People...I love dating. I genuinely enjoy making new connections with new people and learning what we have in common and what we’re going to butt heads over. So when I heard that the incredible humans behind the “Unicorns” event series was beginning their foray into speed dating I signed the fuck up.
What is a UNICORNS EVENT?
Before we get to the speed dating, let’s get some context. If you’re not familiar with the institution that is “Unicorns” you should get with the program, because it truly is fucking awesome.
Run by the incredible “Delsi the Cat”, Unicorns regularly host a series of queer events in Melbourne and Sydney. Most Unicorns events are themed dance nights which encourage people to dress up and get on the dance floor.
They also boast a uniquely awesome self tagging system with body paint. Upon arrival you can get your pronouns artfully placed on your body, along with your kinks, your sexual preferences and proclivities, and an array of other identifiers. This not only makes it easier to find compatible people while navigating the mosh pit, but also makes a great conversation starter when you’re lining up at the bar. Unless you prefer to use your own pick up lines, which is also totally okay…
Each event also has themed entertainment stations for the evening. For instance the Circus event might have a magician, or a fortune teller. Every event also features the “kissing booth” where you can either line up to pash a new human, or put your lips on display for anyone who might want to make out with you. Honestly the whole thing feels kind of like finding yourself in a unicorn’s asshole right before it takes a huge, glittery, rainbow love fart - slightly debauched, but mostly magical.
Everything about a Unicorns event is geared to being as inclusive and aware as possible. Despite the colourful chaos it sounds like, it’s an incredibly well oiled event that’s masterfully managed by Delsicat. Every effort is made to ensure that there are tickets available for those who are financially challenged, event spaces are usually chosen in order to be accessible for people with disabilities, and no assumptions are ever made about anyone’s gender, sexuality or identity.
UNICORNS SPEED DATING
The Unicorns Speed Dating event had a similar aesthetic to their traditional events. Upon arrival we were encouraged to make a name tag that listed not only names, but also pronouns, kinks and identifiers. However, walking into a room full of strangers can be daunting! So to encourage people to mingle without the assistance of loud music and copious alcohol, everyone was given an “Ice Breaker Bingo” sheet. This was a small bingo board with different questions to ask people you hadn’t spoken to before. The first few people to get bingo were rewarded with a prize - a pot of eco glitter!
The ice-breaker bingo card provided a great opportunity to continue talking to people as they arrived, while we waited for the event to start. Being able to walk up to a complete stranger and ask “What are you passionate about?” is to this day my favourite way to communicate and I’ve made a point of asking it on every first date since (which is infinitely better than my previous pickup line).
Once the event began properly, we were all asked to take a seat and note where we were situated. Everyone on the left side of the tables would be remaining stationary, while everyone on the right side of the tables would be moving seats each round. Fortunately, because I am the world’s laziest person, I got to stay seated the entire time. Doubly fortunate, because getting up and down off bar stools is difficult to do elegantly and I was trying to be a charming mother-fucker, and not give away all of my coordination shortcomings on the first date.
One thing that I would recommend for anyone planning on attending (which is you reading this, because everyone should totally go), it’s worth taking a pen and paper and writing down the names of each person as you meet them, because after a while it can be difficult to recall which wonderful human was which. It also then helps to take a note or two after each date so you can remember whether you want to hit them up later.
Speaking of which, the system of hitting on your dates is pretty spectacular. You have the option of writing a note which lets you tell your date how you felt about them, as well as how they can get in touch with you, or you can be extra as fuck and gift them a rose. Both of these options is then hand delivered to the person by the Unicorn’s Cupid! Romantic as balls, right?
Despite each date only lasting five minutes, the entire event runs for 5 hours. Much of this time is taken up with ice breaker bingo, intermission, and mingling afterwards; however if you tend toward the introverted side of the spectrum prepare to be socially exhausted by the end of the evening.
Meeting upwards of 20 new people can be a daunting thought for many. Although, if one of your fears is the inability to make spontaneous small talk with a stranger, never fear, Delsi has you covered. Each new match came with a new conversation prompt on a giant powerpoint slide projected onto the wall. The prompts were 100% optional which meant if you weren’t really interested in whether they preferred burgers or pizza, you could choose your own conversation adventure by opening with any ice breaker you like.
Unicorns Speed Dating actually provided me with several insights to my own dating style that I hadn’t considered before. This leads me to think that even if your Tinder game is down pat, you can still get a lot out of attending. For me the biggest surprise was realising that, despite thinking I’m incredibly shallow when it comes to potential partners, I actually need more than 5 minutes to decide if I’m ready to shag someone or not.
Five minutes is long enough for me to know if I dislike someone. In fact I could probably do that in about 2 minutes to be honest. But often when it came time to send a note via Cupid I realised that I was actually still on the fence about the people I’d met. Did I want to spend more time with them? Did I want to give them my contact details? I had no idea!
This likely says much more about my inability to parse my own feelings than it does about the need to have longer speed dates though.
In summary, if you’re in Melbourne or Sydney and are part of the queer community you need to get your butt along to a Unicorns event. Go solo, grab some friends, take your mum and dad, all are welcome. Take a chance, and who knows, you might meet someone special.
That is all.
You may go now.