Different people have different views on speed-dating. Some believe it is a useful way to find love, others perceive it as a fun way to meet new people, and still others see it as a last resort. I identify with the second category, so last week I decided to step a little out of my comfort-zone and go speed-dating for the first time.
I’ve always enjoyed trying new things and interacting with new people, so I expected to have fun at the speed-dating event. What I didn’t expect was to discover a brand with powerful values that I could get behind.
Before taking part in the event, I did not know very much about Bumble. I had heard that it was a dating app which distinguished itself by putting women in control of romantic encounters. At the event, I learned how much more there is to Bumble and was properly introduced to the brand’s feminist ethos which underpins all that the company does.
The Bumble app works much like other dating apps – users swipe right to indicate ‘yes’ to the profile they see or left to indicate ‘no’. If both users swipe right for each other, they receive a ‘match’ notification. The crucial difference on Bumble is that once a match is made, only women can initiate conversation. In the words of Whitney Wolfe, Bumble’s CEO, the app is all about “encouraging equality”. It’s about changing the heteronormative rules surrounding dating, in which the man is expected to make the first move and empowering women to take more control. And, if the large male uptake of the app is anything to go by (the ratio of men to women on the app is just about even), men welcome this refreshing approach as much as women.
We believe that women should initiate the conversation – it all starts with a thoughtful first move! Be intentional in our pursuit of another person. If you want to go out with someone, just ask. pic.twitter.com/h9ZkxZq5Om
— Bumble (@bumble) February 24, 2018
Another interesting feature of Bumble is that it is not just a dating app. It has three parts – Bumble Dating, Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF. Bumble Bizz aims to facilitate networking and Bumble BFF enables users to meet new people with the objective of forming friendships. The app is a holistic one which not only wants to change the unwritten rules in dating, but also wants to introduce new ways to meet more generally.
In an effort to promote Bumble around the UK, the company’s marketing team has been coordinating events in different cities. So far, they have organised a number of BBF Events for women to meet up, and this week a Bumble Bizz workshop will be taking place. Events are advertised on Facebook, so give the page a follow to stay up-to-date on their activities.
The event I attended on February 15th was the first Bumble Dating event in Leeds, held at a nice bar in the city centre called ‘Crowd of Favours’. The location was very pleasant – a spacious bar which still managed to retain a cosy and comfortable atmosphere. Drink prices were standard, and I would definitely consider going back there with friends on a casual night out.
Upon arrival I was given a name tag with an ID number and a sheet of paper for me to record the names and numbers of my speed-dating counterparts. I was surprised to find a third column – BFF – in addition to the standard Yes/ No columns to tick if you liked or disliked a partner. Though unexpected, I thought it was a good addition, as at events like speed-dating there is a chance that you might click with someone in a non-romantic way and want to see them again as friends. In fact, throughout the night, I found myself using the BFF column on more than one occasion.
The event was well attended. Approximately two dozen people showed up, all between the ages of 20 and 30, with some university students present but mostly working men and women. In my opinion, the size of the group was ideal. It was large enough to allow for variety, but small enough that daters did not feel exhausted by the end of the event from speaking to so many strangers.
The area of the bar sectioned off for speed-dating was set up as one would expect: tables and chairs filled the space and were arranged to seat couples. Once seated, pairs had four minutes to get to know one another before a bell rang to let the women know that it was time to move on to the next table to meet a new man. Initially, I was sceptical that four minutes would be sufficient for me to evaluate my counterparts. As it turned out, the time was just right – long enough for me to tell if there was a bit of a spark between myself and my partner, and short enough that I didn’t have to make extensive small talk with men I did not connect with.
To help couples in case they got stuck for conversation, each of the tables also had a cue card with ice-breaker questions. I didn’t need to refer to the questions, however, as the people attending the event were mostly very pleasant and easy to speak to. In fact, although I came prepared to meet some odd individuals, there was only one man who was somewhat strange, and I say that because he struck up a lengthy conversation about psychopaths.
Apart from this exchange, Bumble speed-dating was a very pleasant experience and I enjoyed myself at the event. I didn’t find love, but I did meet some very interesting people, who I look forward to seeing again at BFF events.
Photo credit: Pixabay