There was a young man called Ramon
who was tired of being alone.
Imagine his stress
when a man in a dress
blew him kisses and followed him home.
How many of you have encountered a man dressed up like a woman? Aha! Fortunately it’s only happened once in my life ? so far.
A few years ago I attended the first ever speed dating event held in South Africa in Melrose Arch. I read on a website that an SABC3 was going to record the evening’s events. So I jumped at the opportunity to be on tv ? I mean after all who does not want to be on tv? Normally I don’t do skydiving or bungee jumping but doing this was a very big thrill for me.
How speed dating works is as follows: you normally have 10 guys and 10 girls. The girls sit down on tables and the guys rotate after 5 minutes so they are guaranteed to meet all the woman ? as you know this does not always happen in a bar.
Anyway I moved around on a few dates and low and behold I faced the Baroness. The camera crew swooped in to capture the moment. As I sat down and she/he extended her hand, ?Well, well, well… aren’t you a handsome fellow…? Why thank you was my quick reply. ?Tell me…Ramon…where would we go on a first date..,? was her next question. This is where I had to think really, really fast. ?Oh maybe we’d go on a picnic, so we have lots of time to talk and get to know each other.? Those 5 minutes felt like an eternity with the Baroness.
My next speed dating event was a huge improvement. Popular Joburg radio station 94.7 Highveld Stereo ran a special competition for Valentine’s Day 2005, which turned out to be the biggest speed dating event ever. We had over 50 people and you could smell the excitement in the air. Because of the amount of people we were split into two groups, and Fastdate, hosted the function. This lead to use being split up into two groups. Now as I entered the building going upstairs where the event was taking place. I was followed by a gorgeous girl with a big smile. She had a certain energy about her, a girly, bubbly type, which so many women over 30 seem to loose. As we reached the 2nd floor, a table full of small champagne bottles waited for us. I grabbed mine without a straw as usual. This girl, Lauren, took hers and innocently placed the straw in hers. The gas in the champagne reacted and almost like a volcano this thing erupted….”Oops! I did it again”, Was the expression on her face and she giggled her shy hello. We hit it off later on and I left the venue with a kiss and a her cellphone number tucked safely in my back pocket. So in fact I broke the rules, because I didn’t bother completing the speed dating forms, evaluating all the other women.
If you’re keen on trying speed dating start by reading my speed dating articles.
Last weekend I attended the first Fast Break event with Fastdate. This is a weekend away for singles. By the way I detest the word “singles” (it stinks of desperation and I prefer “unmarried”). The idea is simple: a group single people (about 16 men/women) go away for a weekend trip filled with activities. My role was to give a talk on “Dating in the 21st Century” on the Saturday. This talk will shortly be available as an ebook I’m working on called Social or Single.
I decided not to go through on the Friday evening because I was putting the finishing touches on the presentation/talk and instead arrived on the Saturday late morning. Shumba Valley Lodge, where the group was spending the weekend, is a beautiful place. And I highly recommend it. It’s located down the road from the Cradle of Humankind, a very famous World Heritage site in South Africa. This was where things first went wrong as I had prepared my talk for 12 and instead we rushed off to the restaurant The Cradle, that was supposedly closing at 1pm. After the lunch it was suggested we should all rest for a while and my talk would take place at 5pm.
Well it turns out there was some heavy drinking the Friday evening. This type of behaviour is expected but should not be encouraged. People attended this event for a reason: meeting people from the opposite sex and see if there is chemistry. When the organisers are drinking more than the guests, it’s alarming. One of my beliefs is that alcohol abuse comes from deep embarrassment, anger with the world and frustration with your circumstances. How do I know this? My own dad has been an alcoholic most of his life and he is a very bitter and angry man. So this drinking binge may seem acceptable under the circumstances when in fact it does not help anyone overcome fears or social anxiety – which could be seen as the hidden purpose of these singles weekends.
When 5pm arrived half the people where missing or had left including the organisers. They seemed the least interested in what I had to say to their guests who had paid good money to attend this event. And so I was on the verge of leaving when one of the guys persuaded me to stay and give me talk informally. I had my laptop and was planning a presentation but maybe this impromptu speech was better. I shared my ideas with them on what I see as the major challenges in the 21st century in dating and how to improve their success.
Anyway I stayed the evening and we later on had dinner. There was an astronomer who entertained us with informative discussion on the stars, the planets and funny anecdotes. And so we did a bit of star gazing through his telescope. (note to self – buy one of those gadgets) In general the people were good company and I’m sure I’ve made some business contacts with the guys. The one woman I was interested in left earlier on the Saturday.
My overall my impression of these Fastdate events are bad. They are poorly organised. The organised are disinterested in really helping people connect. And they are more interested in their own dating and relations or lack thereof. So be cautioned and avoid them. Instead I recommend you explore SMARTdate, which has much more integrity in their events and services they render.