Expanding my network is one of the goals I have for this year but when the opportunity came up to attend a speed dating event, my first reaction was to shrug it off. After a few hours in "neutral" mode, the idea of attending seemed like a good blog post in the making.* Meeting new people with the possibility of finding love is bound to have an interesting angle...
So from not caring about the event to already planning out my outfit and thinking of how awesome it would be to find a kindred spirit to explore Lagos with, I convinced myself to attend this event! (yes, my head was full of exclamations :) Add to the fact that I thought it would be a great "trying something new" blog post.
Technically, this wasn't a first for me….
My experience with speed dating in Lagos began as a promoter. In February 2010, I had just moved back home and was excited to help out with promoting a speed dating event for the hotel. I edited a 2 part stop-motion video and posted it on our facebook event page:
This time around, I was set on attending a speed dating event with no ties to the coordinator. I got my nails
done did (that last picture of my nails was a wakeup call :P) and unleased the fro.
After the speed dating event, I planned to stop by Whitespace to check out the ROF Fashion Night Out and maybe head over to L'escape to
get free gifts show face at the launch of Nibi from the Kinky Apothecary's concession stand. The day was young, the speed dating event was set at 3pm with the words PROMT right next to the time. I was not going to be the one who walked in while everyone was engrossed in conversation so I set out in enough time to get there on time.
DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion of Speed Dating by Bisola and Café Maison, I have no affiliation or hidden agenda for the event or Café Maison.
I got to Café Maison at 3 oclock-ish and was greeted by an assistant. I signed up, made the payment and headed straight into cafe.
I was the first to arrive and met the event coordinator, Bisola. There was another speed dating event on Friday but I was drawn to the poster above and I was curious about who this "Bisola" was. It turns out that Bisola is a down-to-earth matchmaker who is also a tax attorney. We had a brief chat about why she started coordinating speed dating events and I learned that she started in 2011 and has always had a flair for matchmaking. She shared a few stories and pointed out that it was a venue for young professionals to mingle. She also mentioned that having a positive attitude an open mind were important factors in speed dating.
|Meet Bisola :)|
To kill time, I walked around the cafe and as there was no angry supervisor to stop me, I took pictures. I loved the ambiance of Café Maison and was especially drawn to the cashier's area, it had that rustic coffeehouse touch; a blackboard with house specials written in chalk and the sound of world music playing in the background. All that was missing was the smell of coffee and the hissing sound of a coffeemaker. I hadn't eaten lunch so I ordered a panini and settled on a couch, flipping through magazines until the event started.
|Chicken & Chorizo Panini|
The panini was decent. The chorizo was sliced just as I like it but I would've liked more chunks of chicken. I opted for the tomato salsa instead of fries, I had a little of the tomato salsa and thought it was promising. Based on this meal, I won't mind stopping by the cafe to try a main entreé with their lemon grass tea. I think it's a good place to catch up with a friend if you are around the area. Having said that, there are many other cafes to try out so I won't be running back just yet.
I had it in my mind that the event will go on till 5:30ish so I was pretty relaxed with the passage of time. At that 4 o'clock mark a few more ladies strolled in and one of them sat right next to me. We chatted briefly and as time passed, she got a little antsy about the female to male ratio. She said she had invited people and most of the men were too traditional and viewed a speed dating event as "desperate." We both disagreed that it was "desperate" and she pointed out that it was probably because we were exposed (in a non-elitist way, she had a good point) The inner Rachel Bertsche in me wanted her to become my new friend. I thought she was cool. She ended up leaving before the event started. I, on the other hand, took the silence as an opportunity to reflect on my bad conversational habits and recorded them in my iPhone notepad (partly out of restlessness) to never repeat them again.
Sidenotes and dialogue are added for the blog, I'm not that weird :P
1. Apologizing for what I need to do. e.g. I'm sorry I just want to…
2. Always trying to make connections with what other people are saying. e.g. You went to school in [insert state] ? I know a school there!
3. Being self-effacing/timid. I think it's okay to brag and be loud once in a while. I need to incorporate this somehow. e.g.
Person: Traffic is so bad in this city
Yeah, I know *giggle* Not if you have a private jet like me! *guffaw*
4. The old record player. That thing I ALWAYS say that no one seems to catch on.
Person: You lived in California? I know someone in San Francisco.
Me: Yeah, but northern california is like an entirely different state. (I lived in southern california)
Person: I see
Me: (in my head) They didn't need to know that....
Anyway, I think the lady
who I might have scared off would make a good "lets do lunch" friend. At this point, Bisola apologized for the late (soon-to-arrive) comers. I understood the CPT factor but the way it looked, the late start was going to eat into my other plans. Then the internal fretting began. What would I have for my blog? I wondered. I Went To a Speed Dating Event and No-One Showed Up?
Do you see why I need to be a writer? Reality is not enough….lol
Just then more people came and Bisola read out the house rules. The women sat on the numbered tables and the guys went around after 4 minutes of conversation. It was fun and brief. When one of the male attendees asked for more time, Bisola joked that it was better to leave things brief to avoid spoiling their chances as illustrated with a past female attendee who asked for more time with a guy she was talking to only to learn enough in the extra minute she got to scratch him off her yes list. With this example 'ole boy reverted his request.
I thought the speed dating itself was light-hearted and fun, definitely not desperate. We rounded things up and got into a discussion about male and female relationships, headed by a question from Bisola about whether the two statements below were true or false.
Physical Attraction is an important factor when looking for a mate to settle with. True or False?
All men must cheat. True or False?
During the discussions and the new conversations that emerged from them, we were served club sandwiches, fries and a drink. I thought it was an honest conversation session between the sexes and I would have loved to stay longer but I wanted to make it in time to the other events so I said goodbye to Bisola (who was so sweet to make sure they packed up my leftover sandwiches) but when I got to the car, I found out the battery was dead. To cut a long story short, an enterprising guard helped us out with a temporary battery and jump cable for the (rented) cost of N1,000. Now you'd think that out of the goodness of his heart he wouldn't charge people for something he doesn't own (this crossed my mind when I asked if it was for sale) but he was only willing to knock off N300. I gave him N700 and decided to head straight home.
For anyone considering speed dating in Lagos, my advice is to get in touch with the coordinator(s) to learn more about them and if you're satisfied with what they have to offer, try it out! If you're interested in future speed dating events, here's a link to the one I attended: www.speeddatingbybisola.com
*I sometimes wonder if I am doing all this for my blog or vice versa.