Both evenings ended at a civilised hour with a peck on the cheek – after which, Jo calls me with feedback – which is excruciating.
I feel like I’m in the dating Olympics, and I’m going to get a row of zeroes from a panel of judges who will criticise my terrible small talk and the fact that I went to the toilet six times in three hours (tiny bladder).
Before I get ready to go on my dates, I meet Mairead to discuss my possible matches (Mairead deals with the international business, while the lovely Jo manages the London office and usually deals with local clients).
“People are more discerning now – they care about wealth, family background, DNA,” she explains.
I assume when she mentions DNA she’s referring to genetic disorders, but I’m wrong: “They want to know what their kids are going to look like – they want to know what gene pool they’re going to be in. People put invest in it so they can meet someone like them. The birth of mobile phones, social media, tweeting texting and chatting online have changed human nature. And that culture has spread into the dating world – people want what they want.” The agency is designed for cash-rich, time-poor people who don’t have countless free evenings to spend scouring bars, or online dating sites, for a potential partner – they want to cut to the chase.
The set-up is distinctly old-fashioned, as Mairead explains: “We introduce you to a few people, and if you want to meet up, and they want to meet you, then we give the guy your number.
Normally, if you go out with someone and don’t feel like there’s much chemistry, you just stop replying to their text messages.
The other party gets the message pretty quickly, and that’s the end of that.
Plus, things seem to move so fast that every potential relationship is over before I’ve blinked.
And, as I’m always complaining, everything has become so cloaked in ambiguity, that there are 67 different levels of ‘not being in a relationship’ you have to go through before you’re allowed to call someone your significant other.
Sometimes my love life feels like a late night trip to the fried chicken shop.