord”, drunk and refusing to come out of the Olive tree…
I fully comprehend the right-wing’s recruitment strategy and Tinders algorithm is to blame, lol… this sword cuts everyone as it is encouraging photogenic people to reproduce and where will this leave the rest of us?
One side note, while you may be totally right about your unemployed nintendo-playing buddy, withholding that snarky judgement is useful because you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and we are all basically hiding in shame from the judgement that someone/anyone could make about our waistline/hairline/pocketbook/apartment/neighborhood/vocation/age etc…
One is advised to filter selectively when picking a mate, of course, but I am left with a slightly bad taste in applying such snap judgements. Who knows, maybe he’s a drug dealer.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciate that people are still finding these articles!