One friend in particular made the ultimate sacrifice, forfeiting watching a ‘crucial’ Northern Ireland match to accompany me.It was a touching and - if you’ll pardon the expression - loin-girding gesture, the classically celebrated love two men can have for each other where one gives up his Saturday footie to accompany the other to a 35-50 singles night.Unfortunately, I forgot the oft-quoted maxim that ‘all men are b*****ds’, as I’d only got as far as the front door and signed in before the pair of them had buggered off in terror.
QFT press officer and singles-night organiser Sarah Hughes explained to me the difficulties in getting men to sign up, something that was certainly evidenced during the evening by the uneven gender balance and the rather sinister/hilarious ‘holding area’ for spare women – where they waited until a table became available.
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There was one bloke who seemed to induce unanimous unease (not me, I’m delighted to say). What speed dating isn’t, it would seem, is a sure fire way to romance. That’s the hard bit you have work out for yourself, the easy, fun bit is doing things like this.
A straw poll during drinks after the event proved that nearly all the women found ‘Barry’ (name changed to protect the guilty) had been offensive, rude and 'quite scary'. And that’s why singles nights should be classified under ‘good clean fun’ and not, as some men might think, ‘public exposure as a desperate emotional recidivist’. Nearly every woman I spoke to had brought a friend and almost all said it was their first time.