Date like you mean it: Speed dating tested!

We sent out fetching guinea pig out on a variety of break-neck dating schemes to be found across Melbourne

Only the brave (or stupid) say no to their editor, so when asked to go undercover as Time Out Melbourne’s intrepid speed-dating reporter, my response was: “Yes ma’m...” and “...can I borrow those boots?”

In one week I road-tested three speed- dating organisations, going on 38 ‘dates’, at which I had six awkward conversations, 12 inadvertent blushes and a nasty mid-week hangover. May that chubby little bastard with the bow and arrow be kind to you...

Speed Dating Melbourne

THE PREMISE
This is your no-bells-or- whistles, straight-down-the-line speed-dating affair. You’ll go on 18 four-and-a-half-minute dates, get a free drink (served midway through the session, so be prepared to dig in your pocket if you need Dutch courage on arrival) and some spring rolls – if that’s an incentive.

THE RULES
On arrival you’re handed a name badge and a scorecard. The card is split into two sides. One side is for ‘notes’ (so you can note who owned a yacht and a small island in the Caribbean), the other a simple tick box with ‘Date’, ‘Friend’ and ‘No’. This is how they will match you later.

IS IT FOR YOU?
We’re looking at the suburbia of the dating world here. If you’re looking for a ‘nice’ guy/girl with a ‘good’ job and a safe car you could discuss consolidating your mortgage repayments until the buzzer goes.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Some of the guys abandoned us in the break, which left ladies without dates in the second half, but for the most part people are friendly. As weekday entertainment it made par, but I personally wouldn’t surrender a Friday night to do it again.

COST: $48

AGE: Age bracket ranges between 21 and 35 depending on the event

LOCATION: Varies event to event, but it could be a gastro pub or bar in the inner southern suburbs

Dating Safari

THE PREMISE
As all great adventurers know, hunting and dating are dangerous sports and are better not attempted alone. That’s why the organisers of Dating Safari believe in safety in numbers (two wingmen, to be precise).

THE RULES
For the male of the species, it’s a three-man bar crawl where women are guaranteed to speak to you – because there’ll be Dating Safari women stationed there. You have 30 minutes at each bar to determine whether you’ve found some suitable prey to chat up. By the end of the adventure you will have visited five bars, spoken to up to nine lady creatures and will be, quite possibly, rather legless.

If you’re of the fairer sex, you’re given a lone watering hole for the evening to share with your three fellow huntresses. Every 45 minutes a different group of guys will descend upon you. Whilst there are no forms or tick boxes at this affair, there is a meet-up bar after the last group in case you want to follow up with a favourite.

IS IT FOR YOU?
While there was a no-show group of guys tonight (bad form guys!), the premise itself is strong and the communication from the organisers is solid and delightfully tongue in cheek. If you’ve got the right friends with you it has all the makings of being an abso- lute hoot regardless of the other participants.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
The advantage of being in the one spot is the bartenders are all ‘in’ on the festivities. If you’re lucky they may even provide you with their opinion on prospective suitors – if not a flirtatious interaction of their own. (Hee-hee, simper, etc.)

COST: $75 per team of three plus booking fee

AGE: 23-35

LOCATION: Fitzroy and Geelong

Silent Speed Dating

THE PREMISE
If you think you’ll scream the next time a date tentatively asks you, “So what do you do?” then you might be in the market for some silent speed dating. This small talk- free environment is part workshop, part dating.

THE RULES
You’ll be taken through six or so guided exercises designed to promote “conscious relating”. Basically, you’ll be sussing out someone’s vibe in a meditative manner. Boundaries and expectations are clearly defined by both male and female facilitators – so no trying to talk someone into going out with you in the break.

IS IT FOR YOU?
It’s a little left of centre and takes a leap of faith, but it might just be worth it. This isn’t just about getting a date, it’s about exploring the way humans connect with each other. Of course, if you find a spunk with the positivity of an Oprah guru, we say go for it.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
I’m partial to a good ol’ chat, so it was a challenge to me – and would be to others who find silence or eye contact uncomfortable. But it’s a useful tool to observe the ways in which you perceive others. Once the small talk is stripped back, I’m able to deduce whether I feel comfortable around someone’s energy or not.

COST: $20-$25

AGE:

LOCATION: Thornbury

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First published on 13 Sep 2012. Updated on 11 Mar 2014.

By Sheridan Wright   |  
 

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