No More Swipes!
Phones down - two ladies are on a mission to bring the human element back into the world of dating.
I must admit that ‘Can you fly?’ isn’t top of my list of go-to chat-up lines. But it’s no worse than some I’ve heard in the last year of singledom, and it’s certainly better than some of the advances that I’ve received on swipe-right dating sites. I never thought, however, that I’d be working my way around a room, quizzing each gentleman present as to whether he had an alter ego and a red cape in storage – especially when I was hiding a secret identity of my own.
I’d been invited along to ‘Socialise with Charlie & Suzy’ to review the fourth event in their new business venture, which aims to bring the human element back into the world of dating. No more swipes and no more algorithms? I’m all in favour of that, and evidently, so are a great many single people across Norfolk. In the main area of the recently-redecorated (and even more beautiful) B’Nou on St Benedict’s Street, thirty sociable under-forties came together to meet, mingle, chat and – hopefully – to find romance. But would it work?
If there were a few initial nerves, the welcome glasses of Prosecco were emptied at a rapid rate and the conversation was soon flowing between the attendees, especially when the icebreaker game was announced. On the back of our badges, we all found a name and we had to find our perfect match. My name? Lois Lane. I was tickled pink that I was meant to be a journalist hunting out a man with a hidden identity, especially as I’d been given strict instructions not to reveal that I was writing about the event…
It took the best part of an hour to circle the room. There were teachers, tennis coaches, social workers and scaffolders, ranging from their early twenties up to nearly forty. But the one thing that everyone had in common (apart from being single, obviously) was the fact that they were all tired of the sterile, impersonal world of online dating.
After their own ‘Summer Of Discontent’, founders Charlie & Suzie decided to set up their business based on their tagline: #peoplenotalgorithms. The basic idea is to create the feel of a night out in a bar where everyone is single and free to get to know each other. At the moment, the plan is to hold bi-monthly events; after all, they’re both single mums with full-time jobs and organising evenings such as this involve late nights, planning and a lot of hard work.
Thirty is their ideal number; upwards of forty is too many, they believe, as they like to keep an eye on everyone and make sure that no one is feeling lost, uncomfortable or awkward. After all, it’s a big thing to come to a singles’ night on your own.
So would I come again? After I’d checked whether anyone could fly, this was my second question to the guests in the room that night, and without exception, the answer was ‘yes’. If nothing else, there were definitely friendships forming. And as for me? Well, sadly, I’ve exposed my secret identity as Muddy’s roving romantic reporter now but it wouldn’t stop me coming back for more. It’s just a shame that I never did find my Superman. But then, I suppose there’s always next time…
The next Socialise! with Charlie & Suzy will take place on Friday 12th July 2019 at the William & Florence. There’ll be a cocktail-making theme and places are already filling up fast, so please email email@example.com to book your spot. I may even see you there…
Words: Hannah Colby