Metro speed dating
In contrast to the women, each man I lock eyes with around the circle is like a nervous ball of energy. One woman in her 50s, perhaps the most confident in the room, wears an interesting combination of cycling shorts, a metro speed dating velvet top, trainers and blue eyeshadow and she stands, wide-stanced, hands on hip, in the middle of the space, eyeing up her prey. Am I meant to keep repeating the same thing over and over, or keep imagining up other lovely things to say about this complete unknown before me?
I count 36 of us. 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. But I suspect some did. As does the late something man that she towers over next to her. I make myself as small as I can, wedged between a pile of mats and a thick red velvet curtain that is inexplicably draped across the hallway as we wait to go in. As we move into the candlelit studio, we remove our shoes and are asked to stand in a traditional puja circle.
The exercises are mixed. I might as well have walked in on my parents doing it.
She asks me how I enjoyed the evening and I say I liked it, it felt good to try something new.
Despite the palpable nerves in the room, everyone seems to give an honest and straight answer. Another is a visualisation and share thing. We are at a yoga studio in Manhattan on a Tuesday evening, waiting for a Tantric speed dating session to begin. For me, tonight was an opportunity to meet someone face-to-face in an honest environment without the endless messaging, game-playing and faux confidence of first-date drinks.
With the next gentleman, I must now hug him and apologise on behalf of all my sisters, which he feels sincerely grateful for. Randomly, I bump into the something wants-a-lover women in Whole Foods a little later.
And so I find myself embracing a 7ft tall man who feels as metro speed dating to this exercise as I do. Make of that what you will. It was Guy who had the idea to combine tantra with dating when he noticed a pattern in clients telling him they found it hard to meet people in New York.
But when I return the question she seems less impressed than I expected her to be. After roughly two and a half hours, we complete the rotation and my beads remained firmly in my pouch. We start by doing a school-like energy experiment, led by Guy, before going around the room, introducing ourselves and saying what we want to get from the evening. The majority of men look like they work in IT and have come from the office. But then I freeze.
To be physically present, to try out real human connections. Where I struggle to hold eye contact or stop grinning, they are very comfortable in themselves and with the language of the night and things we are asked to do.
The guy is kind and holds my hand — metaphorically speaking — through this confusing and new experience, and he laughs with me as I bumble my way through the task. Ladies form an inner circle facing the men on the outside. My money is on them hooking up.
And, on another occasion, I might have joined them. The men are handed empty pouches, each with a number on the front, which they too wear as jewellery for the evening. Hannah Berry George is a Writer and Director.
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