So it turns out arranging 12 Dates around Christmas is far harder than finding 30 complete strangers to go on dates with!
There are a number of reasons –
For a start (in case you haven’t noticed!) it’s pretty horrid outside!
Dating in summertime is way more appealing! The nights seem endless (rather than starting before you even leave the office!). A date al fresco doesn’t require snow-boots and an industrial strength umbrella. And even dating wardrobes are a lot more fun and feminine in the summer. I don’t know about you guys, but I find it impossible to leave the house in anything other than UGGs and a Christmas jumper these days!
December is a crazy busy month!
To be honest, considering women’s magazines make such a big fuss about it, in reality there’s little time to think about being single around Christmas, let alone weigh up all the pros and cons.
I can’t count how many times I’ve read articles this month about how great it is not having to worry about what presents to get, or whether you’re at the present stage, or whose parents to visit on Christmas day …
But in all honesty, the ‘pros’ of being single couldn’t be farther from my mind, because there’s so much other stuff going on. Christmas parties (and yes, there is more to work dos than drunkenly snogging your colleagues!), pre-Christmas meals with friends, pantomimes, shows, Christmas markets, Christmas movies …
The list is endless.
And whilst a lot of those things can be fun to experience with a date, the reality is you don’t have to. They’re the kind of things everyone wants to do!
But I’ve embarked on this challenge … and you all know what I’m like when it comes to completing challenges!
I drew up my list of things I wanted to try over the festive season in London … and if I’m honest, dating karma has hit me a bit.
Take Saturday for example … I was meant to be crossing off Dates Five and Six in one foul swoop. But it was my office party on Friday night, and as a result I ended up spending the entire next day beneath my duvet … in a very hungover and non-sexy manner!
So on the one hand karma probably owed me a stand-up.
Though it was still pretty frustrating to get a sack-off text just five hours before my date at Edible Cinema.
I’ve noticed a clear difference between the 12 Dates of Christmas and my 30 Dates by 30.
30 Dates was just about 30 first dates. The guys were interchangeable. Numbers. The dates were sporadic. I could fit three in one day, and catch up if I got behind.
The 12 Dates of Christmas is about locations and events, rather than the guys. Which means I can go on more than one date with the same guy.
And because of that, I’ve been inadvertently dragging out ‘relationships’ with guys.
I guess this is where I’m starting to become a bit of a guy when it comes to my approach to dating. And possibly where I can begin to at least partly appreciate the way Henley Boy acted during our three or so weeks of contact.
In the past month or so I’ve met a couple of guys who I got on with. If I’m honest, I realised pretty quickly that they liked me more than I liked them. But I enjoyed their company enough to happily go on more than one date. I just knew deep down that I couldn’t see it going anywhere other than a couple of dates.
But I had 12 Dates scheduled in (some of them lengthy!) and I knew these guys would be enjoyable company for a few hours.
And so I found myself agreeing to second and third dates.
Just third-time meet-ups.
Except, it’s not the same when you’re just meeting up with someone for the sake of it. When you don’t feel that excited flutter whenever you get a text message. Or a spark when you banter.
And whilst at first you might appear cool and aloof. Delaying texting back because the message had little impact, or you simply forgot. Whilst you might inadvertently play hard to get by not trying as hard as you might with a guy you actually fancy …
After a while, it becomes obvious you simply don’t care.
Conversation dries up … and then it simply becomes functional. Days, times, locations, activities.
And that’s the point I went from dating like a guy, to dating like a blog writer!
Because I know with a couple of these guys, it was all about the dates … and not the guys.
And if I’m honest, they knew that too.
And so, really I don’t begrudge them for cancelling on me. If the tables were turned, I’d probably do the same! What I do begrudge is the last minute cancellations!
Last week, you’ll remember I shipped in the cringeworthy Trainspotter for my date at Vinopolis, and then Mister Mischief saved the day in the eleventh hour for the Fourth Date at Beyond the Christmas Cabaret.
This week, after my would-be-date woke me on Sunday with a phone call and a tale of a family emergency (his third cancellation in three weeks) I was left with four hours to find a date for Edible Cinema.
Edible Cinema isn’t cheap – the most basic seat options go for £35 each … and so I was reluctant to forget my planned date at Electric Cinema. Plus, after a day spent nursing my work do hangover, I was keen to make something of my weekend.
For the second Sunday running, I reached out to the male Experimental Daters. At least the benefit of being a dating blogger, is that I have lots of single male friends!
And so … my Fifth Date of Christmas ended up being with Dapper Gent.
Now (and this will excite the blog reader who commented last week that she thought Dapper fancied me!) … I have a little confession to make … this is actually my second date with Dapper.
You see he was actually my Thorpe Park date! It was the first time I met Dapper before he joined the blog as a writer.
Contrary to Blonde Ambition’s rather unfair and spoilt write-up of his elaborate Experimental Date with her, in my opinion Dapper is a pretty good date. When we went to Thorpe Park he went all out to win me a soft toy, and bought me hot chocolate when he noticed me shivering. Whilst (sorry blog reader!) I wouldn’t say he was my type of guy (don’t worry – the feeling is reciprocated – he describes me as being ‘like a brother’ to him! Nice!) he’s the type of guy I would happily set a friend up with, and someone I’d happily spend an evening with.
