A number of you reading this post, particularly anyone based in England, will remember a dating show called ‘Streetmate’. Davina McCall (pre-Big Brother), would find a random singleton in the street, and make it her job to play Cupid. The single guy or girl would point out someone he or she fancied in the high street, and Davina would jog over with a microphone, establish whether the person was single, and then whether they fancied the picker, and ideally send the pair on a date.
Unfortunately, in 2014, there is no one around to work Davina magic, if you see someone hot as you walk around the City. Which means, if you spy someone you fancy, and want to find out if he or she is single, then other than searching Tinder desperately for weeks on end, you’re going to have to go up and do the groundwork yourself!
This is obviously easier said than done. As part of her Dating Experiment, Miss 32, has been investigating just how easy it is to find a date out and about in London, and her general conclusion so far seems to be that it’s not easy at all!
I think the last time a stranger came up to me in public and asked me out, I was seventeen! And it basically involved a guy throwing a napkin with his phone number on at me.
So how do those chance encounters they always show in the movies really work? How often does someone actually catch eyes with someone on the Tube, or walking down the street, and just go ahead and ask for their number?
Last night I went to another Table8 event. After the success of the last dinner I went to at the Mall Tavern, I signed up for a 12 person dinner at Beaufort House – the same venue in Chelsea where Love & Lust hosted singles nights last year. My train in arrived really early, and so rather than grab a taxi from South Kensington tube to BH, which I would normally do, I decided to walk to the bar.
It was at this point, as I paced through the streets, listening to music on my phone, and following a blue dot around Googlemaps, that I realised just how reliant I am on my phone. Because ten minutes away from Beaufort House, my phone decided to turn itself off.
I knew which way to walk up the Fulham Road, but I wasn’t sure which way I would need to turn on the King’s Road.
When I turned onto the Fulham Road, a tall guy stepped ahead of me. For a second, I genuinely thought it was Greg James. I sped up walking slightly to get a better angle and see if it was the Radio One DJ … which it wasn’t. But in the process, I did notice that the guy was pretty hot! Stressing slightly about which way I needed to walk, I marched on ahead of the hot guy, who was ambling pretty slowly, despite having far longer legs than me.
I finally hit the King’s Road, chanced on a left turn, and began scanning the shops to see if I could work out where on the street I’d come out. I walked for about five minutes, and it was only when the hot guy overtook me, that I realised he was still walking the same way as me. Could he be going to Table8 too?
I crossed my fingers, only to watch him cross the road and head into a pub. Of course he wasn’t going the same place as me!
Five minutes later, when I still didn’t see any of the shops or bars I expected to see, I realised I was at the wrong end of the King’s Road. I jumped into a cab, and as per standard, arrived five minutes late to Beaufort House. None of the boys had arrived yet, and so I headed to the bar to grab a drink, and as I crossed the doorway, a familiar man stepped into the room.
The hot Greg James lookalike.
Grinning to myself, and wondering if he’d been as lost as I was, I headed back to the group introductions with a bottle of rose in hand – what a way to make a first impression! Streetmate (as we’ll call him from now on …!) was the only guy who had arrived, and so all the girls were buzzing to speak to him. As Lydia, the Table8 organiser, introduced me to him, I said hurriedly ‘we walked the wrong way down the King’s Road together! I think I was following you for about ten minutes, and then you overtook me?’ He didn’t really respond, and there was no particular flash of recognition, so I excused myself awkwardly to hang up my coat, and kick myself for sounding like some kind of weird stalker!
When I came back to the group, a few more guys had arrived, and so Streetmate and I ended up talking. He was from New Zealand, so we began chatting about travel, and I soon realised, whilst the rest of the guests were chatting in groups of at least three or four, we’d become separated off talking as a pair. I was by no means complaining, he seemed really friendly and interesting, but I couldn’t help worrying that he was kind of stuck talking to me, and might want to chat to some of the others. As Lydia suggested we all find our seats – boy/girl/boy/girl around the table – I insisted we sit at opposite ends of the table, so we actually spoke to other people.
There was a secret method to my madness. Streetmate was the most attractive guy in the room, and I figured if he started at the other end to me, we’d get to chat over dessert again, when everyone was a bit more merry, and the conversation was likely to be more entertaining! I’d also noticed at the last Table8 I’d been to, where we only moved once during dinner, that it had been so long since I’d spoken to the first set of guys, that I’d all but forgotten about them by the end of the night. So if I hadn’t already made a poor impression on Streetmate, by admitting to spotting him in the street, then I could redeem myself during the easiest part of the evening!
As with the last Table8 I went to, the company was really interesting. We all seemed to have a lot in common, and conversation flowed as easily as the wine. The guys were all nice and interesting, though throughout my starter and main (which were both really nice, though didn’t surpass the crazy spectacle of dinner at the Mall Tavern!), I did find myself thinking about Streetmate, and the random coincidence that I’d wondered if he would be at the dinner, only to realise we were both walking in the wrong direction when I’d stumbled upon him.
Finally dessert arrived, and I was able to resume my conversation with him. He launched straight in admitting (so loudly that the two other diners opposite us seemed a little awkward, and retired from the conversation!), that he’d noticed me in the street when I’d walked past him, and had considered asking me out then and there! Apparently he’d talked himself out of it, because he thought it would be too weird to ask someone out in the middle of the road, and he’d just assumed I was power-walking home to my boyfriend! Not to the exact same singles event he was going to … at the other end of the King’s Road.
From my point of view, conversation couldn’t really get much better!
When I admitted to having food envy about his dessert, he asked if I wanted to split our desserts half and half (which I did 🙂 ), and then as the rest of the table filtered off home, or on to other bars, we stayed at Beaufort House for two more drinks.
And so … whilst he didn’t pluck up the courage to ask me out in the street … Streetmate did go home with my telephone number after all!
What a random evening! 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx