5 things I’ve learned about speed-dating

Like watching foreign cinema, getting a taste for wine and attempting to appreciate modern art, speed-dating was one of those exotic things I said I’d try once in London. I have yet to watch Jean De Florette and I still don’t quite *get* Damien Hirst but at least I can tick speed-dating off the list.

Here are five things that I’ll be keeping on mind on my next speed-dating trip:

1. People will lie about their age.

No doubt about this one. The event that I went to was 24-40 and if everyone there was under 40 then I’m Sasha Fierce. I’m not particularly bothered about dating people in an older age group (in fact I prefer to), but a line has to be drawn – mine is when a guy has more in common with my dad than me. Or bears more than a passing resemblance to Gordon Brown.

If, like me, you’d rather not date people twice your age, then…

2. Pick your age group wisely

I’ve only been once so I have yet to figure out some magic formulae. All the advice I can offer is: Think About It.

3. Don’t take it too seriously

Going to speed-dating with the expectation of finding your true love is like believing Fresher’s Week to be the best week of your life (but more naive).

You will spend the night scarily vetting everyone as a potential life-partner, which is exhausting and uncomfortable for all involved. Don’t scribble notes (unless in your head) or use planned conversation starters (”What’s your most embarrassing moment”) and then ADMIT they were planned. Having been at the receiving end of all of the previous, I can vouch that those three minutes went incredibly slow.

I had a fantastic night because I sang far too loud to 70s Disco (”Got to be real, got to be reeeeal”) attempted the moonwalk and had some interesting conversations. I did not stress about my lipstick or have a host of  cringeworthy conversation starters planned.

4. Prepare to repeat yourself

When speed-dating, the primary aim is to garner as much information as possible. And, whether we like it or not, the most efficient way of doing this is asking: What do you do?

With that in mind, don’t appear at a loss when someone asks you that very question. If your job title is more than one word then try to sum it up in one sentence. This prevents confusion and boredom.

5. Guys: Don’t ever, EVER, ask “Why are you here?”

Not even in complimentary “You’re too attractive/witty/intelligent” to be single type of way. Because if a woman is at a speed-dating event then guess what. SHE’S SINGLE. And asking her that will just confirm every speed-dating stereotyping there is (it’s only for the  desperate/ugly/socially inept) and she’ll be outta there.


6 thoughts on “5 things I’ve learned about speed-dating

  1. Alex Pullin says:

    Hey Alex, loving the blog BTW.

    I found on one speedating event about three years ago that EVERYONE lies at those events. Speedating in itself is a shallow experience as you can’t be anything but shallow and superficial in three minutes (or however little you have).

    And for the record I found that saying I was an airhostess was by far the most popular with most I told that to saying ‘yes’ to me. Second was former child gymnast. I didn’t say everyone but me lied :-)

    • alexandrasheppard says:


      I was (boringly) truthful – maybe that’s why no-one said yes to me! The whole thing was a single’s party so after the speed-dating you could go and chat to people until the wee hours – like a club, but with nametags and ice-breaker games (BTW, as I type this, I realise how awful it sounds). And that bit wasn’t actually too bad. But speed-dating is an experience I definitely won’t be repeating any time soon. Like you said, how much can you learn about someone in three minutes?

      Also, the vast majority of guys were dull – and that’s worse than ANYTHING. Even if they lied it would’ve made things a bit easier to bear.

      If I ever go speed-dating again, which is unlikely, I’ll totally tell everyone I’m an air hostess ;-)

  2. Tom says:

    I don’t see how you can complain about other people lying over their age, when you were too young to be there!

  3. JC says:

    I have never speed dated but im thinking about it. I guess the same is true with dating sites like POF ( that sucks). There are some awfully old looking 30-40 year olds and they are all looking for perfection even though they arent perfect themselves. Seems on dating sites even the barely viewable ( nice way of saying ugly as sin) and the rounder women ( nice way of saying big as a whale) think they are too good for everyone. Its no wonder why they are single. I think that most people on dating sites have social issues. Im wondering if speed dating would be the same. Dont you have to give the people your ID or some other kind of proof of your age?

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