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Can you find love in silence?
Image by See-Ming Lee under Creative Commons
It's often said that people get tongue-tied around someone they're attracted to. Things come out the wrong way, inane comments issue forth, and before you know it you've made the wrong first impression. There's one events organiser that's got this particular issue sorted.
Shhh Dating promises 'flirting games, eye-gazing and no talking', helping the lovelorn make a connection without the danger of foot-in-mouth syndrome. The form this takes is a two-hour event with absolutely no talking allowed.
Two hours without saying a word may seem daunting to some people, but these guys might be on to a good idea. Much of what we experience in the first stages of romance is physical. Masters and Johnson's 1966 study of human sexual response noted that arousal is signified in tiny physical signs at first: increased breathing, a gentle blush. Other studies have found that we unconsciously gauge attraction through scent. Yet more have found that different aspects of the eye (limbal rings, the darker circles that surround the iris, in particular) help make a person attractive.
All this research seems to indicate that the way we choose mates is subconscious, and all the talking we do is so much hot air. An event where you're given more time to consciously notice attractive points seems to make sense.
Shhh Dating has already proved popular. It's firmly established in London, and the mainstream press have gone bananas over it. 'It seems to be working,' says Joe Kavanagh of the Telegraph about his experience.
I can see why this weird but refreshing dating trend has grown legs,' says self-proclaimed loudmouth Scarlett Russell of Ask Men, although she found it 'excruciatingly uncomfortable'. Lucy Cavendish of the Daily Mail also reported embarrassment, but found power in overcoming this challenge: 'One man manages to ask me by miaowing and pretending to stroke his non-existent whiskers if I have cats, so I nod and then bark at him to show I have dogs, as well,' she writes. 'I go on to master motioning the guitar, the accordion and mouth-organ, before having an entire 'conversation' about horses.'
Having been established for just over a year, Shhh Dating is branching out. A new series of events bring the concept to Clapham, and the company is considering reaching further afield. The company will be hosting a series of events at the Jam Tree in Clapham. As usual, tickets are £20 or cheaper for those who bring along a single friend of the opposite sex.
Will attending this kind of event show you at your best? Maybe, maybe not. Will the silent approach help distract you from the otherwise nerve-wracking experience of dating? All signs point to 'yes'.