“Walk up to someone, introduce yourself with your eyes, then try to jump simultaneously together.”
Right, looks like a treacherous uphill hike from here.
As we engaged in what I can only describe as a form of play for adults, I was conscious of the audience on the other side of the large glass doors in the beer garden. If they didn’t know we had all paid £20 to meet strangers in silence, then they probably assumed we were a bunch of weird actor types rehearsing for our big show at the local church.
As the silent flirting games got progressively more fingers, hands and eyes on, I stayed close to my friend Niall who had reluctantly accompanied me to the event. Having him there to act as my partner for the ‘flirty kung fu fighting’ made the exercise more flirtatious than it would have been had I done it with a stranger, but only because he was pretty drunk by that stage and it kind of looked like he was winking at me.
I observed everyone else’s levels of participation with a mix of antipathy and admiration. While I couldn’t help but feel I was in a room full of people who couldn’t land a date on Tinder, it was certainly good to see we weren’t all shying away from the idea of turning hand holding into something more meaningful (like a gawky shag).
Every activity incited that gross awkwardness you get when someone farts in a professional environment. It was all giggly and creepy and people quite clearly felt like total muppets. But they were making the best of an incredibly fucking weird situation, and in turn you could see the good vibes they were generating between them.
When Niall and I realised we were probably saying ‘this is weird’ too often and too loudly – and people started to notice I was filming their hilarious foot movements – we decided to break loose from the comfort of our snobbish bubble.
There is nothing cool about being too cool for school.
This revelation came just in time for the funky finger exercise, which started as the innocent coming together of two people by connecting wiggling index fingers and ended in a sort of ballroom dance, where everyone danced around connected by their wiggly fingers with their eyes closed.
Let’s just take a moment to remember we were on display in our glass cage.
After a few more horrendous warm up exercises and a half time break, I can’t say I was any more ready to start eye fucking people. But a girls gotta do what a deviant dating event – she voluntarily attended – tells her to do. So I went in eyes blazing.
The girls all had to find a space in the room and the guys had to rotate around, doing 90 seconds of speechless speed dating before moving on to the next. I was literally sitting there staring men into the ground because that’s what I thought we were supposed to be doing.
After having spoken to Niall afterwards – and looking back on the video I recorded – I learned that other people were playing little games, and smiling and trying to communicate messages without talking.
Meanwhile there was me in the corner behaving like a girl with seriously aggressive peepers.
Thanks to my eyes being a total bitch, I only got one match, number 8. I can’t really remember what number 8 was like but the urgency of his email made me quiver in my boots.
Hope you enjoyed yourself. It was definitely something different. Where are you based? Fancy meeting up after work?
I’m in Kingston near Wimbledon. If you have WhatsApp +XXXXXXXXX6 add me. Its quicker.
All I got from that is ‘I haven’t had a date in two years so let’s not waste another second. P.S I like tennis.’
Silent speed dating, London. Do it if you’re game, strange or lonely.
Watch the secret squirrel video I recorded here:
What Niall thought of Shhh Dating:
‘I thought it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve used an epilator.’