I’ve done some crazy stuff for this blog. Back during the original 30 Dates Challenge I went on a Toilet Tour of London. I ate dinner in the dark, and got locked in an ‘Escape Room’ with a complete stranger. I’ve been speed dating where I wasn’t allowed to speak, and sniffed dirty t-shirts in the hope of finding my handsome prince.
For the most part, I’ve found the weirder the dating event, the more normal the guys are who turn up! Whilst there is still a bit of a stigma about going to a dating event, particularly for guys, when it comes to the odder events, guys are more willing to participate, and to tell people about it.
Up until now, the London-based company DoingSomething have done well to make dating events in London different. The DoingSomething approach has been to think big. Record-breaking singles ping pong at Bounce, trekking over the O2 in Santa outfits, and playing Twister at the top of the Shard.
However with their next attempt to attract singles and grab headlines, I can’t help feeling they’ve gone too far.
This Saturday night DoingSomething will be sleeping over at the View from the Shard.
I first heard about the idea when I was at the company’s most recent Shard event – Singles Twister, and I’ll be honest, I thought it was a joke!
Don’t get me wrong – I love an adventure, and I love novel ideas. I also agree that the top of the Shard is a brilliant setting for an event. However, combining the idea of a sleepover and a singles event makes me shudder.
The guys at DS did offer me a ticket to attend on Saturday night, however I politely declined for several reasons.
I’ve gone to enough singles events to know that not everyone who is single looks and acts like Prince Harry (phwoar!).
Whilst it’s one thing to sit opposite a creepy guy, who gets a sweat on every time he looks at you, for 4 minutes at Speed Dating, it’s quite another to have to sleep in the same room as him! I wouldn’t feel safe, even if the most harmful thing someone did was to take a photo of me while I was asleep ….
When we first heard about the idea at the Twister night, several of us wondered the same thing … “Will there be some kind of security patrol?”
The idea of the evening is novel and exciting … which means it won’t just attract singletons. In the same way that couples have crashed Tinder, they’re also trying to get a bit of the singles event action, when the setting is particularly fun! Twister at the Shard was a completely novel event, held in the building after hours, and as a result, I saw at least five or so couples clearly arriving together. This particular event is not even being advertised as a dating event on all the sites where you can get tickets, which will only increase the likelihood of couples signing up. At any type of singles event it’s pretty frustrating to find out that having paid money to meet other singles, not every guy in the room is actually available. But when you’re sleeping in the same room as the other guests, there are other implications of allowing couples to crash a dating event … (See Number 7!)
3) The Price
It costs a whopping £99. That’s a LOT of money for a dating event. To put that in online dating subscription terms – you could have 3 months on Match.com or eHarmony for the price of one night sleeping on the Shard floor …
And whilst I know it’s a cool, once in a lifetime experience …. unless you can persuade a bunch of friends to part with a hundred pounds a head, you’re likely to be going it alone. In my experience, the best adventures are the ones you share. If you go alone, and don’t get on with anyone immediately, it’s going to be a long, lonely, expensive night!
This event costs 4 times the normal visitor price to go up the Shard. Yes, I know it’s an all-night event, and they’ve got some cool entertainment planned, but to put the price in context, Match.com are running an all-day event during the day on Saturday (taking 250 singles first class by train up to York, with Scott Mills on board for entertainment, and activities planned up north), and it’s all free. The key to running a big event is to get sponsors involved, so that the perks don’t add to the price. Perhaps if Doing Something had waited to run this event at a later stage, once the site has picked up momentum, they’d be able to offer an incredible experience, but without the incredible price tag.
4) The Timing
This was an issue I had with the last Doing Something event up the Shard, and part of me doesn’t understand why the price of events up the Shard are so expensive, when they start so late. The Twister event began at 10pm, when the View from the Shard closed to the public, and yet it still cost almost double the cost of a normal trip up the Shard. I’d assumed the late start was to make it more economical to hire out, but evidently not.
At least this event is on a Saturday night (running an event from 10pm to 1am on a weekday was a killer!), but it still means you’ll have to occupy yourself beforehand. Chances are, on a Saturday night, that will include alcohol, meaning it’s going to be a load of pissed up singles (and couples) heading up the Shard at 10pm. I refer back to Points 1 and 2! (and down to Point 7!)
5) The Faff
Daters have to bring their own sleeping bags. And obviously sleep stuff, toiletries, a change of clothes etc etc. If you are planning on drinks beforehand, that means a fair bit of faff, carting bedding to a bar, storing it somewhere while you have drinks, and then remembering it when you leave. Maybe it’s just me, but I always hate having to go out with loads of baggage – it just makes me feel awkward. Normally when I pay £100 to sleep somewhere, there’s bedding provided!
The faff side of things does, however, provide a rather amusing element … I wonder how many of the female daters won’t bother taking a change of clothes, or make-up remover, and will end up doing a ‘Walk of Shame’ from the Shard the next morning??! Now that is a once-in-a-lifetime tale worth telling! 😉
6) The Cold
A lot of the Shard is rather exposed. And it’s not the peak of summer any more. If I was going to sleep overnight up there, I’d need to do so wearing about fifteen layers! Hardly the kinky negligee that boys think all girls wear at sleepovers!
7) Communal Sleeping
I’ve slept in enough Australian backpackers’ lodges to know that sleeping in a room full of other people is not fun. The later it gets, and the drunker people get, the less regard they have for other people. And you never know who you could be sharing a ‘bedroom’ with – just look at the likes of Frenchie on Celebrity Big Brother!
Even if people didn’t head up the Shard in couples, there’s bound to be a fair few people signing up because of the novelty of the idea of shagging up the top of Europe’s tallest building! And what easier way of doing so than on a sleepover?! One single friend of mine even suggested starting a Twitter trend, purely to encourage a load of people to turn the event into a gangbang, 800 metres above sea level.
Cool as that may sound in theory, would you really want to be sleeping next to it?!
9) The Morning After
It’s bad enough waking up in front of a new guy when you’ve spent the night together. No one looks their best in the morning, but if you’ve spent the night romantically entwined, you can normally forgive a bit of morning breath and shadows under the eyes. At a singles event, you want to attract someone. And so wearing your PJs, removing your make-up, and waking up next to them at the crack of dawn have never ranked high in dating advice!
10) The Early Start
Yes, I appreciate the romance of seeing the sun rise over London … but if the event starts at 10pm, and is rammed full of activities … it’s unlikely that it will be an early bedtime. Add in the noise / potential shagging around you / fear of god knows what happening to you while you sleep … and I can’t imagine I’d be in best spirits the next morning! I actually have the liberty of working from home these days, so my Sunday mornings are a little less precious than they used to be, but I still wouldn’t be too chuffed to wake up at silly o’clock on Sunday, having spent the night on the floor!
Everyone has their dating limits … and I guess what I realised, when I was invited to the Shard event, is that my limit on singles events is sleeping in a room full of strangers. I love an adventure, and I love meeting new people. I don’t even mind staying in a backpacker’s dorm every now and again. But whenever I’ve done that, it’s not been advertised as a singles event! Throwing communal sleeping and a singles event together, just puts me on edge. Not to mention the £100 pricetag for the privilege!
If any 30 Dates readers do end up going ‘up the Shard’ (why does that always sound so rude?!!), do let me know how you get on! (And please, humour an old worrier, and take a rape alarm …)
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx