Week 6 - In which I tried to find love with 6 blind dates

Too busy to read the blog - Watch the video: 

The one I thought I would fail!

It’s an understatement to say I underestimated this challenge. When Virginie suggested it at the beginning of January, it sounded almost fun. 6 blind dates in the 6 days running up to Valentine’s Day - what could possibly be difficult in that?

I underestimated the London dating scene! Finding decent dates, especially in a pre-defined time frame, that didn’t object to being part of a challenge, proved near impossible.


Some surprising stats on London Dating

Being ‘date-less’ on Thursday, I decided to attend a panel discussion on the subject instead. Charly Lester, who wrote a blog about her 30 blind dates last year, quoted the 2015 Time Out dating survey. According to this survey, 60% of their 11,000 global respondents stated that dating apps gave them the highest number of dates, however 62% said they enjoyed dates organised through mutual friends more.

Well, I had no choice but to go with the apps, as unfortunately none of my friends could supply me with an eligible bachelor as originally planned.

Please see the end of this blog for my personal review of these 7 apps I roped into my search for dates: 

  • Happn                                                           
  • Bumble
  • Hinge
  • HowAboutWe
  • Coffee meets Bagel
  • Inner Circle
  • My Single Friend  

harly said, that new 15 dating apps are created every week, but less then 5% make it past the first year. Sounds a little like my experience with blind dates this week . . .


Who, what, when, where, how – and was it fun?

My dates covered the spectrum of society, from bankers to journalists, drone researchers to puppet builders. Topics included how to best detect landmines from the air, medieval Chinese warfare and marketing techniques for tree houses. I got a very unique and special worldview out of all my dates, even though I kept on constantly loosing ‘Tuesday’ in an overcrowded dance hall. With my only ‘impromptu date’, recruited at the dating panel discussion, we even Swing-danced in the middle of the pub.


There must have been weirdos?

Oh yes there were! The sweet-looking chap I recruited at my Speaker’s Corner Challenge, contacted me with a false e-mail address and created a new Facebook-Profile featuring only a photo of me. Creepy, and possibly married . . .

Tom*, who prefers displaying otters rather than humans on his dating profile, got so offended by this challenge that he started insulting Virginie for setting it in the first place.

And Hans*, a good looking actor, open his app-conversation with “I’m very sub in a role play scenario if that suits you?” Innocent (and German) me, needed a clarifying question or two on that one.

And then there was the South African, who stood me up twice in one day without apologising. Confronted with his lack of dating manners he only replied "it's OK you're upset. You're German."

* All names in this article have been changed to ensure anonymity.

Thank you Virginie, for suggesting this challenge.

Stay tuned for next week’s post, - when I will be enjoying a 64-some.

My personal evaluation of the dating apps out there
(in order of preference and effectiveness for this challenge)

Happn – all but one of my app-organised dates happened on Happn. However that is partially because I had been on this app the longest. Happn is a geo-located app, meaning it tracks your every step around town and shows you what other happn users passed you by. At the very least I was getting to know my male neighbours in a sort of stalking way. A week before the challenge I managed to break the app and was unable to fix or re-install it until a new software update was released. Their customer service is TERRIBLE, - I’m still waiting for a response, 3 weeks later . . .

Bumble – just over a year old and launched by one of the Tinder founders, this emancipated app asks the ladies to make the first move. You swipe left and right, (as in Tinder), until you hit a match. Then the girl needs to initiate conversation within 24 hours or the contact is lost. In about 2 weeks I collected 19 matches, 2 of which overlapped with Happn. I guess we all go shopping around.

My apparently ‘good behavior’ (honest profile, active swiping and responding) gained me a VIP status (VIBee). However I am not 100% certain of how that helped my matching.

Hinge – don’t you feel safest meeting dates through friends? That’s where Hinge comes is. Like Happn and Bumble, you need a Facebook account to connect. But rather then just showing you the intersection with your friends’ friends, Hinge connects you only to people known to your Facebook community or their extended network. If you so choose, you can answer a questionnaire about where you like to travel and what you like to do in your spare time, - however the questions are clearly geared at the US-market. As you only get a limited amount of profiles a day (around 15 – 20 in my case), I only reached 3 matches in the 2 weeks I trialed it. There is a time-out function connected to the messages (similar to Bumble), which means if you don’t answer fast enough, your connections vanish into thin air.

My Single Friend – I had first tried MSF about a year ago, but to no great success. When they offered a free weekend (otherwise this service is by subscription), I thought I would check-out the scene again. Most people seemed to have stuck around, however the idea that your friends are writing up your profile is still feels charming and liberating and makes for a fun read.

HowAboutWe – asks you to specify your ideal first date, (anything from having a simple pint in a pub, serving the homeless in a soup kitchen or going on a pedalo trip across the Serpentine). You make your selection based on which date you would most enjoy. You also get regular emails with suggested candidates.

Coffee meets Bagle – the worst app for my purpose, as it drip-feeds you only one date a day. And even more frustrating, none of the dates I was presented with were in any way attractive to me. You can accumulate coffee beans (internal money) to see more profiles and let them know that you would like to connect. However the profiles are poorly sorted, my category regularly showed me ‘men looking for men’.

Inner Circle – I would love to tell you more about it, but I’m afraid I can’t, as I have been waiting a good 2 weeks to get ‘approved’ from by them. When I tried it 2 years ago, I got a rejection and swore to never apply again, - but this challenge pushed my boundaries and I gave it a second shot. My friends seem to like it, - I’m just frustrated with the wait!