And so Dapper escorted me to Edible Cinema.
We were both running late on our way to the Portobello Road … and it was interesting how different our approaches were (one of the reasons I know Dapper and I would never be compatible!). Dapper was immediately pessimistic. ‘They might not let us in 😦‘ he texted me, as we each raced from different ends of London to get to the Electric Cinema.
‘It’s fine!’ I insisted, always keen to see the bright side, and sure we could blag our way in even if we were a few minutes late. (I’ve realised that when I’m secretly panicking about something, I need a guy to reassure me, not make me panic more!)
Luckily, the film didn’t begin until fifteen minutes after the advertised time, so no blagging was necessary. We arrived just in time to grab a drink from the bar, and pick up our first part of the edible experience.
Rather amusingly (given he knew I was writing up the ‘date’) Dapper managed to order me a completely different drink to the one I asked for! I settled instead for my ‘breakfast cocktail’ – a weird mix of cereal flavouring, gin and milk, accompanied by a pastry.
The odd start to the evening was designed to be eaten as the film – Trading Places – began, with Dan Ackroyd, one of the two main characters, being delivered breakfast in bed by his butler.
As Dapper and Blondie described on their Experimental Date, Electric Circus is West London’s oldest cinema – a beautiful old picture house filled with lavish leather chairs. Each chair has its own table, and a footstool, complete with cashmere blanket and pillow. At the front there are also couches and beds.
We settled into our seats, and the film began. It was apparently one of Dapper’s favourites. Whilst I’d never seen the festive eighties movie (it’s the same age as me!), I have to admit it looked far more interesting than the majority of the kitschy movies normally screened at Electric Cinema.
The idea of the film is based around a penniless conman switching places with a high flying stock broker.
I have to admit, when I’d first heard of Edible Cinema, I’d imagined every time the characters in the film eat something, you eat the same thing. Which to some degree was correct.
At specific points in the film, a number lights up at the side of the screen, coordinated with a container on your tray. You open up the container and taste what’s inside … normally when someone is eating or drinking on screen.
However rather than a mouthwatering spread of Christmas food on my food tray, it transpired the chefs at Edible Cinema try to get the tastes and flavours as accurate to the story on screen as possible.
I’ll give you a couple of examples –
Our first drink was ‘shaving foam’ – a gin cocktail which actually tasted like shaving foam, because one of the characters was having a shave on screen.
In one scene one character is eating biltong, another drinking whiskey, and one talking about Swiss cheese. We opened our boxes to find biltong soaked in whiskey and stuck to cream cheese.
And when one of the characters ate salmon through a dirty fake beard, we ate cold noodles, covered in charcoal powder, with lumps of salmon in. Salmon + Beard. It was as gross tasting as it sounds!
To represent the money a company was making from pork belly, Edible Cinema had turned lumps of pork terrine into gold bars by spraying them in golden edible paint!
Again, as gross as it sounds!
There were a number of cocktails throughout the film, however as the show was sponsored by Bombay Sapphire, they were all gin-based. I have to admit to not being a huge gin fan, which meant Dapper got double the number of cocktails! Though I did enjoy the novelty of spraying a cocktail into my mouth from a shaving foam dispenser.
The Edible Cinema concept is novel, and really promising, and I do appreciate the thought that went into the dishes, however it would have been nice to have combined witty food stories with really nice tasting snacks.
I enjoyed the film, and appreciated the fact it wouldn’t have been something I would have chosen of my own accord. The setting was beautiful. The cinema is so comfortable and luxurious, it’s impossible not to feel spoiled. But I did come away feeling really oddly full, yet completely unsatisfied. And Dapper was equally unimpressed with the food.
Just to highlight how much of an un-date my Fifth Date of Christmas ended up being …
The Rebound Gal was also at Edible Cinema that evening together with our newest Experimental Dater … who will be announce very very soon! And so after the film Dapper and I went for tapas with the girls on the Portobello Road.
Ever the gentleman, Dapper kept our glasses topped up with champagne, and by all accounts, the others continued drinking long into the night after I had left London (I had to get home as I had work the next day at 6am!).
It was the second of two impromptu Experimental Dater meet-ups last weekend (the first of which, by accounts, was far more dramatic! Though I’ll let someone else tell you about that …) and a warm-up to our official Experimental Dater Christmas party in a few weeks time …
I had a lot of fun, and would still recommend Edible Cinema as an experience, but would advise it with the caveat that I wouldn’t expect too much from the food! And I would definitely arrange to have a nice meal either before or afterwards!
Despite other reviews, I would still recommend Dapper Gent as a date (though I think after all the Twitter attention he may have taken himself off the market for the forseeable future!). And I’m really looking forward to the ED Xmas do, because the great thing about hanging around with the other Experimental Daters, is that for a change, I’m around a group of my friends, and not the only singleton!
Merry Christmas Eve guys!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx