Fast Impressions ‘Single in the City’ party – T1 review

30 Aug
Talking in the evening. Porto Covo, Portugal

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It’s fair to say I was filled with trepidation at the idea of attending a ‘Single in the City’ party, but not so scared that I didn’t forward the e-mail to T2 suggesting it as something ‘a bit different’ for us to do.  It’s a concept akin to speed dating, but perhaps for those who are a little more brave, because there’s no set pairing, there are 10x the people, and there’s no time limit on how long you might spend (or have to put up) with someone.

It officially started at the Uni Pub at 6.30pm but despite arriving at that time we were a bit nervous that not enough people would be there and needed just a smidgen of dutch courage before heading up to the fourth floor. Once we were feeling a little more confident, we arrived and snuck a look through the door into an … empty room.  We both gave each other a Look before shrugging and heading in—fortunately all the people (and there were a lot) were crowded around the bar and not in any view of the door, and the room continued to fill up with what appeared to be equal numbers of men and women. Phew!

After picking up our complimentary drink (as should be expected for $25!) we moved ourselves to a side of the room to do a bit of a scan of the ‘prospects’. I think what struck me then and continued to hit home throughout the night was that this wasn’t just a room of single people, but a room of single people who were looking for something. I felt there were numerous awkward elements about it, lending to a certain air of desperation and artificialness about it all. 

Because it’s not a ‘natural’ environment with a lot of stimulus like there is in say a pub, there’s (a) nowhere to go (eg you can’t say ‘I’ve got to get back to my friends’) and (b) the conversations didn’t start naturally but instead followed the same formula every time.  Yes, we really do share the same name. We used to be housemates. Yes, I was narcissistic enough to choose someone with the same name as me as my housemate.  Yes, we’re both public servants.  At one point we thought about coming up with different names just so we didn’t have to endure telling the same story again.  It’s fun to tell the first time, but 10 times?  Further, it seemed like guys were operating on some unspoken guy code where if they saw a comrade speaking to a girl in whom they thought they might be interested, they wouldn’t approach (I saw this happen with T2 on many an occasion). Probably what irked me most related to this: you could get stuck.

Okay, I realise I probably went in with the wrong attitude. But, I operate on the principle that there’s no point wasting your time making small talk with someone when you know you’re not interested. T2, on the other hand, was warm and engaging and was genuinely interested in everyone with whom she spoke, even if she wasn’t interested in them. If I’m not interested I’m a bit too good at making this known and so let the much more tolerant T2 continue a conversation while I surveyed the room. 

One interesting characteristic of the night was that most women attended in groups or with at least another female friend (T2 and I a case in point!), while a lot of men attended on their own.  This meant that regularly one gentleman would approach the both of us and it’s a little awkward for one person to conduct a conversation with two people, especially if those two people know each other.  Due to my regular loss of interest in the conversations before me, I was able to observe this happening regularly around the room: uneven numbers of men and women conversing. There is a clear mathematical problem with this!  Of course, the simple solution was to split up… but it took us a little while to come to this conclusion.

Being assertive ladies we eventually decided to take things into our own hands – realising that we were getting stuck with people because we were letting them approach us, rather than approaching the people with whom we were interested in chatting. Once we’d rectified this, we (both, I think) started to have much more interesting conversations and a better experience.

Ultimately, if you’re having trouble meeting people, this is probably a good experience.  However, I think for it to work best you need the right combination of confidence (approaching people), tolerance/good attitude (you will be approached by people you’re not interested in and it’s not very endearing to look at the ceiling… as I may have done…), assertiveness (being able to thank someone for their time and moving on once it’s past its use-by) and mathematical ability (two + two = good, two + one = bad, three + two = bad and so on). 

Personally, I’d rather put these skills into use in a pub where I don’t have to pay $25 for the ‘privilege’ of meeting other singles.

Worthwhile factor: Don’t bother

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One Response to “Fast Impressions ‘Single in the City’ party – T1 review”

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  1. Be My Wingman? « In The Taratory - February 16, 2012

    […] and friendly. Loyal readers of our blog (are there any of you? Haha ) may remember the review that T1 and I wrote on the Single Mingle night last July. Anyway, BMW had the same type of concept – […]

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