Speed dating. It’s a great idea in theory, however in practice while women love the concept and show up with their mates in tow, men aren’t so keen. However, people have observed that weirder “alternative” events tend to attract more eligible men as they want to come for the novelty, so when my friend invited me along to a ball pit speed dating event, I accepted with enthusiasm.
The event was run by Date In A Dash and held at the perfectly named Ballie Ballerson in Shoreditch. It’s one of those London hipster-type venues with neon graffiti prints on the walls, sweet flavoured cocktails, a main ball pit and smaller VIP ball pit. The format of the event goes as such: you arrive, have a drink and mingle, the guests are then split into two groups who in turn have a speed dating session in the VIP ball pit, then after that you’re free to drink, play around in the main ball pit, and chat to anyone you liked the look of.
My friend and I almost made it into the first group, however they ended up having enough people so we had to wait until the second round. From observation, it seemed like the first group were having a great time, and we bought drinks and amused ourselves for a while. When our turn came around, the ball pit was significantly more crowded that the first batch. The ball pit became so full that the men were asked to climb out, and the women had to arrange themselves around the outside of the ball pit, then the men piled back in and formed an inner circle. The “dates” lasted about 3 minutes each, after which the men moved around. I did quite like the look of the first guy I spoke too, however when I found him at the bar afterwards he turned out t be shorter than me and seemingly interested in another women at the event!
Dating neck-deep in balls was an interesting experience. It’s not something you do everyday, which adds a new dynamic to the event. It also provides a good icebreaker on the mini-dates. I also thought the venue was a good choice. However, I think the concept could have been executed more efficiently by having equal numbers in each group so the ball pit didn’t get too crowded. I think the timings of the event could also have been improved- my group didn’t finish in the balls until 10 which meant I didn’t get home until gone midnight which isn’t ideal for a worknight- and I didn’t even stay for much of the afterparty. Although this is due to living outside London, there are bound to be others at the event who commute, and even in London it’s quite spread out so I feel like the timings should be moved earlier. Hopefully though the first point will be polished with time and experience.
Overall I did enjoy the event, and would recommend it if you’re up for trying something a bit different. Dating apps can get tiresome sometimes, so it’s good to mix it up every so often and drag your mates to a singles event. Dating in a sea of balls is definitely a bonding experience, and you never know who you might meet!