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Alternative dating events for singles


Turn off Tinder and try an old school face-to-face approach to dating - with a twist.

We've rounded up seven offbeat approaches to finding romance. Just be prepared to inhale someone's sweaty T-shirt or reveal the most embarrassing track on your iPod to a perfect stranger.


A Lynx ad it isn't, but Stories Bar makes Pheromone Parties fun

Sexual attraction and scent are inextricably linked, so it was only a matter of time before olfactics were thrown into the singles dating scene.

Pheromone dating, which began in America, involves participants proffering a well-worn T-shirt to fellow singles to inhale and judge.

The T-shirts - which have ideally been slept in by their owner for three consecutive nights - are bagged and numbered at the start of the evening so those who like what they smell have no idea who the clothing belongs to. Participants then take a photo with their t-shirt of choice and the pictures are broadcast to the room, so the man or woman behind the smell can see who finds their scent attractive and approach them if they like the look/smell of them.

While sniffing a stranger's pyjama top over beers after work may not seem like the best route to romantic happiness, Stories Bar on Broadway Market in east London has embraced the awkwardness with its Pheromone Parties. The first two this year were both sell-outs and there’s already a waiting list for the next Pheromone Party the bar has planned for later this year.


The Wanted's Greatest Hits were on both their 'most played' lists

Music snobs can separate the wheat from the chaff on their dating search by letting their iPods do the work at The Notewell's central London singles events.

Participants spend seven minutes with each other, but rather than trotting out the typical "what do you do for a living?" type questions, this is about playing the other person selected songs you love and explaining the reason behind your choices.


Stop making the eyes at me...

If making small talk is the element of dating you dread the most - or you're particularly prone to putting your foot in it with people you fancy - sign up for Shhh Dating events, which encourage singles to "Find the right connection before you find the right words."

While two hours of "silent flirting games" and "eye gazing" may seem attractive to more introverted singles, be warned that the events do involve the kind of audience participation you'd expect to find at a corporate away-day, including exercises that involve jumping around and participants making noises without speaking.

After the talking ban is lifted, those who felt they made a connection can stick around and see if their potential partner's chat lives up to their stare.

Shhh Dating nights currently take place only in London, with plans to expand the events across the UK.


Meeting a 'Johnny Depp in 'Chocolat'' is not guaranteed

Most dating events can feel like a waste of time when you don't meet a good match, but Speed Dater's singles' cooking classes in central London are wonderfully dual purpose.

Uniting food-focused singles in a masterclass hosted by highly-regarded chefs, the cook and dine experience won't leave you feeling like you've missed a decent night in front of the telly if you don't leave with anyone's digits.


Stacey and Dave have started re-reading American Psycho for the umpteenth time

Those dastardly Kindles have all but quashed the chance of singletons bonding over their shared love of a good book.

Unless you're willing to hang around Waterstone's all day in search of a partner who meets your literary standards, book-themed speed dating is the answer. Oxford's Story Museum hosts a regular "informal singles night" for literary lovers, which asks participants to bring along their favourite tome as an ice-breaker.

Original Dating is currently looking for single Londoners to take part in a similar event in the capital.



Meeting strangers in a situation where the ultimate goal is finding true love can be a fairly tense experience, so while it may seem a little daunting Singles Yoga actually makes sense.

The classes, held near London's Great Portland Street, focus on relaxation, connection exercises (that boast a minimal sweat risk) and rotating partners, before everyone packs up their mats and heads off to the pub.


There's nothing like a dose of gut-wrenching fear to break the ice

Looking to connect over a more niche activity?

Dating website Doing Something lets people find their ideal match based on what activity they'd like to do on a date (now now, only the clean stuff).

So, if you're a game of ping pong over a beer kind of girl or prefer sushi-making to a sky dive, in theory, there's a potential match for you.



Newly single Chris Martin shares his reflections on love


Hot wheels: the car dating service


How to eat in a restaurant: dating tips from the 1950s


Dating website admits setting up 'bad matches'


The Single Essays


Watch: If real life was like Tinder



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