One night; 10 dates

There seems to be a distinct lack of single guys in Cayman, judging by the turnout at last Thursday’s speed dating event, held at Britannia.

To put it simply, there just weren’t enough guys to pair up with the 60 odd women who turned up hoping to nab themselves an eligible man.

Speed dating – a phenomenon popularised by hit TV shows such as Sex and the City – requires equal numbers of men and women, who all ‘date’ each other.

But, seeing as there were so many women, and so few guys, organisers wisely decided to hold a series of rounds.

Not everyone wanted to participate – many had just turned up as spectators

– so, the 10 guys who turned up, dated 20 women each, with just four minutes to impress each ‘date’.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous beforehand, and if it were not for the moral support of a good friend – and a couple of glasses of wine to settle the nerves – I probably would have ducked out.

The night kicked off with drinks from 7pm; cocktails suitably themed. By 7.30pm, the bar was filled to capacity. The first round of dating – held in the privacy of the upstairs lounge area – started at just past 8pm, accompanied with a buzz of excitement.

I was in the second round of girls, and assured myself that this was the best round to be in; the guys had already warmed up, but weren’t too exhausted quite yet.

DJ Aldo of Kiss FM was the host for the evening and at 9pm announced the second round was about to begin.

The women all took their seats, the guys theirs and the dating began. After the allotted four minutes, guys switched seats, until everyone had dated each other.

The first few dates seemed a little awkward, but I soon got into the swing of it. By the eighth date the patter was definitely improving.

I already knew three of my dates, either through business or friends.

We laughed it off, and played the game.

For the occasional awkward date – trust me, four minutes can feel like a very, very long time – there were cue cards on the table, designed to elicit conversation when it ran dry and yawns were stifled.

What is fantastic about speed dating is, well the speed. If you don’t like your date you only have to endure four minutes. On more ‘traditional’

dates – say dinner – if you decide you don’t really like the person you are with, you have to endure hours of excruciatingly awkward silences languishing on and on for what seems like eternity.

Asked to describe what speed dating is like, I would have to say it was rather like a dating conveyer belt. As soon as I was finished with one date, along comes another.

40 minutes later, the dating was done. I joined my friend at the bar and exchanged notes.

Despite the obvious lack of testosterone in the room, I have to admit, the event was actually quite good fun, and judging by the atmosphere others agreed.

Organiser Marina Flynn, food and beverage manager at the Hyatt, said that many people who were just spectators paired up at the bar and deemed the night a huge success.

Whether love blossoms though, is quite another matter.

FYI

Britannia will be hosting its next speed dating night, Thurs-day, 6 September. Participant registration and rules will be provided on the evening, or can be obtained in advance. Email [email protected], or call 74-4655. Participants must be 21 years and over and single!

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