Five months into the 30 Dates blog, and I’m no stranger to odd singles event ideas.
When it comes to different dating ideas, DoingSomething has always been one of my go-to sources for ideas, and the company is also renowned for hosting some of the year’s most unique dating events. It was DoingSomething who turned the London Toilet Tour into a Singles night, and while I was in America going on Dates 29 and 30 of my 30 Dates by 30 Challenge they hosted a Ping Pong singles event ON TOP of the O2.
So it came as no real surprise when DoingSomething invited TOWTS and me to climb the O2 roof, dressed as Santa, to join in with carols played by a ukelele band on the top of the modern monument.
Yep you read that right!
Singles + Santa Outfit + Carols + Climbing The O2 + Ukelele Band = ????
There are limitations to climbing the O2 in winter. Regular readers will know I went on my second date with The Enigma to the O2. We climbed it back in August, and at the time the climb uniform was a simple waistcoat, and sundown was at 8.30. In December, you have to wear a full jumpsuit against the elements, and sundown is closer to 4pm!
And so we there were offered two climb slots for the adventure. 3pm and 3.20pm.
Neither is an ideal time to start a singles event on a Friday afternoon! I arranged to finish work at 12.30, giving me just enough time to get into and across London for the 3.20 slot, and TOWTS ended up taking the entire day off work!
So awkward, yes, but I had been sold by the idea of the Santa outfits. I loved the novelty of climbing the O2 with tens of other Santas. Unfortunately it turned out only the pioneer group (the ukelele band and DS staff) went up fully kitted up as Santas. Our group drew a straw to decide who would get the one remaining Santa’s outfit, and TOWTS and I had to settled for the standard (and highly unattractive!) jumpsuits instead, topped off with rather tight Santa hats!
One thing we were given on arrival was a choice of DoingSomething rosettes, detailing what kind of Daters we were. TOWTS was a ‘Special Date’, I chose ‘Fun Date’.
However this was the only ‘different’ aspect of the Meet and Greet before we went through the normal climb preparations. We were ushered into a room and played the same safety video which Enigma and I had watched some months ago. At this point I bumped into ‘Bridget‘ of the blog ‘Move Over Bridget‘ – a blog reader and Twitter follower. I recognised her immediately from her blog – she had won a competition on Twitter the day before – and so we chatted during the formalities, but even this proved quite difficult, and there was little opportunity to get to know anyone prior to the clime.
Once we were kitted up, with our jumpsuits, Christmas hats and rosettes, we began scaling the former Millennium Dome. At one point there had been reported threats of snow, which luckily didn’t prove to be true – it was cold enough as it was! I regretted not bringing gloves, and had to cover my Santa hat up with the hood of my jumpsuit.
I spoke too soon… At the top we were greeted by snow! It just came in the form of shaving foam being sprayed out by snow cannons! There was a Christmas tree in the centre of the viewing platform, meet and greeters covered in fairy lights, and a full-blown ukelele band, all dressed as Santa and playing well-known winter classics in the freezing winds.
We stood in the wind and the ‘snow’, singing along to the carols, and laughing at the random entertainment. The band were brilliant – playing classics and pop songs in the freezing cold, and capturing our attention more than the views.
After twenty or so minutes on the top, we began our descent down the other side of the O2 and towards the dark Thames.
Climbing the O2 is a great way to see the City … but I’ve told you that before!
How did Climbing + Carols + Santas + Ukeleles fair?
It was a really fun afternoon and, as expected, a really unique experience. The bit I struggled with, was it didn’t feel like a Singles Event. And whilst sometimes that’s a good thing – this time it needed a bit more cohesion.
I hate to suggest drinks needed to be involved (and we did come back to mulled wine and mince pies in teh cramped boot room), but I think the event would have worked better with some form of mixer beforehand. Perhaps a welcome drink in a bar, to break the ice and get people chatting before the climb.
Aside from the rosettes, there was little to remind us that we were all single.
Admittedly the fact I’d come with TOWTS, and then met a blog reader, didn’t help me mix with single guys. But it was more than that. The set up of the climb means you’re fixed in a position on the wire up and the wire down. So it would have worked better to mix us up and suggest we stagger ‘boy-girl-boy-girl’ up the wire and force ourselves to chat to other singletons.
Unfortunately the crowded boot room, with different groups coming in and out and changing around us, wasn’t the best venue for post-climb Christmas drinks and snacks, and TOWTS and I left soon after touching back on the ground.
I love the imagination and novelty of the DoingSomething events, but can’t help feeling the actual dating bit shouldn’t be forgotten.
UP at the O2 is a great date venue – I loved my second date with The Enigma there – and it proved a really good way to get to know someone one on one.
So perhaps in future, instead of running the Crazy Carol-Uke Climb as a full-blown singles event, DoingSomething should suggest their members sign up to it in date pair?. After all the whole premise of DoingSomething is to suggest a date and then go on it with someone else from the site. Perhaps the set-up would work better with 10 consecutive first dates, each pairing off on the wire on the way up, and then snuggling up together against the raging snowstorm at the top?
Either way my personal equation was –
Climb +Santa Hat + Carols + Ukeleles = Highly Different Fun
And TOWTS is keen to take some lucky lady on a date just to see the Ukelele band again, so they went down a storm!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
PS – If you want to try out the DoingSomething website THIS WEEKEND they are doing free messaging for all members, so try it out!