This word can either fill you with joy, or dread, depending on the current state of your love life.
It could be that you have been happily coupled up for years, in which case you may enjoy the odd ‘date night’ a couple of times a month, you post your joys with ‘this one’ on Instagram and where ‘Netflix and chill’ means exactly that. You finally accept each other’s flaws and that this is probably it. You want the excitement back, like that good old honeymoon period, but struggle to think of dating ideas outside of the box.
Or, you may be #teamtinder. You are an independent single man or woman who is yet to find that other person to love, annoy, nag and eat food with. Hungover Sundays are spent swiping from left to right, only for you to match with someone who ‘isn’t from the area’ or who can’t spell. When you do finally muster up the courage to go on a date, it’s normally ‘for a few drinks’, and this is where you decide if you like the other person, whether they actually look like their profile picture, or if you need to use up that emergency call from your mate and bail.
What if I told you that dating in Bristol is about to become a whole lot more fun?! Yes, FUN. Well, this is where the gang at Datemakers come in. Whether you are single, married, on the verge of being serious or trying to avoid the friend-zone, this user-friendly website offers exciting, innovative and hilarious dating opportunities all at the click of a button. Just choose your experience, when you would like to go, enter your payment details and BOOM, you could be on the fast-track to true love. The guys behind the app want people to take a leap of faith into the unknown, because you only live once right?! Plus, you might even get brownie points for choosing to do something completely different. For those amongst you pondering to yourself, “but is it actually any good”. The answer is yes. How do I know? Because I tried it for myself.
(WARNING: the next few paragraphs are full to the brim with sexual innuendos, so if you are easily offended, you have been told).
The date of choice was ‘Sax on the first date’; which in a nutshell is all the fun of learning to play this bendy sex whistle, and this is one of the more ‘out there’ dates from the selection on the website. 30 minutes of tuition followed by 30 minutes of alone time where me and my lovely date could take in turns seeing who had the best mouth action. This was not something I would normally ever choose for us to do, but, after managing to persuade my main man to go with me (I promised him food after, always works), I was nervous. I felt anxious at the thought of doing something in front of him that I wasn’t comfortable with and hadn’t tried before. Let me be clear, I am not musically gifted; playing the recorder back when I was 8 years old is about as good as it gets. I was worried and kept thinking to myself, what if I mess it up? What if the saxophone teacher is weird and stares at us whilst blowing his instrument? What if he plays ‘Careless Whisper’ when we walk in? Scary thoughts aside, I decided to be positive and if anything, this date was definitely going to be one to remember and something that we could laugh about afterwards – if my date hadn’t run a mile by then.
The date took place at the Headwind music shop on Zetland Road and Tom our instructor was waiting for us when we arrived. Gleaming golden saxophones lined the walls and I was intrigued and excited to see what this next hour was going to involve. Luckily for us, Tom was not some awkward and shy staring-too-hard teacher but the complete opposite. He was warm and welcoming and we all immediately agreed this was definitely not your normal dating scenario (there were three of us for a start) and how refreshing it was to be doing something a bit off the wall.
After kitting us up with our saxophones, which included strap-ons (the bits you wear around your neck and clip the saxophone to thank you very much). Tom started teaching us the basics. Playing the saxophone is all about using your fingers in co-ordination with your mouth and I have never been told quite so many times to ‘just put the tip in’, ‘blow harder’ and ‘not use so much tongue’, all whilst being watched by two blokes. In between us laughing and joking, the lesson flew by with us learning the standard notes. It has to be said, it was hilarious and so much fun –the ice was definitely broken. Not only that, it’s the perfect opportunity to scope out what your perspective guy or girl is like – in terms of their sense of humour and how they are in social scenarios. I was pleasantly surprised (and impressed) with my fella, because by the end of the lesson he was playing his heart out and was actually really quite good (we won’t touch on the fact that I didn’t fare as well and had a minor strop, got smaller lungs haven’t I).
It has to be said, the date would not have been the same without Tom. He was a great instructor and made us feel completely at ease; I was a little shy and embarrassed at first (I know that’s hard to believe) but once we let go and got into the swing of it I was so pleased we went along for the experience. It was a laugh a minute and I genuinely enjoyed giving the saxophone a go, it’s not as easy as it looks either and I gained big respect to those who make it look so effortless.
We both came away from our date agreeing that we were so glad we took a chance and gave it a go; it was something neither of us would have ever chosen and I think the experience is a great one for whether you are on a first, date or your third, fourth or fifth. Datemakers offer all sorts of ideas and experiences, such as: wine tasting, DJ lessons, cooking master classes, Gin tasting and mountain biking to name a few; all taking place in Bristol’s various independent establishments. It definitely makes a change to sitting in a bar making awkward conversation about your first pet or whether you have many brothers or sisters.
So next time you’re lining up that first date, or plan to go out with your partner in crime, why not try something new? Go outside of your comfort zone and who knows, you might even learn something about one another that you may not have come across before. You could even plan a double date and bring your friends along for a very funny evening indeed.
I’d definitely recommend sax on the first date. It’s the best threesome you’ll ever have.
And yes, we did listen to ‘Careless Whisper’ on the way home.