‘Using dating apps can be unrewarding, but my experience at Thursday’s dating event was anything but dull,’ says reporter Ed Halford.
Yes, I felt extremely awkward at times, and might have found myself politely saying “I need the toilet” before scurrying off to find a friend – but the event was a brilliant way of putting the talking back into dating.
Firstly, if you are worried about dressing up for the event – put your fears at ease.
A lot of people either came straight from work or were rocking the smart casual vibe.
Ironically, the people who didn’t look like they had just walked out of the office couldn’t stop talking about work – so be warned, looks can be deceptive.
I wore a shirt and some jeans, the ‘classic’ for me, so don’t worry about taking lots of time to get ready before going.
The atmosphere was chilled, but not chilling, always a bonus.
Despite many being on a ‘mission’ to find the ‘one’ or their cheeky fling for the night, at no point did my friend or I feel uncomfortable.
If you do feel uncomfortable at any point, then Thursday have their own staff at the door and they are easily recognisable in their embroidered jackets.
I’ll be very honest, you may not meet the love of your life.
I certainly didn’t.
And, you definitely speak to a person you wished never made the journey across the room to make conversation with.
But, make the most of the attention and enjoy the adrenaline rush which comes with meeting new faces.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the 64th Social bar in Clapham was everyone turned their heads when you arrive.
In a similar fashion as to when a new singleton enters the villa in Love Island.
The thought of everyone ‘checking you out’ sounds daunting, I admit.
But there’s a big difference between turning up for a date with one person and mingling with lots of people, many of which you would never agree to go on a date with in the first place.
However, the people I met at the bar did more than just engage in polite chitter chatter.
I met a solicitor who told me all about her career ambitions- that was ‘fun’.
And some students from Newcastle University who were on a placement year.
They revealed they didn’t mind the fact that Jaegarbombs were almost triple the price, as they were just happy to be in London.
The event can turn out to be a good test of how creative you can be with excuses for leaving a conversation.
Telling someone “I have a girlfriend” doesn’t tend to wash at an exclusively single event so going along with a friend can be VERY helpful.
There was a healthy mix of students, graduates and those living their twenties to the full before it is too late.
At times, the atmosphere felt very compressed and social interaction did feel forced.
However, the event was refreshing in prompting you to speak to new people, and to initiate conversations where cringe openers don’t have the same effect.
Yes, an Australian who arrived in London two weeks ago may have asked if we could get married so she could obtain a visa – and the wedding isn’t happening if you were still in doubt.
Though, most singletons were only looking to inject energy and authenticity into their dating lives.
As I made my way to the bar to pick up another cocktail from Thursday’s very own ‘dating menu’, Harriet Manning, 25-years-old, told me the app was better than Hinge because of the in-person interactions you experience.
She said: “I prefer something in person.
“I deleted Hinge because it was full of Clapham bankers who aren’t funny.”
I’m not sure I met any particularly hilarious people; although the people I spoke to may have thought differently.
Nor can I confirm whether the venue was without Clapham bankers- if that is a dealbreaker for you.
My main criticism was the shortage of space at the bar, but this in many ways literally pushed people into talking to the stranger besides them.
The disco on the bottom floor did bring back flashbacks to those high school discos which we have all conveniently erased from our memories.
The floor did however offer a different dimension to the night, and singletons enjoyed a much-needed break from the more intense atmosphere above.
Having been on three dates (maybe a fourth) and to one event because of Thursday dating, I can say that taking your chance on this new dating app is worth the gamble and lives up to the hype.
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