So you know how traditionally a first date is all about getting to know one another through witty banter, white lies (“Oh yes I’m totally into turtle racing too”) and flirtation.
Well kids, that is all sooo yesterday.
The latest trend for finding your Mr Right (for now, at least) is... wait for it... The Silent Speed Date Disco.
And you thought things couldn’t get any weirder!
The concept: A circle of woman on the inside, a circle of men on the outside. Everyone is issued with their own pair of headphones and when the music plays you dance with, around or (if things are going really badly) away from your partner. When the music stops, you freeze and rotate positions. Think musical statues for grown-ups, except this time the prize isn’t a lame packet of lollies it’s YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND!
Now I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t overly excited about giving this one a go. I hadn’t been to a disco since 1996 and I was feeling a little too old to be snowballing with a bunch of strangers. But I dusted of my dancing shoes and went anyway.
As soon as I arrived it was clear the folk here took the “silent” part of the event very seriously. Big posters with “Shhh!”, “Hey! NO talking!” and creepy faces with zipper mouths assaulted the entrance of the hall.
Wanting to know what time the event finished (I had full intention of making use of the open bar), I walked over to the registration woman.
“Shusp” The woman pointed to the “Silence!” poster above her head.
“Yes I know, but I just...”
“Zip, ziiiip,” she scolded.
Watching her mime sewing up her lips and throwing away some kind of key made me want to shove a mega phone in her face and yell “THE DANCE HASN’T STARTED YET”!
Entering the hall was like traveling through a time warp. Microwaved sausage rolls lay limp on plastic plates and all the guys were gathered in one corner whilst the ladies primped themselves in the other.
And the silence! It was so quiet I wondered if I was in a morgue instead of a modern day mating ritual. Everyone was uncomfortable, and there was nothing to do but fake a smile and pretend we weren’t collectively hoping for some sort of natural disaster so we could all leave.
A guy who looked like Lurch out of the Addams Family handed out headsets and the rules for the evening were displayed on a projection screen. We took our places and switched on our enormous earphones.
There are several music channels you can chose from: Techno, R&B, Disco or Classical. So while I’m bobbing along to Beethoven, my partner is rocking out to some obscene techno/trance track. It is virtually impossible to maintain any kind of rhythm or coordination when everyone is listening to different music and the whole thing becomes even more awkward!
By the third round of partners I had used up my best moves: I was all out of shimmies and shakes and my feet hurt. I was tired of removing unwanted hands from my hips and dodging the crotch grinders. I was also covered in strange man sweat and fairly certain all I would get out of the night was a sty.
Limping home I wondered when we had turned chasing romance into such a big song and dance and if maybe the old matchmaking game had perhaps gone too far. I’m just not convinced that doing the funky chicken with strangers is the way to score a date.
Now if you excuse me, I need to get ready for Blind Date Bingo.
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Keep up-to-date with all of Tara's adventures here @MissTara_O. She writes about sex and all that other fun stuff!