While I have been single I have spent a lot of time getting out there and meeting new people in different ways. As love coach Matthew Hussey says, ‘If you want to have a better chance of finding the right guy, you have to begin with meeting more men. Not one more, not two more, but a lot more. The more men you meet, the more you increase your chances of finding the right one.’ This approach Hussey speaks about in his bestselling book Get the Guy is called the Philosophy of the Funnels, where every person you meet goes into a theoretical ‘funnel’ and only the ones with romantic potential fall through the end and into the ‘dating funnel’.
Essentially, the more people you make the point of meeting, and the more chances you take at ‘getting out there’. This means you have more potential for meeting your soul mate.
This has been a little bit difficult for me; I generally hate people as a rule. I’m a social butterfly but an introverted extrovert and I would rather not have lengthy conversations with people because I don’t really know what to say. While I don’t actively go out of my way to follow Matthew Hussey’s suggestions of striking up conversations with people in the coffee line and people reading books, I guess I have technically been doing my own form of ‘getting out there’ in order to meet new people.
I’ve tried dating in many different ways and forms. I’ve swiped on Tinder, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish, but Tinder has seemed to be the most effective. Bumble took away my game (being the OG girl who texts first was how I started conversations uniquely, so being forced to do it on an app took that away from me) and Plenty of Fish overwhelmed my spam inbox with emails in the first five minutes and I was too scared to open the app again. Tinder resulted in several dates with several different guys for varying periods of time, but Tinder is also well-known to be seen as a ‘hook up’ app and not for those looking for a genuine love connection.
Unfortunately, in my experience this does seem to be the case. It’s great for dates and sex, but not for love.
I’ve tried other options as well, such as meeting potential partners more organically through work, friendship circles, travel and even developing an interest in a male-dominated sport that basically forced me to get up close and personal with many different types of men. It was great, and certainly there is a classmate or two who is interested in pursuing things further but the connection just wasn’t there and a successful relationship wasn’t forged.
So what do you do if dating apps and organic meet ups aren’t working for you?
You force yourself to meet guaranteed singles in your area by going to speed dating.
For those who don’t know, speed dating is an event that is held where men and women are rotated around to meet each other over a series of short dates that last approximately five minutes each. At the end of each time frame the organizer rings a bell and the participants move on. If there is interest shown (usually by writing it down on a piece of paper) then the organisers will provide the contacts to the chosen participants at the end of the night. Essentially, it’s a safe way to weed out the creeps.
Speed dating has quite the rap. It is seen to be a popular form of dating and has been showcased in many forms of popular culture such as The 40 Year Old Virgin, Sex and the City, Movie 43, Hitch, Gilmore Girls, The L Word, Valentine and a whole host of different romantic comedies. It is essentially seen as a ‘rock bottom’ type situation where the insecure but beautiful heroine has exhausted all of her options until the hero sweeps her off her feet, or the guys just kind of want to ‘practice’ the art of the pickup and use the lonely hearts at the speed dating event to do just that.
So with this reputation, does speed dating actually work and is it worth your time in this world of instant gratification?
Well according a study in the New York Times it does seem to be effective, especially in backing Matthew Hussey’s funnel concept of meeting as many new people as you can. The study highlighted that participants in speed dating events average 2 in 10 matches, while online daters who use only apps like Tinder and Bumble get a match of 1 in 100 profiles. That’s a lot of missed chances based solely on how good your photo is on your profile!
Based on these numbers, and my general unlucky-ness in love, I decided to give speed dating a go. It was the day before Valentine’s Day, which was honestly the worst day ever, and I just happened to get my divorce papers in the mail so I almost cancelled to stay home and cry into a bottle of wine but I forced myself to go and find some kind of love connection.
Or at the very least get drunk in an appropriate atmosphere that won’t allow for crying.
So off I went to the bar, where I immediately started downing free champagne. We took our seats and our friendly neighbourhood host told us the process. The men were currently mingling in the adjacent bar next door and we should sit at whatever table we would like and the guys would come in at 6pm and take a seat. After our five minute dates a bell would ring and the guys would move to their right while we took any notes if we were interested and then the host would text us the details the next day.
And suddenly we were off! The guys came into the area and went to their seats. The first guy who sat at my table was a bit difficult to talk to but the idea that at least it was guaranteed only five minutes of awkwardness was a lifesaver! When the bell rang he moved to the right and our next dates continued as I poured more champagne.
