Speed dating eye contact
Unlike that man, who manages to break the almost tangible tension in the air with those few words that ultimately lead to conversation, I remain silent.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.As, I think, are the swelling number of people who quietly turn up for the occasion.We are at a yoga studio in Manhattan on a Tuesday evening, waiting for a Tantric speed dating session to begin.With phones on silent and in bags, ridding us of that electronic prop we so often turn to in challenging social situations, we continue to bask a little longer in that awkward silence until Guy kickstarts the night.In the centre, he explains, sits a ‘temple’ – a colourful cloth laid out on which we can place anything we like to bring us good luck and energy.If you’re like me, the little you know about Tantra is informed by the much publicly-discussed sex life of Trudie and Sting, after Sting made a throwaway comment in 1990. And yet I remember it and can’t seem to erase it from my memory.I might as well have walked in on my parents doing it.
Since the first event took place in New York in May, it has spread to San Francisco and Boston — and it’ll be coming to London later this year.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.They, just like the pair to my right, sound unsure and nervous.From my safe place behind the curtain, I glance over at two women and a man sitting in awkward silence on a large, low couch — until another fellow speed-dater bounds up and asks them to budge up, breaking the silence — much to everyone’s relief.