So, How Was Poly Speed Dating?

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Speed Dating

I’ve often started event reviews by saying that I wasn’t sure what to expect. This uncertainty could be exciting as a chance for new experiences and flexibility in imagination. The lack of information could also mean wouldn’t know if it would be worth going to and I might pick an alternative thing to do.

For poly speed dating there was a good amount of information on the website which gave me a good idea of what would happen and the general atmosphere the organisers were aiming for. I rather like pictures too though didn’t expect them this time since this was the first event of its kind in UK that I know of.

I knew the venue from previous Polydays and other events. I like the carpeted comfyness of the pub, Doggetts, with plenty of booths to sit in, and the central city & river views. Accessibility for people with disabilities we found out over time isn’t perfect but finding an overall better venue is also hard.

I was surprised a new poly event without huge publicity managed to sell out. Well done organisers!

The website made it clear to me that the event was friendly to people who, like me, weren’t heterosexual and was explicitly Trans friendly. I spotted and liked a practical tip on not inadvertently being unwelcoming to people of colour.

I had a chat with another guy about how the rules of the evening could be seen as a bit nannying. However, if some forms of good behaviour are obvious to me, they may not be to everyone and it does me no harm to be reminded of them. I think the rules helped create an expectation that the atmosphere wasn’t going to include having to fend off suitors; I think that helps welcome many women whom I hear have to deal with setting and policing boundaries for men all of the time. I’d like to hear from some women about that since I wouldn’t presume to speak for them.

It also helps make the space somewhere people can feel open to connecting without unwanted closeness later. Fostering that openness makes it more likely I will share more in my conversations and that others might be more connected with me during a “date”.

I say “date” but wanted to be clear with myself and my lovers in advance what I expected from poly speed dating. I was pretty clear what I was looking for: a social and fun time with other poly folks and making some new friends. I’m aiming to steer my life towards seeing more of the people I’m already pleased to be attached to. I’m not really offering a lot of time or emotional involvement to anyone new.

My only previous experience of speed dating had been an easy way of talking to new people and a chance to catch up with people I already knew, but hadn’t had a lot of one-to-one chatting time with. I hoped poly speed dating would work well for friend making and enjoying as well as for people seeking new partnerships and loves.

I recognised many people from previous poly things, and noticed quite a high crossover with the bi community that I know. I noted the website mentioned the venue as having had a bi event also in the past. I wonder why this was mentioned and the poly things were not – perhaps I just missed it. I also was happy to see new faces. I helped reassure someone that everyone didn’t already know everyone else. I liked there being a mix of people new to poly and some of us who had been doing it for longer (though I would not assume longer means we do it better)

I planned to arrive with one lover, met another on the way, and metamours were also present so it was good to briefly catch up with them too.
Before the event each participant was given a form to fill out giving their gender and the gender preferences of people they wanted to meet. You could also date as a group, say whether you had an interest in kink (don’t know what was done with that) and what age range you were willing to meet. Ticking boxes is necessarily a bit crude, and many of us don’t quite fit whatever category you might think up, but I think the choices there worked well for many.

When we arrived we had a name sticker which also had a code on it, and a personal sheet of the code and table numbers for each of our dates of the evening. You could state whether you also wanted “friends” dates with people for whom gender or age preferences did not apply. My list was full, some people had a lot of free spaces on their cards.

I was glad of the carpets for soundproofing in a space with 100 odd people trying to chat at the same time. It was pretty cosy and lively but I didn’t find it overly loud. There were plenty of sample questions handed out, but with such short chatting times in the dates I had we didn’t use the questions. I was pleased that I met plenty of cute and interesting men, as well as women I enjoyed talking to. After each 5 minute date we would tick on our form if we wanted our contact details passed on at the end (provided the other person did too) and there were also three spaces where you could ask for your details to be passed on to a person you spotted who looked interesting as a “cruise”. There were short breaks after every few dates.

By the end my voice was giving out and I wanted to spend time with a special someone I already knew, so I didn’t stay to socialise for long.

I enjoyed it, hope more of them happen, and short of a mythical perfect venue I can’t think of a lot I’d change. I’d like to hear how others experienced it, or would like to see at the next one.

About Grant Denkinson

Grant works in Astronomy / Physics with computers and as a psychotherapist. Blog: skibbley.dreamwidth.org

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