Speed dating eye contact

‘I’m not really sure what to expect,’ I overhear a man say nervously to the woman sitting next to him.

I can’t see him – he’s sitting behind a bookcase stacked with yoga mats – and I daren’t lean forward to peek – but I’m with him.

To my left, on the other side of the curtain, I hear another man and women saying they had read about Tantric speed dating and figured that it was ‘better than online dating’, even if it does push them out of their comfort zone and they don’t quite understand what it is.I also wear a dress which is floor-length, but only at the back.At the front its sits knee high, which turns out to be a mistake, as I have to try my best not to flash everyone during the many legs-crossed, on-the-floor exercises that come later.It looks as if we’re about to kick off a round of country dancing (I wouldn’t have entirely minded; Morris Dancing is not considered a novelty in my native Dorset). For another exercise we simply talk — à la normal speed date — but the deafening volume of the room as excited words bounce off the walls makes it hard for me to hear the young Russian man standing in front of me. It feels like I’m being forced to static dance with my mum’s friend’s (much older) son at a wedding. ‘Thanks very much,’ I think, but I wish they were bloody capable of apologising for themselves.Each ‘couple’ forms a ‘station’ and at each station we do an exercise together that Guy talks us through from his prompt cards, like a gameshow host. For the first one – as I sit opposite a total stranger – we’re asked to list all the things we find beautiful about the person in front of us. Another exercise has us sitting down, mirroring each other’s movements, which ends up feeling like a contemporary dance. With the next gentleman, I must now hug him and apologise on behalf of all my sisters, which he feels sincerely grateful for. Though Guy is pretty chill, approaching life talking about personal energies and meaningful connections, he’s also thankfully a New Yorker and can crack a joke.

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