My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On the market

This Life column from Day and Night magazine in yesterday's Irish Independent

Did you know that a certain swanky food market on the southside of Dublin is now one of the top three pick up joints for single people in the capital? I have it on good authority – you know, rumour – that people on the lookout for love deliberately target this food emporium hoping to pick up something sweet while buying a bag of sugar, or bag a beefy hunk while perusing the meat counter (best double entendres on a postcard please).

Joking aside, I for one welcome this development, if for no other reason than it shows that we Irish are finally thinking a bit more laterally about how we meet potential love interests, and are perhaps no longer relying solely on those fickle temples of temporary self-esteem (or pubs as they’re known elsewhere) to expand our romantic horizons.

Of course, supermarket cruising has long been a feature of single dating scenes elsewhere. A friend of mine was in Australia a few years ago for Valentine’s Day, and she took part in a singles event called Cereal Dating. Those taking part turned up at a designated time in the cereal aisle of a food market and picked up a brand that best summed up their personality. It was the perfect icebreaker and a huge hit.

I think it’s only when you meet or go out with someone not from Ireland that you fully grasp just how big a part pubs and clubs play in Irish hook-ups. Being something of a natural born diplomat with a flair for foreign tongues, I’ve stepped out with several non-Irish guys in my time, and each one has expressed their utter fascination/horror at this phenomenon. Where they were from, it was all about the dinner parties, meeting people through friends and – the major thing missing here – just approaching someone they like anytime, anwhere, even on the street.

My own favourite non-pub hook-up story was at the baggage terminal at Dublin Airport. We’d both been on the same flight and he’d apparently seen me on it. I then spotted him while we were waiting for our bags. We kept making eyes and eventually got chatting. Of course, as it turns out, carrying baggage around ultimately proved to be suitably metaphorical for that whole brief affair, but it’s still a pretty nice story.

One of the first things I always ask couples is how they met each other. And yes, many did meet in bars and clubs, and they’re perfectly happy. But that can be risky as we all know, what with the personality “enhancing”/transforming nature of alcohol and what not. What’s more, bars and clubs are just not everyone’s scene, so some people must find more inventive ways of meeting others.

The good news is that there has been an explosion of such singles events here in recent years. One firm is dedicated to organising meals out where everyone in attendance has gone through a thorough vetting process, and were selected for their group based on compatibility with the other diners. And there are many others sprouting up, like singles dance lessons, fitness classes and tour groups. The gym seems to be a huge pick up joint anymore. My one certainly is – with a beer pump and slightly less sweating, it could well pass for one of my regular weekend haunts.

Of course, a spectre is haunting this article, and it’s the one avenue for singles that I haven’t mentioned thus far. Yes, I’m referring to the internet but, quite frankly, I don’t think I have the strength. That’s a whole other article in itself that I may return to should I ever summon the courage. In the meantime, I’m off to that food market I mentioned at the start, because it so happens that I’m all out of, oh let’s say, tea.

No comments: