It’s Valentine’s Day, a day filled with very mixed emotions. For some there’ll be chocolates, roses and romance and for others booze-fuelled one night stands in a bid to fill the emotional man/woman-shaped void in their life.
And what about those without a permanent, semi-permanent or one-rinse partner?
While some will be revelling in their singledom and all its naked pizza-eating glory others will be weeping into their ice-cream wondering why no-one will ever love them the way Rose loved Jack and Snape loved Lily.
But here at MM we gave two of our reporters a gentle nudge back onto the dating scene… Well speed dating that is. Why wallow in your loneliness when you can be proactive about fixing it?
So armed with their finest chat-up lines and charming techniques Eve and Ed hit the speed dating scene in a bid to find their one true love, or at least someone relatively pleasant, to spend Valentine’s with.
The verdicts are in…
NO LIKEY NO SWIPEY: Ed would rather be at home waiting for his Tinderella than out speed dating
I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried going online and ‘swiping it’, I’ve tried conventional methods, I’ve tried doing it with alcohol, and now I’ve tried speed.
Speed dating, that is.
It was Eve’s idea, honest – we’d both hit recent dead-ends in love-lives, apathetic towards Tinder and yet not quite apathetic enough to just wait for someone to come along.
The answer, it seemed, was speed dating, organised by a company that purports to be the North West leader in finding love for single professionals.
Upon arrival at the city centre restaurant, I was greeted by a glass of champagne, and three sheets of paper, two with a grid on it, which eerily reminded me of my days as a delivery assistant at Argos.
The rules – ladies stay where they are, gentlemen move one place to the left every time a whistle is blown – made me feel a little bit like a sheepdog.
In some respects it was like the interview stage in The Apprentice, only I didn’t bring a portfolio of work to display.
It was clear there were some seasoned pros there, with people greeting each other with world-weary greetings of ‘you again, eh?’, much as I imagine comedians do on ‘the circuit’.
After roughly three ‘dates’, I began to forget what I was there for and just went into autopilot – exchanging pleasantries, but probably with a glazed expression.
You won’t be surprised to hear, therefore, that I didn’t meet the love of my life – next time, I’ll probably just stay in and swipe.
THREE-MINUTE LOVER: Eve found that in most cases a few moments with a stranger feels like a lifetime
There comes a certain point in a girl’s life when she thinks she can sink no lower: that point is signing up to plenty of fish.
However, as It turns out, she can; she can go speed dating.
With great trepidation I agreed to go along to a night of ‘fast love’, (I feel grubby even typing those words), encouraged only by that fact that Ed and I got a discount for going along together.
I really didn’t have anything to lose; I have had some dreadful dates in my time including The Worm Tongue Dribble Kisser and The Guy Who Talked About Fisting, so I was was pretty convinced nothing could be worse than that.
It was almost a disappointedly staid affair, mostly earnest chats with nervous IT professionals that at least left me feeling more sorry for them than for myself.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll never escape a evening like this without an encounter with The Worryingly Drunk Fella and The Leans In Too Close Man and of course The Talks Avidly About Hand-gliding Chap.
Three minutes can either go by in a flash or, and this was a far more common phenomena, last an eternity.
Being incredibly picky about my dates, I only ticked one person’s name at the end of the evening, but when my emailed results came in I had received 13 ticks from my 18 dates.
Dreadful though this sounds, it was heartening to realise that there are at least 13 people out there more desperate for love than I am.
On the whole the experience was nowhere near as soul destroying as I was expecting, which is more than I can say about most full-length dates I’ve been on.
I’ll be spending another Valentine’s Day without a date but at least I won’t be hand-gliding.