NEED FOR SPEED... DATING.
As a single working professional based in London, I often work long hours whilst juggling blog writing, podcasting, and all the marketing that comes with them. It's also important to look after oneself, so adding to this list: exercising, meditating, reading; plus a bit of socialising, house hunting (a job in itself)... and if there's any time left, a pampering session! With limited time in the day, like so many of us, I've sacrificed my love life in order to prioritise other areas, but this is pretty unhealthy, and unreasonable. I shouldn't have to write off my dating life! So, this year I've made it my mission to date more efficiently and effectively through changing my mindset and trying new things.
Let's be real: Ain't nobody got time to waste on online dating! Yet it's necessary to meeting people these days, so much so that it's practically become the norm. According to Statista, revenue in the online dating landscape is projected to reach $3.2 million at the end of 2021, with an expected annual growth rate (2021-2024) of 9%! But how effective is online dating really? Don't get me wrong, it's not entirely horrendous. I've spoken to and met some great people via the apps but I've definitely experienced more scenarios where I've conversed with someone weeks on end, to then meet up in real life and be slightly disappointed that the chemistry wasn't there, their persona came across very differently to the online version, or they were just shady af 😐... and that's only the tip of this problematic iceberg.
DATING BROUGHT TO YOUR DOORSTEP
There's a whole debate about dating being "a numbers game", and I think there's truth in this whereby the more experience you get, the more you can learn what works and what doesn't. Knowing what approaches are best, gaining a better sense of the type of person you're looking for, and finally how best to find them. Then, once you've (somewhat) figured that bit out, it's a case of leveraging those learnings to help identify the high-quality, compatible candidates for you.
During my year in lockdown I've tried all sorts of apps, attended a number of single's online game nights, and participated in a bit of virtual speed dating. I have to say, of the three, I found the most efficient was virtual speed dating. While you can be choosy and "like" as many people as you want via the apps, there's the unnatural process of waiting to see if they'll message back, like you back, or completely ignore you. Either way, personality is super important and always difficult to decipher until you meet in person. For the open-minded folk who want to mitigate the amount of time wading through old pics, fake pics, empty bios and entertaining dead-end conversations; you can strip out the long-windedness and meet up to 15 singles just like yourself, within an hour, all from the comfort of your own home. Understandably it's not quite real life dating, but think of the better use of time: no engaging in long, drawn out conversations (pretty handy if you're not particularly feeling the vibe), you’re in a safe space, you can quickly gauge if you'll get along with someone, and you get to see a real human face with no filters!
"SWIPE LESS. DATE MORE."
Isodate is the new kid on the virtual dating block, and per their strapline above, their mission is to make speed dating... speedy! No breakout rooms, no awkward shuffling between tables, no mingling about afterwards (or having to avoid the gaze of that really intense person, who decides they're going to try again at the bar post event). The events are catered for all kinds of dating specifics: location, profession, sexuality, religion, hobbies, interests, or even dietary requirements. While the company is still fresh on the scene (launched in March at the beginning of the pandemic), they've already run 150+ events across London, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. A few weeks back I connected with Luke Connolly, Co-Founder of Isodate who's an incredibly cheery chap with a lot of charisma! Side note: he completely threw me off with the slight Australian twang in his accent, currently based in Toronto, and originally from the UK, Birmingham!?! Confused. But anyway, I, of course signed up to an Isodate event to put his hype to the test...
Well it was definitely a speedy event, kept very simple! From start to finish I spent precisely 37 minutes of my Wednesday evening speaking to six eligible bachelors. I'll happily admit I was there purely for research purposes (I'm a blogger after all), but overall I felt Isodate offered a very civilised, safe and comfortable environment. Allow me to walk you through each step of the process (in case any of you want to give it a whirl).
You purchase a ticket via this page then will receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite.
Eventbrite will make sure you don't forget by sending a couple email reminders in the lead up to the event. (That was not meant to sound passive aggressive 😂)
Joining instructions are sent AM on the day of the event (most important part is the profile creation on Event Canopy and the passcode).
Profile creation includes: name, age, gender, city, match preference, and uploading at least one picture.
Once complete, you'll go through a quick microphone and camera check, followed by watching a 30 second video introduction.
If you arrive early, a countdown timer is displayed, teamed with some funky 80's disco music! 🕺🏻
The event starts and your screen will display the number of dates you’ll have throughout the evening.
As you move to the next person, the 80's music comes back on (yay!) for about 20 seconds whilst the rotation is managed by Isodate's clever algorithm. During those 20 seconds, you are immediately asked to give a thumbs up or thumbs down on the person you've just "dated".
When the event comes to a close, you have the ability to message the people you've liked through the platform... providing they've liked you back, that is.
The duration for each "date" is dependent on how many you have lined up. In my case, I had 5 minutes with the 6 guys — if I had the maximum number of 15, then the dates would've lasted 3-4 minutes. Isodate understands that their user base are busy professionals and therefore avoid taking too much time from their schedules. This is also quite fitting in that various sources state: it takes between 3-5 seconds to determine whether people are attracted to someone, and 4 minutes overall to make a good first impression! So if you're feeling a bit underwhelmed with traditional online dating apps, I'd highly recommend giving Isodate a go. It's intuitive, straightforward, and a nice way to connect with others (even if you're not looking to date!) The team at Isodate place great value on individual feedback to ensure their platform is the best in class, and if you have any suggestions on event categories, they're happy to take your idea onboard. In the coming weeks I'll be getting up close and personal with Luke on my podcast. He'll be sharing his view on the modern dating world, a few personal stories, and the lightbulb moment for Isodate. Stay tuned for that, and feel free to reach out to the Isodate team over at (@isodate.co) or Facebook (Facebook.com/isodate)