Speed Duetting: What Happened When The Debrief Sent Me To A Lucky Voice x Bumble Speed Dating Night
The Debrief: Can you really find love at a karaoke night?
It's an unremarkable Wednesday evening a few weeks ago. I'm in Islington and I'm not very happy about it. Islington hasn't don't anything wrong, of course, but the circumstances that have brought me there certainly have in my mind. While I stubbornly stand outside having an internal tantrum, desperately willing the butterflies in my stomach to calm TF down, I try to find a plausible excuse for me to get out of what I'm about to do. I don't find one. So, I check my lipstick, adjust my bra a bit and attempt to rearrange my face into something that resembles 'happy to be here', and go in.
Speed duetting is a thing, you know. And it's exactly what you think it is. Speed dating meets karaoke. And The Debrief made me do it.
I am not good at dating. I don't know how to do it and I don't like it. I'm very good at being what I like to call the 'incidental girlfriend', though. Previous relationships have often materialised after a period of time spent getting close to a guy and me being completely unaware that it was a 'thing' until I'm introduced to one of their friends as the 'g' word, panic about it for a while and then settle into something I had no idea I wanted. It all works out just fine in the end but yes, I'm hopeless.
The moment I step foot into Lucky Voice, I immediately feel like I'm way out of my league. Don't get me wrong, I can karaoke the hell out of Cher if you let me, but faith in my ability to sing for the purpose of finding a mate is dwindling as I remind myself that I have no idea how to do that with regular words, let alone lyrics. No, I'm not a dating app person either. But I did download Bumble before the event because they partnered with Lucky Voice to pull the whole thing off, on the invite it said I'd get 2-4-1 cocktails and my ability to finish a mojito at speed is about the only thing I'm sure of.
A very handsome man gives me a sticker with my name on, which I hide in my pocket instead of affixing to my top, and ticks me off his list. I'm sad because he is clearly organising rather than partaking in activities, but I smile awkwardly, scuttle away with my welcome drink and sit as close to the exit as possible.
The premise is that the women, in groups of about three, are assigned a karaoke booth. The men, also in groups of about three, then proceed to go on a karaoke crawl of sorts, moving from room to room trying to make enough musical magic happen to leave a lasting impression. Some sing at us, some sing with us, some don’t sing at all.
A few rounds of men in and a number of mango mojitos down (I know better than to disclose how many), and the sceptic in me has taken a back seat. Let’s just say that between Blazin’ Squad and MisTeeq, I showed everyone a thing or two about putting on a show. Unbeknownst to me, that, unfortunately, didn’t aid meeting my future husband and no, no man fell at my feet in awe of my vocal prowess. But instead of romance, I found womance. You know when you go on a night out, pop to the loos and come out with a new best friend? Picture that, but a bond made over trying to make a group speed dating experience as un-awkward as possible as opposed to having both spilt a double vodka coke down your dress.
Safe to say I didn’t meet the love of my life. There was a cute guy who gave me the time of day before spending the rest of the evening with his mouth attached to some poor girls face, and I woke up in the morning with a text from a man from Mo (I don’t know a man called Mo), but other than that it sadly was not the start of a blossoming rom-com style relationship with someone who shares my secret passion for destroying popular songs to a pre-recorded backing track. What surprised me most, though, is that I can now definitely see how it could end up that way.
I’ve never fully understood dating apps. And before that, back when Sex and the City was still at large and speed dating was a thing that was done, I never really understood why you’d voluntarily put yourself into a situation where you’re forced to put your best face forward and promote yourself to a load of men you don’t actually know, who will only spend a maximum of two minutes getting to know you.
But I suppose we're approaching yet another new era of dating. It might sound a little harsh to say, but no one was more surprised than me to actually see people, regular, willing people who weren't sent to their idea of hell by their Editors, (thanks, Rebecca) at Lucky Voice at 7 pm on the dot, eager and ready to chat (sing) to strangers in hopes of hitting it off. We seem to want more from our dating lives than just idly swiping between faces in hopes of matching with someone who happens to like the way we look. We want excuses to be in a physical environment that allows for the incidental meeting of soul mates. We want the fairytale romance. The meet cute, the automagically having something in common and riding off into the sunset that has nothing to do with the strength of our selfie game. And these dating activities are probably as close as we're going to get to that.
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