Not everyone who is single is looking for a relationship … something you only have to spend 5 minutes on Plenty of Fish to realise!
However even those who would like to be in a relationship, vary in degrees of activity. And there’s a big difference between being passively single and actively single.
For whatever reason – a recent break-up, work pressures, exhaustion, boredom – it can be easy to give up on the game. To stop putting yourself in situations where you’re likely to meet new people (and no, taking the Tube every morning doesn’t count as a situation … as Miss 32 found out the hard way!).
The reality of dating in the Twenty-Teens is that realistically, if you want to meet someone, you have to be proactive.
Movie-style first encounters are less and less frequent these days. I went to a wedding just last night of a couple who had met online, and of the five couples around my table, four of them had also met online.
If you’re single in 2014, and looking, then you need to get out and about. Whether that’s online – via apps and websites – or offline and in the real world at the hundreds of dating events on offer.
Easy as it can be to forget, being single in London is actually a lot of fun. The capital city has tens of different singles events on every night of the week. And fun as swiping left and right on your phone without pause for thought can be … I know I definitely prefer to meet up with people in person.
The problem with singles events, is attracting the right crowd.
I love to meet new people. Regardless of whether I fancy someone or not, it’s something I find really interesting. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have indiscriminately gone on 30 blind dates! However, it’s a lot more fun to meet someone with whom you have things in common, than to meet someone who you have zero conversation topics with. Trust me, even a four-minute speed date can feel endless if you have nothing to chat about.
Now obviously, the ‘right crowd’ of singles is going to be different for everyone. We’re all unique and enjoy different things. Which is why I think it’s worth taking some time to choose the right singles event for yourself. With so many to choose from, it’s worth thinking about which events the kind of guys or girls you’re interested in would attend. In the same way they tell you to think which dating websites your ideal man would use (none may well be the correct answer for me!) … it’s worth considering what events would attract the type of people you get on with.
It does mean you need to look carefully at yourself, and think about what you enjoy. But as I have frequently said on the blog, dating is as much about understanding yourself as it is about understanding other people.
So who am I? Well, I’m a bit of a snob. I’ll happily admit that. I like nice dinners, wine with bubbles, and dressing up. I’m a sucker for a posh accent, and my ideal man would own a tweed jacket and a gillet. I also have a bit of a random adventurous side. And so my ideal date venues are either nice restaurants, and black tie events, or crazy adventures. Translated into dates – my favourite ones have been at Dans Le Noir, The Ivy, playing Crystal Maze at HintHunt, and jetting down the Thames on a RIB with James Bond music blaring in the background.
So if these are the things I enjoy on dates, why shouldn’t I apply the same logic to the singles events I attend? Because in reality, if I’m looking for someone with similar interests, and a similar outlook, then he too would be attracted to a posh restaurant, a black tie event, or an adrenaline junkie-worthy adventure.
The reality of being single in London is that there genuinely are singles events to cater to those tastes, and to many many more. It’s simply a case of searching them out, because there are literally hundreds of small start-ups running monthly events around the capital.
You can date in the dark, in silence, climbing over the O2, up the Shard in an igloo, on a river cruise … all at the touch of a Paypal button.
And so I stumbled upon Table8. Or rather The Coincidental Dater recommended it to me.
Top London dining locations. Minimum of eight singletons. Top notch food and wine. Musical chairs through out dinner to make sure you chat to everyone.
The concept isn’t new to me. Back at Cambridge, we would go on twice weekly socials with boys from the other colleges, and sit around a dinner table – boy, girl, boy, girl. It was how drinking societies and sports teams met up on pre-club socials. Everyone would bring a bottle of wine, and whether dinner was silver service, or at the local curry house, the set-up would always be the same. An opportunity to meet up to 12 single guys over dinner. In reality, the older we got, the less singletons would be at the table, however the premise remained the same, and was always a really fun way to spend your evening, even if you didn’t fancy anyone. Of course there were a few very university-specific features – including pennying drinks, no hands desserts, and throwing naan bread frisbies – but the wine would flow, and with it so would conversation.
