dating

'I've started going on 10 minute dates. It's completely changed the game.'

This article was originally published in The Lonely Girls Guide newsletter. You can subscribe right here.

Yep. You heard right. I’ve been going on 10 minute first dates and it's been a complete game changer. 

As a serial dater and a great storyteller, I’m not blind to the fact that a lot of women my age glamorise my life. Why? Because everyone wants to be the most interesting person in their friendship group. 

Watch: The horoscopes, dating. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

They want to be the one who brings crazy dating stories to the table; they want to be the one who presents the profile pictures of the five men they’re currently talking to. They want to be the one who can make last-minute plans to fancy restaurants where they (occasionally) don’t have to pay the bill. 

I’m definitely exaggerating my extremely mediocre lifestyle but my point is, if you’re currently single and dating and you meet up with friends and family, you can trust that you will be at the centre of the "so what’s new with you?" conversation. 

Watch Em go through her dating profile. Post continues below.

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What most people who interact with their single friends don’t realise is how emotionally draining every single date can be, whether they're good dates, or not so good.

Think about it. 

Going on dates is one of the most draining forms of interactions. 

You talk about your personal life to an extent, sometimes getting extremely deep. You spend more time getting ready beforehand, wanting to feel confident and super hot. You have to be 100 per cent present and play close attention to the conversation to figure out what you’re going to ask them next. 

And then you have to deal with the will they/won’t they aftermath of what comes next.

Every time I come back from a date - good or bad - I feel exhausted. 

Then one day, while I was talking to the girls at work, I heard about an amazing phenomenon: Pre-date screening. 

Pre-date screening is when you briefly meet up with someone for no more than 30 minutes (preferably like, 10 minutes) to see if you vibe with them, instead of finding this out on a minimum two-hour, pre-planned date. 

According to TED Talk speaker, startup advisor and consultant Christina Wallace, "You only need about 30 seconds with someone to tell if you click."

I wanted to put this into practise, and because I’m a forward thinker, I already had two dates lined up. I didn’t want to cancel them to try this experiment because: 

1. Lol that would be so funny but also very rude.

2. Planning dates is another emotionally exhausting task I should add to my list above. 

Instead, I thought I could message the guys I already have a planned date with and say something like, "Hey I know we’re meeting up in a few days but I’m actually going to be in your area this afternoon, are you free for a coffee?"

Listen to Em talk about dating on The Undone Podcast. Post continues below.

Yes, I know that this message runs the risk of making me sound like a crazy stalker but I was determined to start this experiment (that, and I also had to file this story soon). 

The first guy came back straight away and said that he would love to meet up before our actual date. Success. 

Since this was a pre-date screening, all usual dating rules were out the window. I was running some errands that day so I was wearing coffee stained jeans and a fluro green jumper (stunning; I know). It was also pouring (thank you La Niña) so I was both drenched from the rain and drenched from my sweat. 

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But because this was an "impromptu meetup", I just went on the pre-date as I was. We met at a cafe and immediately clicked. The conversation was effortless, and I was very attracted to him. 

Being true to my word, I promptly left before the 20 minute mark even though I wanted to stay for longer. 

It was great. I decided in that moment; I loved pre-date screenings - I was now even more excited for the actual date. 

That same evening, however, I was humbled. 

Because I have such a large ego, I forgot that pre-date screenings won’t just benefit me, but also the guy I am meeting. And benefit him it did. He messaged me that evening and said that he had a great time meeting me but didn’t think we were compatible. 

So the real date was off. Oh.

Okay, that was super embarrassing, can we not tell anyone that happened please?

Usually in this type of situation I would cry, but I had an experiment to complete, so I had to persevere. 

The next day I messaged the second guy. Same deal: "I’m in your area blah blah blah..."

He agreed to meet up that afternoon at another cafe (honestly at this rate, expect my next article to be the 23 best cafes to visit in Sydney). 

We met up, and I hated him. Not just 'didn’t get along with him,' I hated this man’s guts. He was rude, he was arrogant, and he told ME that "feminism seems like wasted emotional labour." I did not know what this meant, but I knew I didn’t like it. 

Thankfully, the benefits of the pre-date screening kicked in (for me). After 10 minutes of being talked and mansplained to, I told him, "Sorry I have some more errands to run." (The errands being me needing to get away from him). 

That night I messaged him and told him I didn’t think we were compatible. He agreed (rude). But the pre-date screening worked! I think? 

I’m sad that neither of these dates actually worked out, but I’m glad that I didn’t spend over two hours of my time getting to know people who I would never see again. 

I think that I’m going to keep the pre-date screening trend alive, just for my amusement. Stay tuned! 

For more rogue dating stories or 'life in your 20s' takes from Emily Vernem, subscribe to her newsletter, or follow her on Instagram  @emilyvernem.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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