Monday, 13 October 2008

Speed Dating and Chlamydia

08 Feb 2007

Every week one of the radio presenters on Key 103 sends out the KeyMail: an email to subscribed listeners, detailing everything the station is involved with over the next few days. After subscribing to this from, I saw Key had organised a speed dating night in Stockport. I instantly forwarded this to everyone on the promotions unit, the Street Team, asking them to back me up. There was no way I was missing out on this. Unfortunately I have the persuasive skills of a mentally challenged gibbon, so it didn’t appear to be getting off the ground for me, or my mates. How the hell I have managed to work in promotions for so long without these skills is a total mystery.

At the last minute, my boss emailed the whole team saying there was a shortage of men. I had to stop and think. Bar. Lots of girls. All single. All hoping to actually meet people, not just get drunk and be ignorant. BRRRRIIING IIIIT ONNNNNNNN!!!!

Speed dating is a social craze developed from an idea by Jewish Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, who devised a system to help Jews meet other Jews. Not long after, a bright spark in Beverley Hills felt that such a good timesaving (and fun) activity should not be exclusively Hebrew. The idea was modernised and implemented in Beverley Hills in 1998 and, not long after, the success of speed dating snowballed its way across the Atlantic to us Brits.

I got booked in and drove down there, manouvering around the ring road with surprising ease. I had to ask for directions in some dodgy part of Stockport (not the brightest of ideas, but what choice did I have?) but eventually I found the bar hosting the event. Stockport’s Brannigans was freezing due to being much quieter than a busy weekend night, but there were a number of applicable women there.

So I was sat at this table with some girl, sipping pineapple juice. (I cannot remember names, faces, anything- other than the odd occupation- an HR chick, a vet, someone in debt collection), I began to realise I had an upper hand. I’d done it before. I was possibly the least nervous person there, for numerous reasons: 1) I worked for the outfit putting on the event
2) I had done it before (at a disasterously overpopulated night at Tiger Tiger where, due to being out of work at the time, I was generally overlooked by every female at the event)
3) I had a genetic upper hand over most of the other men. Ladies, if you are thinking of going out on the pull- don’t bother with Stockport. Say-no-more.

Each man had his own table. The tables were numbered, and so were the women- who had three minutes to weigh up whether or not the man she was paired with was worth spending any more vital minutes with some other time… Likewise, the men make a similar decision from the brief encounter. And both sexes have a simple choice of which box to tick- “interested”, or “not interested”. After three minutes a horn is blasted and the “date” is over. The women move on to the next man, and all participants are required to form judgements on the spot. This is a game where first impressions are literally everything.

I was getting attention from the girls and I was ticking the “interested” boxes frequently, which surprised me. I was attending the event thinking, if I don’t try it, I’ll be thinking of the possibilities that I’ll have missed out on… I didn’t realistically think I’d meet anyone that I’d want to see again.

Afterwards, we handed in the forms and we were left to chat. I was talking to breakfast presenter Chelsea’s mum, a lovely lady. I always seem to aim for one girl, miss, and end up talking to someone nearby. Hence, I didn’t actually speak to the beautiful and probably charming Chelsea. Usually I end up pulling the girls I chat up by default, in all honesty, but that was not on the cards last night. Especially not with a local celebrity who is pictured on half the buses in Oldham and who co-presents one of the most listened-to radio shows in the northwest of England.

I also talked to Chelsea’s co-host Mike Toolan, who was asking me what I wanted to do in radio- a difficult question to answer as I’ve recently realised I have no idea. I have a technical degree but no technical skills. I like working with the public. Presenting would be great, but the world-and-his-dog wants to present: I don’t think I could I could handle a radio show without an expletive slipping out here and there… At least Mr Toolan recognizes my face now.

At this point, something unbelievable occurred. I had wondered previously, wouldn’t it be cool if they had karaoke at this thing? Lo and behold, karaoke was introduced! I made a beeline for the DJ and jumped on. Within minutes I was rocking the kas bar to “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin. Chicks loved it! The Marketing girls were like: “I didn’t know you could sing!” I said: “I’m a man of many hidden talents, darling.” Then I winked.

All in all, it was a successful night. I also bumped into one of my sister’s mates, who moved to Stockport: a bit random.

Today I went to Bolton, handing out information on sexual health. As you do. The client, the NHS, asked us to particularly emphasise the dangers of chlamydia, Britain’s “most popular” sex disease. One in ten 16-24 year olds carry the infection, which can lead to infertility if left untreated. Chlamydia, it seems, originates from the marsupial, the koala. In the wild, these lovely furry creatures will breed and breed. But if their population starts to go overboard, Mother Nature steps in and whacks them with a dose of the clap. The number of infertile koalas rises, and the population stabilises. Quite how the infection spread from koalas to humans appears to be undocumented, although I think we all have the same image in our minds… It seems that Britain’s human population is undergoing similar overhaul. And the British government have still not even made sex education compulsory in schools- let alone made any of the lessons more than an embarrassing, rushed debacle.

Britain now has 60 million residents. Despite the birth rate dropping since 1991, the population has been steadily rising throughout. Perhaps nature’s backlash is imminent…

The Chlamydia promotion was quite good fun, giving people condoms and leaflets. It was fucking freezing. We infiltrated Bolton Uni and gave away tons of stuff. I drove Vicky’s car to get down there, which was quite an experience. I almost crashed on the motorway numerous times, and then totally forgot to pay and display. I FUCKING HATE RESPONSIBILITY. I wish that I could handle it and behave like any other adult, but because of many interlocking conditions- some diagnosed, some not- I am constantly some kind of outsider, no matter how much people welcome me in. So I owe Andy £15 for half the parking fine.

My life is falling apart faster than I can put it back together again. But hey. At least I don’t have clap.


1 comment:

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