Dating nights in London
This crop of alternative singles events are putting the fun back into looking for love
PlaydateRejoice, craft fans. This helter-skelter series of five-minute speed dates aims to do away with all those awkward conversational pauses by giving you a load of toys and children’s games to play with. It’s genuinely fun, but go easy, though. The Lego, paints and brightly coloured craft materials take you back to your first nursery dallies. But it’s probably not a good idea to pull anyone’s ponytail – flirting has got a bit more sophisticated since then.Go if… You’re still just a kid at heart.But be prepared… To spend a bit of time practising how to say it with plasticine.Next event: Fri Feb 7. playdatelondon.com
Silent datingIf you’re often struck dumb or just say stupid stuff in the presence of people you fancy then this night is for you: two hours of speed dating during which you attempt to find romance without speaking a single word. The one-minute ‘dates’ vary from communicating via gesticulating and making noises to staring silently into each other’s eyes. Smalltalk haters should bear in mind that there is a speaking portion at the end of the evening. We give it 30 seconds before your date turns to you and says: ‘So… What do you do?’Go if… Charlie Chaplin movies give you funny feelings in the underwear department.But be prepared… For am-dram style warm-up exercises worthy of a travelling theatre troupe.Next event: Wed Jan 29, Fri Feb 14 and Wed Feb 26. shhhdating.com
Speed listeningIf music be the food of love, then this is an all-you-can-eat dating buffet. Instead of chatting, you reveal your inner soul by playing your fave songs to other singletons via your iPod. You’re supposed to put some thought into song selections, but they can be naff as you like, so long as you can justify them. So you never know: this could be the first time you find love to Carly Rae Jepsen squealing ‘CALL MEEE MAYBEEE…’.Go if… Your idea of true love is putting ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ on a mixtape.But be prepared… For some people’s idea of true love to be ‘Rude Boy’ by Rihanna.Next event: Thu Feb 6. thenotewell.com
Speed duettingCalling all exhibitionists, wannabe rock gods and anyone who’s glued ‘Singstar’ to their PS3, this hectic event is part speed date, part honkalong karaoke sesh. No fewer than 50 singletons race around various rooms at Islington’s Lucky Voice, duetting on karaoke classics with prospective partners, before rating them on ‘vocal ability’, ‘star quality’ and ‘enthusiasm’. It’s a partner-hunting version of ‘The X Factor’. So, ‘The Sex Factor’, if you will.Go if… It’s your dream to have a gossamer-skinned hottie gaze tenderly into your eyes and croon: ‘I will always love yooouuuuuuu…’But be prepared… To actually end up hooting your way through a risible version of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’.
Toilet datingA must for fans of toilet humour, this pub crawl for singles ‘with a crappy twist’ is run by quirky dating experts Doing Something, and stops off at London’s most notable loos for chats on their history. Because… because… Oh, we have no idea why. Seemed to work for George Michael, though.Go if… You’re after an event that combines (very) niche historical interest with romance.But be prepared… To come up with a cover story to tell the grandchildren to explain where you met your life partner.
Dating in the darkAt this regular night, aimed squarely at the bold, the lights are turned off and you sit in darkness at a table of six-to-ten people, while waiters in night-vision goggles serve you a five-course meal of finger food (well, soup would be asking for trouble). After a while, candles are lit, you finally get to see the face of the person you’ve been flirting with and you find out whether or not true beauty does indeed come from within. Or, if you’re really unlucky, that you’ve just spent a couple of hours trying it on with that creepy biology teacher you had when you were 17.Go if… You’re a total sucker for ‘Beauty and the Beast’.But be prepared… To be completely disorientated.
Meetings without masksThis all-day singles masterclass claims to go beyond mere dating and teach you to ‘connect with your feelings, sexual nature, heart, being and soul’. In other words, it’s new-age dating and likely to be a magnet for yoga retreat regulars and those looking to balance their chi. At least you’re guaranteed to pop your cherry: one of the occasionally blindfolded sense-heightening exercises involves pairing up with someone and breaking a cherry skin by licking it...Go if… You’re tired of attending anti-fracking protests on your own.But be prepared… For some OAP love. One previous participant was 83.Next event: Sunday March 2. meetingswithoutmasks.com
SlagboxThe only rule at this raucous party for ‘singles who don’t like singles nights’ is that you must bring an unattached friend of the opposite sex. Once in, you get a numbered sticker, so you can write a note to the object of your desire and pop it into the ‘Slagbox’ for the compere to read out. The crowd of east London trendies, up-for-it love-chasers and dancefloor demons compete for the free booze awarded to the authors of the best notes. And the ace crew of DJs – including New Young Pony Club’s Tahita Bulmer – end the evening with a slow dance which leaves the dancefloor looking like a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation convention.Go if… You’re a hipster poet, heart ablaze with declarations of amour.But be prepared… For notes to say things like ‘Number 74, I want to finger you with my penis.'Next event: Fri Feb 14. slagbox.com
Rejoice, craft fans. This helter-skelter series of five-minute speed dates aims to do away with all those awkward conversational pauses by giving you a load of toys and children’s games to play with. It’s genuinely fun, but go easy, though. The Lego, paints and brightly coloured craft materials take you back to your first nursery dallies. But it’s probably not a good idea to pull anyone’s ponytail – flirting has got a bit more sophisticated since then.
Go if… You’re still just a kid at heart.
But be prepared… To spend a bit of time practising how to say it with plasticine.
Next event: Fri Feb 7. playdatelondon.com
- St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
- Affordable Art Fair Battersea
- Urban Food Fest
- Vogue 100: A Century of Style
- Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse
- Botticelli Reimagined
- Most Curious Wedding Fair
- Enter Wonder.land
- Silent Disco at The View from The Shard
- Fashion Show: Sixty Years of Fashion Photography