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It was an innocent question coming from a friend of mine, another young widow named Alexi. In a few hours, we were slated to meet up with a few other young widows for a night on the town. We discussed the issue at length, eventually deciding that wearing a ring at a dating event would be pretty weird.

Years 46
What is my hair: Silky hair
Favourite drink: Brandy
Music: I like blues
I have piercing: None
Smoker: Yes

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Women seem to out them five to one.

Date a step deeper.

Not only has my screen-time halved, but I feel altogether more open. The more information you give, the better they can match: you can indulge details viaphone or an in-person chat. There are dogs everywhere: stocky staffies and goofy golden retrievers and preened little poodles.

Bondi Boy walks me home and gives me his jumper when the chill sets in. I feel a hint of something with one guy, a Brit with a dry sense of humour. While online dating has totally shed the stigma that was long attached to it, speed dating is still largely seen as a last resort for desperate singles who have failed everywhere else in the dating pool At least, that's what I went into it thinking.

I get a friend to drive me and turn up 30 minutes late, a strategic move to miss the awkward small talk at the start.

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Follow her on InstagramFacebookand Twitter at drillinjourneys. So who else is doing this? MyCheekyDate is a concept in speed dating that differs from traditional speed dating. Everyone was gainfully employed, sociable mostlyand somewhat attractive again, mostly. Traditional speed dating trappings are not used; there are no name tags or whistles, no loud speakers or over-the-top party trimmings.

It was perhaps the most profound two words ever uttered to me online: app fatigue. We grab hot drinks then sit on the sand, chatting and laughing under grey-streaked skies.

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Goodbye, Hinge. Allow them to arrange the evening! My editor has challenged me to delete the apps and look for love offline. First and foremost, MyCheekyDate focuses on your safety, happiness and comfort. Ta-ta, Tinder.

More open to possibility, more ready to muster some words together if I do meet a potential beau on the street.

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Walking in, it looks like your typical Saturday night at a slick city bar, except on closer inspection I see that the boys are all sitting on one side of the long candlelit table, girls on the other. Should there be any mutual matches, the organizers of the event will put you two in touch.

In a moment of panic, I gather the girls for a night out. I awake the next morning to a heavy head and a pinging phone. Alternatively, feel free to request a booking at one of your favorite venues if that will make you feel more comfortable. Their approach to matchmaking offers a fresh alternative to contracts and commitments. Cycling clubs, one tells me, are a breeding ground for men — fit and virile types who care about the planet too. I arrived on the singles scene in with an aching heart and a lot to learn.

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Seemingly overnight, dating apps had shifted from the desperate domain of the overs to the new normal. In fact, speed dating may actually be NYC's best-kept dating secret.

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The pub in Bondi is swarming with polo-shirted guys and pretty girls in snake-print skirts. And then, as fat raindrops start to fall, he grabs my face and kisses me.

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The rules of the road are fairly simple. I stand with a couple of other women and point out that the dogs seem more likely than us to get any action — one huge Pyrenees mountain dog keeps getting mounted by little mutts. I repeat: Wearing. They are changing the speed dating scene and attracting a more sophisticated crowd than ever before. Women sit on one side of the table while men rotate from seat to seat in front of them.

After all, I have a clean record, wide smile and impeccable hygiene. I feel dejected, but also determined not to let it derail my experiment. I back it up with another singleton soiree, Dating With Dogs, the following afternoon.


My half-filled shopping basket practically falls out of my hand and I make a mad dash for the exit, unsure if Bondi Boy saw me, and unsure whether to laugh or cry. Happn, I never really liked you anyway.

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Every man and his dog were on Tinder — or every man and his sedated tiger, all dumb grins and flexed muscles bulging out of Bintang singlets. I like to win — yet after a series of failed online dates, you do start to wonder if you really suck at it.

Meagan Drillinger is a contributing writer for Thrillist. After five minutes, the men move to the next seat, and so on. The constant flow of visuals in front of my face was also kind of like swiping through Tinder Not speaking from personal experience or anything.


Because really, why would a man put himself out there and approach a woman IRL when he could do it from behind the safety of a screen? At the end of the event, you pick the top people you were interested in and return the card.

Always using the utmost discretion, they intend to lead you straight to the man or woman of your dreams: the rest is up to you. The best part is that, drastically unlike Tinder, everyone there was actually looking for a relationship, or at the very least a second date. I pictured a snaking line of dolled-up girls changing seats at a dinging bell in front of a small handful of awkward, overwhelmed men.

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Even, dare I say it, interesting! Somehow, that wasn't it at all. I have three main fears in life: ending up alone, elevator doors closing in on me, and speed dating. The reality was rife with rejection. But for the most part, the men are warm, interesting, even vulnerable. Inside, it looked more or less like a restaurant preparing itself for regular dinner service dim lighting, candlelit tablesrather than the morose, clinical vision I had concocted of name tags, clipboards, and other trappings of business conferences.

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My colleagues are more excited about the experiment than I am, eagerly spurting out ideas and advice. With MyCheekyDatepeople are limited to the age bracket 24 to Surprisingly, there were more men than women -- most of whom were young, professional, and new to New York.

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Bringing simplicity and sophistication to thousands of their daters, they create a perfect night out. Finding the time and the right person to date can be a tug-of-war with your schedule and your heartstrings. I met men who seemed keen but never texted again; men who only wanted sex; men who were rude to waiters red flag ; men who flirted with waiters double red flag. First entry: Jumper Boy. And an expanse of blank space just waiting to be filled.

I pull out my phone and create a new of notes to document my real-world dates.

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People filed in one at a time and checked in with the hostess, who cleared their name from a list and handed them a card for keeping track of dates that night. Coffee rolls into drinks at a local bar, then dinner at my favourite Mexican speed. Initially hesitant, I got into the swing of it soon enough; window-shopping for boys from the comfort of your couch sure has its benefits, and amongst the beefed-up bodybuilders and BDSM buffs, there seemed to be a few potential suitors. Face-to-face connection, whether romantic or otherwise, dating a genuine benefit of this real-life-dating thing.

Of course there were a few oddballs, like the guy who was obsessed with his karate prowess and kept insinuating that his skills would come in handy to protect me on our pending second date. Using their refined and successful approach to dating, they have one simple goal: to help you find an ideal and compatible partner. Far from what I expected, the majority of guys I met were… normal. Dating can be a tedious task, so why not speed up the process with a fun and flirty session from MyCheekyDate?

As soon as I start chatting to my first guy, a computer engineer called Evan, my nerves dissolve. I can see Bondi Boy mulling over the cheese.