Despite the fact that I was very much the lonely heroine who had exhausted a lot of options, I actually found my approach more similar to the classic stereotype of the guy looking to ‘practice’. I found myself starting conversations in different ways, asking different questions and revealing different things about myself in a practicing way to find out what guys responded to better. I found that revealing my unique quirks, such as being a genre writer, and loving horror movies worked more effectively on the different guys coming through. This is also a unique way I market myself on dating apps, so it was interesting to prove that an interesting approach or hobby is always more successful than the benign ‘how are you going today?’
I was getting a little more flirty as the booze set in and I sparked up the courage to ask about the other girls in the speed dating event, as essentially they would be my ‘competition’ in landing one of these men. Some guys highlighted that some girls were very enthusiastically ticking yes or no in their little paper forms right in front of the guys themselves, which honestly is a super ballsy move but one that apparently wasn’t reading well with the nervous guys here. I was too scared to write any of my opinions down while the guys were still there in case they saw what I was thinking so I can definitely see why it would be off putting.
But I guess that it’s a good indicator on feeling and means you don’t have to be shy about what you want. If both of you don’t match you’re not going to get the number you want so its worth making your intentions obvious.
But sometimes your intentions aren’t as obvious if you are trying to pull away politely like us good little girls are apparently trained to do from birth. I realized that this form of matching was a great way to avoid the awkward fake number giving, blocking from social media aspects when my very last date decided to hit me up after the event had officially finished.
People were milling around and chatting to people they had met and unfortunately this last guy was extremely insistent that he buy me a drink, even though he could see I was quite drunk already. This guy was not attractive to me and seemed quite smarmy so I didn’t really want to stick around but I felt awkwardly obligated to chat with him until I downed my white wine. Seeing that I was drunk he coerced me into giving him my name and number and then proceeded to Facebook stalk me, following me the next day on all social media platforms I had.
So case and point, speed dating is great if you want privacy and security in your search for mate. You only get numbers if you match with them and if he hadn’t attempted to get me drunker he never would have hit me up the next day only to be turned down pretty harshly on Valentines Day (#sorrynotsorry).
Despite this interesting lesson learnt, speed dating did in fact earn me another date with someone I probably never would have actually met in usual circumstances. Out of the twenty-five guys I had essentially interviewed and dated that night I only had a real connection with one of them and was attracted sexually to another. Luckily for me, they both apparently felt the same way because the host sent me both of their numbers the next morning. The one I wanted to fuck dropped out of the race pretty quickly due to the fact that I was told (by the other guy I liked) that he had simply been pinging all night and was a drug dealer, but the guy I actually liked earned another coffee and drinks date a week later.
Unfortunately, the trail went a bit cold after that but in a more organic way. Nothing had eventuated but we had a nice time chatting and getting to know each other, and it earned me a free coffee so I would definitely chalk that up to being a success. Matthew Hussey was right — the more people you funnel in, the more chances and opportunities for dates come out of it.
And while this funnel approach is great for finding potential love connections, it also works for finding friends and new cool people to hang out with as well. Case in point, a friend of mine runs an event company that hosts dating events with dogs. The premise of the event is that you attend these events and your dog acts as your wingman, because it is simply an accepted aspect of dog ownership that people are going to want to come up to you and talk about your dog. It’s a great ice breaker and if you don’t have any conversation starters up your sleeve talking about your best buddy works.
Attending this event was something I had taken a chance on after winning a competition and it was successful in providing not only a lover (I started seeing someone that I met at the event for about three months afterwards), but also met a new best friend and a potential dog adoption too. Now that’s what I call a success!
These unique out-of-the-box events are a casual and organic way to meet new people and I have found these types of events where you have something in common has actually been way more successful than speed dating. You’re guaranteed to be a dog lover, so you’ve already got me there.
However, I do think that going to at least one speed dating event is worth the time, even if it simply gets lonely hearts out of the house and chatting to new people. It’s a fun experiment to do while you are single and it’s along the same lines of at least having a go on Tinder and swiping through a few profiles — it’s a single right of passage.
So don’t think of speed dating as the rock bottom options or the practice sessions. You could seriously find someone worth loving there, and if not, at least you got a few free drinks!