Successful events, like beauty, are apparently in the eye of the beholder. And yet, like beauty we can all go some way to making that eye spy in a more favourable way. And like beauty there are some base measures by which we can judge the relative success of an event.
Lack of serious injury for example. Or the event actually taking place.
And preferably not in a working men's club straight out of a Mike Leigh 80's feature.
But seriously, what does make for a successful event? A comedian friend who MC's some amazing comedy nights always begins with "it's a well-known truth that happy audiences make for a better night. The Comedians are going to give you comedic love. Give that love back as loud as you want and I promise we'll have an amazing show."
Now, Speed Dating events in London aren't exactly comedy shows, although they are often inadvertently humorous. And there is no single point of focus whose sole purpose is to entertain. But the point is the same. Beyond the logistical requirements managed by the Speed dating company, the success of a speed date night is dependent upon your engagement - retrospectively quite literally in some cases.
I get all the gossip at an event. Who is the 'hottest' guy/girl? How the guy who says he's a pilot is actually an accountant. Why the girl with the tattoos has a limp. But the biggest and most painful thing I hear is: did you speak to the guy/girl who said nothing? That 4 minutes felt like 20. Like drawing blood from a stone etc.
For the sake of you and others, get involved. You've taken the most difficult step. You've booked a ticket, turned up and started meeting people! Well done. The rest is easy! It's call and response! You could be the most stunning, successful and interesting person this side of insert stunning successful and interesting person here but unfortunately the vast majority of the population have yet to master telepathy.
It's okay to be nervous or shy. Almost everyone is. It's an unnatural way to meet people. But the host is there to help. Say hello to them. Get them on your side. They will, if they're any good, help you out of any difficult situations should they arise. But whatever you do, don't sit in silence or, worse still, proclaim loudly that this is going to be sh*t/there's nobody hot here/everyone is sad.
Your nervousness shines like a beacon above you like some desperate bat signal - but no sympathetic superhero will be forthcoming. And if you're not nervous or shy, you're just being a twat. So why come in the first place? If you wanted to pay money to shout abuse, go to a Chelsea game.
So after leaving the logistics to us, what makes a successful speed date event is very simple really. The people. Try to relax and have fun. Remember almost everyone there is in the same boat as you. The first one or two dates may indeed be difficult but you'll quickly realize everyone's human. Once you realize that I promise you'll have an 'amazing show'.
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WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS