Martina Mc Auley dates Expatica style

Martina Mc Auley dates Expatica style

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I must admit, I had a great night when I tried out the English speaking, Expatica.com speed dating event.

I did the Dutch speed dating first and wanted to compare it with the speed dating organised by Expatica.com so I found out when the next one was on and tried to rally up a few friends to come with me. I had heard from other people who had already done it that it was good fun and very enjoyable. So that was a good omen.

I booked a ticket and my friend Marianne registered too but she was put on the waiting list. With a bit of chopping and changing and another friend of mine cancelling, Marianne got a ticket. In the meantime, being winter, it snowed buckets. So we were both thinking, if people have cancelled because of the bad weather, then should we still have to pay the full whack of 35 euros and get to meet a smaller quota of guys? Marianne called Expatica and asked them what the situation was. She was told that they had called everyone who had booked yesterday and they would all be turning up, so that put our fears to rest.

And they were right. Twenty-eight guys  and gals turned up.  Wow, that was even more than the Dutch speed dating!  So we were getting a good deal for our money. I had arranged to meet Marianne at the venue in Amsterdam at 7.45pm. I got there anyway, through the snow and arrived on time, for once! I'm nearly always late for Marianne's appointments. I don't know how she puts up with me but anyway. Marianne arrived shortly after me and we were both given a pink sheet with a list of the guys, a white list for us to make our own notes and two drinks vouchers. The guys get a blue list with all the ladies names and table numbers etc.

There was a really nice feeling to the place when I walked in. It was small enough but the tables were set out for the ladies, very professional looking but cosy at the same time. I liked the atmosphere. Now on Expatica's website, it says that the general age group for the speed dating is between 28 and 45. I was near the top end of that age bracket and I was thinking that most of the guys and ladies would be a lot younger. But actually I was pleasantly surprised. There was a very good mixture of ages and I think the age group for last night anyway, was closer to our age group, which was a bit of a relief.

Kira, who was organising the night, explained to us what the procedure was: the ladies sat at the tables and after three minutes and a blow of the horn, the guys moved to the next table. We started at about 8pm as Kira was waiting for one or two more people who were stuck in the snow, to turn up. As we were heading to our tables, both Marianne and I said to each other:"Let the games begin"! There was a bit of confusion at the start, beside me, because one of the ladies had moved tables and it left one guy without a lady to talk to but it was sorted out quickly and everybody was happy in the end.

The guys were from all over: Russia, Italy, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Iran, India, England, you name it. It made it very interesting. When I was thinking about doing speed dating, I always said to myself, three minutes is too short as it doesn't give you enough time to make an impression or get an impression of someone but I was surprised that in situations like that, when you've got so many guys talking to you, it was very obvious sometimes that there are people that you don't click with. And you can tell straight off within the first couple of seconds. But then there are guys who you get on with straight away, and that counterbalances the whole thing.

I get on well with most people and I know we can all get a bit nervous at things like this, so maybe actually it's a good idea then that, on our list, there is a column where we can tick off the guys who we want to be friends with. So if after three minutes, you want to keep in contact with them and maybe meet up for a drink at a later stage, you can tick off that column. Now that wasn't offered with Speed Daten.nl. I think it's a good thing, because sometimes a friendship can turn into a relationship, so it gives you that option. There is of course, a column where you can tick off the guy's name if you want to have a date with him. Then Expatica matches up the "friend" requests and the "date" requests and lets each person know about this and exchanges email addresses between the two people. Then it's up to you if you want to take it further.

We had two breaks in between the proceedings, which was definitely necessary, as it's a lot of information to take in, with all the guys that you're meeting. I also tried to ask different questions, to make it a bit more interesting but sometimes you get talking about one subject and it's all you talk about for the 3 minutes sometimes and then other times, I was stuck for something to say. Some of the guys we were talking to said they'd been to one or two of these speed dating before and it felt sometimes like they were being interviewed, because a few of the women had a list of questions to ask, like 'what car do you have?',  'What job do you do?' etc. Not much fun, understandably.

So anyway, both Marianne and I handed in our lists to Kira and there was one guy that I actually selected for a date and about 7 others who I selected to keep in contact with as a friend. So we'll just have to wait and see if we get any hits!

Would I do it again? Yes, I would. It's a great way of meeting new people and most of them were all very nice, including the bankers!!! The location was great too. It was well-organised and good fun and I really enjoyed it.


Martina Mc Auley writes travel blogs and on her life in the Netherlands under the name Flyingbat.

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