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With phones on silent and in bags, ridding us of that electronic prop we so often turn to in challenging social situations, we continue to bask a little longer in that awkward silence until Guy kickstarts the night.
In the centre, he explains, sits a ‘temple’ – a colourful cloth laid out on which we can place anything we like to bring us good luck and energy.
I don’t know if I missed the memo or it just wasn’t given, but I haven’t come prepared.
As others step forward and place crystals and items of jewellery, I look on bewildered. We start by doing a school-like energy experiment, led by Guy, before going around the room, introducing ourselves and saying what we want to get from the evening.
While I ponder on what they’ve done during the lifetime of this poor chap, his body is heating up like a roaring furnace and I’m glad when I can finally let go before all moisture evaporates from my body. At the end of each rendezvous, lasting anywhere between a minute and three minutes, Guy invites us to pop one of our beads in the man’s pouch, if we are interested in talking more, while they stand with their eyes closed. It allows us to laugh at the awkwardness of it all and, perhaps, cunningly, let down our defensive walls, allowing people in and deepening the connection.
We should then place our hand on the man’s heart to bring the meeting to an end. What I’m acutely aware of is how used to or how comfortable the women in the room are with all of this.
Back in the entrance of the yoga studio (which, incidentally, is fragranced like a 5-star spa), I’ve been handed a black pouch, full of cubes imprinted with the same letter ‘B’, which hangs from a leather thong so I can place it around my neck.
Unlike that man, who manages to break the almost tangible tension in the air with those few words that ultimately lead to conversation, I remain silent.
To my left, on the other side of the curtain, I hear another man and women saying they had read about Tantric speed dating and figured that it was ‘better than online dating’, even if it does push them out of their comfort zone and they don’t quite understand what it is.
It was Guy who had the idea to combine tantra with dating when he noticed a pattern in clients telling him they found it hard to meet people in New York.
But, he also realised something else: that many of us don’t have the tools to sustain a relationship.