When I told one of my male friends that I had registered with a matchmaking service, his first reaction was disgust followed by a steady stream of expletives.
“Ha, they’ll set you up with date rapists or weirdos” he said.
His skepticism increased further when he found out I’d have to go on my first private speed dating mixer by the end of the month.
If you’ve ever met me you would know that I’m the girl most likely to try new things. I am always open to new experiences.
The first time I went to boarding school at age 9, I psyched myself for the experience by comparing myself to Eze in ‘Eze goes to school’.
But with this speed dating experience, I regretted it as soon as I signed up. I had been in a bad place and was convinced all men were douche bags and didn’t know what they wanted. So I thought what better place to find men who knew what they wanted than a speed dating mixer where the men are screened beforehand. [Personal disclaimer: I do NOT go around looking for men]
So I contacted the matchmaking service, they asked for my details.
Name, age, state of origin, village, profession, schools, how long was my last relationship, why did it end, where did you grow up, what are the three most important things you look for in a partner, what ages are you open to dating?
I will spare you the details of my responses to all their questions. I know I had to do a lot of thinking. Three most important things I look for in a partner seemed like a really short list. Tall, dark and handsome seemed like things that should be farther down the list instead of topping it.
To make matters worse, I used to have an age hang-up which I am proud to say I have been cured of. So the range of ages I am open to dating has broadened somewhat.
Fast forward to the night of the mixer, I have a rather demanding job and I hate being tardy. The venue was in Ikoyi and I was lucky to have been assigned to a client in that vicinity.
However, despite leaving early, I got there late no thanks to the traffic on Alfred Rewane. I spent nearly 45 minutes trying to find the venue because the organizers had given scrimpy details. The invite said Osborne Foreshore. How was I to know it was phase 2.
I was dressed in a cream dress with a cream belt and nude shoes. The outfit screamed work. My hair was dark with bright blonde highlights that I was sure would chase my potential future hubby [lol]. My glasses had been replaced with colorless contacts. I was ready.
Sadly, the mixer didn’t start for another 1 hour 30 minutes. I was fuming. The organizers didn’t even attempt to communicate the cause of the delays to us. We [five women] were just left there waiting until I’d had enough and walked up to one of the organizers to get an explanation.
Apparently we were waiting for an elite member. An elite registered member is a paid member usually they are entrepreneurs, foreign-educated or recent returnees to Nigeria and generally top professionals in their various fields.
The wine bottle finally came out and the mixer started.
The five ladies sat at tables overlooking the ocean. We had been given conversation starters printed on paper as well as another sheet on which to write our comments on each guy. The ocean breeze kept whipping the papers around.
I don’t think I used the papers at all. I like to think I am a good conversationalist.
The first guy I spoke to had the phoniest accent I have ever heard. He kept name-dropping and his most famous line was “I don’t like clubbing but whenever I do go I don’t sit with the regular folk. I’m always in VIP”. Oshey! VIP baba.
He then proceeded to interrogate me on where I worked which was a prohibited topic by the way.
I wish he had just been himself but oh well, he never stood a chance.
It was a bit weird considering that I only had five minutes to speak with each of these guys and form opinions. The best foot had to be put forward each time.
After the name dropper, I spoke to this guy who wore beach shorts. Who wears beach shorts on a date? He said he was a film director and then proceeded to tell me how he knew how to ‘take care of women’. Wawu! Just what women like to hear!
Beach shorts guy was followed by a familiar face. I knew the guy because he used to throw famous parties back in private uni days. It was at his party that I first saw a water dispenser dispensing punch. This was back in 2009. We spent our five minutes catching up and discussing common friends. We had been facebook friends for over six years. He asked me to ‘match’ him on my score card. The match makers would only give your phone number to a guy whom you ‘matched’ as opposed to someone you ‘passed’ on.
Familiar face was followed by The Writer. I remember him because he was the only one who asked me what I was doing there. He didn’t think I needed a matchmaking service to meet nice guys, thought I was a catch [blush], asked me when I relocated back to Nigeria [to which I responded “I’ve always lived in Nigeria] and listened to me while I ranted about how hard dating in Lagos was [Only 6 months and I am tired]. He also liked my blog ideas so bonus points for him.
The best five-minute conversation I had was with the last guy. The moment he opened his mouth and that perfect diction seeped out, I was sold. [Call me shallow!]. His laugh was a combination of baritone and mirth. I am usually very sarcastic and for some reason I didn’t feel the need to tone it down with him. he was up to the task and matched every witticism. We teased each other and talked about everything from swimming to work, travel to business ideas.
When the bell finally rang signalling the end of our five minutes, we both groaned in frustration. I already knew I was going to match him.
The night came to an end and we dispersed.
The organisers messaged me later saying I’d been matched by all five guys but I only matched three. They wanted to know which of the three guys I wanted to have my phone number.
They also shared the opinions of all the guys about me. I’ll spare you details of what the others said about me however Baritone Laugh guy thought I was all round awesome. Ah!!!!
I told the matchmakers to share my number with him with immediate alacrity.
In conclusion, I am never going back there as interesting as the experience was. Baritone Laugh guy and I are currently speaking and whilst I don’t know where this is going, I am enjoying the new friendship.
The lessons I learned from the experience are the need to be open-minded and open to taking chances. I didn’t think I had the guts to try something like this but I did it. And whilst I am not necessarily looking for marriage at the moment, I really like meeting new people and laying the foundation for something, possibly more.