“Life is rough for an adolescent tough, even when you’re good looking like me,” sang the Monks in 1979. Now imagine that you are not a good looking adolescent tough, but an ugly-as-sin hipster nerd who is basically scared of girls and somehow signed up to go speed dating of all things.
I suppose, in the back of my mind, I might have been hoping to walk in, sit across the table from my soulmate, and then waltz off into the sunset with them right away. It wasn’t quite like this. There was a nice balance of lads and lasses though which was a good start, as I was half expecting a real sausage fest.
I was told to bring a friend, so I asked Alex, a Frenchman from Sociology who is, apparently, some kind of master of seduction – at least back in Paris anyway. I thought it would be interesting to see how well he fares with les dames du Pays de Galles. I turned up just on time, grabbed some cheap cider from the bar and sat down next to him. He seemed to fancy his chances.
In hindsight, I’d had nothing to eat all day, so maybe the drink wasn’t such a smart idea. The bell went off, and I had to actually engage in conversation with the girl across the table from me. The event works pretty similar to Tinder. You get a load of boxes, you fill in the names to the numbers then you tick them off if you like them. Of course, to get the full journalistic experience, I needed to do my best to get at least one of those boxes ticked. As I moved on to the next girl, I would attempt a suave comment to break the ice, but “make sure you put down a yes, because it’s always a yes from me!” or similar words probably just had the effect of suggesting that I am a scumbag with zero standards or preferences. As the minutes passed and everyone got drunker, one or two girls yelled back “You are getting a tick my friend!” which was as much of a power trip as when I went and did a somersault for Gair Rhydd Sport this week (shameless plug).
I asked most of the girls to guess my degree, year and age. Most of them guessed I was some kind of first year computer science student which was a little worrying. I guess, like I said, that’s what you get for looking like such a massive nerd. We talked about names, ages, boring shit like that, one girl was particularly excited by the fact that I am a Zelda fan, which I would have thought is not particularly unusual… Sometimes, I would tell people my age and my number at the same time- “It says I’m 23, but I’m actually 19.” Smooth. I also asked what their preferred kind of date would be. One told me my plan of “Dominos and chill” was a little too ambitious for a first date. Several agreed that the best first dates are ones where you both get trollied. One even agreed with my all-day plan of Winter Wonderland, shopping, Harvester, and then Clwb. I was basically in love right there, although we were yet to establish who would be paying for this date of all dates before the bell struck and she moved on. You couldn’t talk about much – you only get two minutes with each, making the whole thing seem a little like the conveyor belt in a sushi place. All in all though, I did not get a whole lot of time to determine whether I had indeed met my one true love. The guy in front of me however seemed to find his soulmate every time, dawdling for about thirty seconds before he finally moved on – pressure or what?
The only problem was, I stole a drink I found lying around halfway through and poured it into my cider, and it turned out to be pretty strong, so by the time I got to a really interesting girl at the end I was too wrecked to actually string a coherent sentence together. I started having trouble asking my questions, and at one point told someone that “I am a first year too, yes… or at least, I was. Last year.” Alex seemed to be doing better, saying that he “met some good material.” We then proceeded to get more muller-riced at The Taf, where I had a union burger which surely tasted better in my famished gob than any kiss ever could. As for whether it works out for me and my match? Only time will tell. “Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow,” as Cornershop sang in 1997