Whilst no one dropped a penny in my wine on Friday night, the Table8 singles event was definitely a blast from the past.
Dinner was served at the Mall Tavern, a gourmet pub in Notting Hill. We were seated at the Chef’s Table, an intimate 12 seater table out the back of the kitchen.
The setting was unique and fun. After being greeted by the Table8 representative, and led upstairs and through the kitchen, Boni, the witty host, and a member of the chef team, gave us a lively introduction to our dinner. Describing it as 28 courses (he wasn’t far off!), he recommended we only picked at the starters, saving ourselves for dinner and dessert. Wine was included in the price of dinner, and so red and white flowed freely.
Dinner began with fresh warm soda bread, fried brie and cranberry sauce, smoked beetroot mousse with flatbread, smoked salmon, and chicken liver pate. The set-up of the table meant I could speak to 2 other girls, and 3 guys at the same time, and the table naturally divided into two conversations.
After we’d finished our starters, the boys moved four places down the table, and we began a pass-the-parcel style dinner. We were each handed a different main course – steak and ale pie, smoking chicken with slaw and tater tots, smoked salmon fish cake … A timer was set, and we each got 90 seconds with a dish, before passing it on to the next person. As some of the guys tucked in as quickly as they could, and girls picked more tentatively at dinner, we soon realised who was sitting in the best positions at the table to actually try the food.
By this point in dinner, people were relaxed enough to take the piss out of one another, and the unique dinner style only served to add further fuel to the entertainment.
The event had mainly attracted young professionals – the majority were lawyers and bankers, though conversation was by no means restricted to work. When one guy let slip that the reason his friend looked so tired was because he’d had a one night stand the night before, whose name he couldn’t even remember, conversation descended to more piss-taking, and a round robin at the table of when everyone last had sex!
Whilst I didn’t fancy any of the guys, I really enjoyed everyone’s company, and it was really fun just meeting other single girls. The other women were all accomplished and confident, happy in their single status, and not in any hurry to settle down, and it was refreshing to be surrounded by similar minded singletons. Rather than a speed-dating set-up, where you only spoke one on one with people, it was far more interesting to talk in mixed groups, and because us girls remained in the same seats all night, it was easy to build up a rapport with the girls around you, because they’d been part of all the same conversations that night.
Dessert was served in the most flamboyant and musical way I’ve ever seen. Michael Jackson-esque music filled the air, and the chef team rolled greaseproof paper down the table (reminding me oddly of the Greased Lightning scene from Grease!). They then took it in turns to cover the paper in chocolate and toffee sauce, melted marshmallows, cheesecake ingredients, sticky toffee pudding, donuts, cream, and slabs of chocolate.
We were each given a spoon of popping candy, to begin dessert, and then we were given free reign of the table. Not that any of us had much space for dessert!
Dinner was fantastic. The food was top notch, the setting unique yet relaxed enough to make conversation easy. The other singles were interesting and entertaining company. I had a really fun evening, and enjoyed meeting everyone at the table. It was the perfect reminder of how much fun being single really can be – because I would never have had such a random experience if I wasn’t single. And there are lots of these cool, random events and experiences out there.
I had a really fun, enjoyable night. It felt like being back at university, in a really good way.
I loved the idea of the event, the venue, and the knowledge that if I signed up for another Table8 event, it would be a whole new bunch of interesting people at the table.
Definitely something I would recommend – so much so that I’ve already signed up to two more of their events.
When you’re single, it can be too easy to come home from work on a Friday night, flop on the sofa, and not leave your flat again until Saturday comes around. Instead, I spent my Friday night eating some amazing food, in a pub I would never have thought to try, surrounded by a group of really interesting singletons, laughing, joking and making the most of my Friday night, before my weekend even properly began.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx