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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Spice up your love life. Try the 90-second silent date game

Candles and music are passé. Try the 90-second silent dating game where you sit face-to-face but can only use your eyes to interact with each other.

sex-and-relationships Updated: Sep 09, 2017 15:39 IST

The 90-second silent date moves beyond words, which can often be used to conceal your true personality.
The 90-second silent date moves beyond words, which can often be used to conceal your true personality.(Shutterstock)

The 90-second silent date is the latest attempt by Londoners to reinvent the city’s intoxicating world of nightclubs, bars and fleeting liaisons. It is the brainchild of Adam Taffler, actor and cultural entrepreneur, who got the idea during a visit to Australia. “I was speaking with my girlfriend on the phone every few days and we were talking. But what we really enjoyed doing is at the end of the phone call, we just stopped speaking to each other. We were just there listening to each other breathing and it was beautiful,” he said.

“It was so intimate we thought why don’t we try doing a dating event where people don’t talk and they just make eye contact. People don’t make as much eye contact as they used to,” added Taffler, sporting a dark jacket, white shirt, black beard and handlebar moustache. He believes it is time to move beyond the world of words, which can often be used to conceal true personalities. “With words, we are presenting an idea of ourselves: this is who I say I am. But quite often, we’re not saying what we really are,” he explained, adding, “You can see people as they really are because you’re looking into their eyes and that never lies”.

The silent date concept lets you move out of your comfort zone.
The silent date concept lets you move out of your comfort zone. ( Shutterstock )

What really happens

The “Shhh dating” event takes place in the basement of Farr’s School of Dancing, a vintage bar in the hip district of Dalston. There is an even gender split between the 30 hopefuls, who are mostly in their thirties. They are there to have fun, but also to meet new people — a task surprisingly difficult in a city of 8.6 million people. “People tend to stay in their own circles,” explained participant Adrian Law. Guests are invited to break the ice by shaking hands, before settling down for a series of games designed to build relationships.

Unable to speak, every gesture, smile and grimace is accentuated and communication is left to facial and bodily movements. To the sound of Carl Douglas’s disco hit “Kung Fu Fighting”, dates show off their martial arts moves. A muscle-bound man flexes his biceps to impress his sparring partner, who responds by adopting ninja positions.

Things get more serious in the evening’s second act as Taffler turns the music down-tempo with British group Cinematic Orchestra and the participants are given a minute-and-a-half in which to seduce.

Lucie, a teacher with long black hair, sits opposite a young man, hands on knees. She lowers her forehead, takes a deep breath before diving into the eyes of her partner with a fragile gaze. “We reached a level of closeness and intimacy that maybe you don’t get when people are talking and trying to impress each other,” she said.

But sometimes, 90 seconds can seem like an eternity filled with contorted faces and shy glances. As the evening draws to a close, the participants seem generally satisfied with their experience and make a note of those they wish to pursue. The next time, talking will be allowed.

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First Published: Sep 09, 2017 15:34 IST

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