Written by: Natalie Brereton
Dating. A word to fill you with either joy or dread, depending on the state of your love life.
If you’ve been happily coupled up for years, you might enjoy a monthly date night, where ‘Netflix and chill’ means exactly that. You’ve finally accepted each other’s flaws, but you want that honeymoon period excitement back.
Or, you may be #teamtinder. You’re an independent singleton, yet to find someone to love, annoy, nag and eat with. Hungover Sundays are spent swiping right, only to match with someone 100 miles away or who can’t spell.
When you do go on a date, it’s less socialising and more serious analysis: do they look like their profile picture, and do you need to use up that emergency call from your mate and bail?
There’s far more to dating – and 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, their website offers exciting, innovative and hilarious dating opportunities.
Pick your experience and BOOM, you could be on the fast-track to true love. But is it any good?
My date was at Headwind music shop on Zetland Road, and was one of the more ‘out there’ dates from the selection: 30 minutes of saxophone tuition followed by 30 minutes of alone time where my lovely date and I could take turns seeing who had the best mouth action. This was not something I would normally choose to do.
Let’s be clear: I am not musically gifted. Playing the recorder in primary school is about as good as it gets. I kept thinking, what if I mess 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?
I put all thoughts of George Michael out of my head and decided to be positive. If anything, this date was definitely going to be one to remember and laugh about afterwards – if my date hadn’t run a mile by then.
Tom, our lovely instructor, was waiting for us when we arrived. Gleaming golden saxophones lined the walls, and I was intrigued and excited to see what the next hour was going to involve. After kitting us up with saxophones and strap-ons (the bits you wear around your neck and clip the saxophone to), Tom started teaching us the basics.
Turns out it’s all about using your fingers in coordination with your mouth, and I’ve never been told quite so many times to just put the tip in, blow harder or not use so much tongue.
In between fits of hilarity, the lesson flew by. The ice was definitely broken and it was a great opportunity to scope out my date’s sense of humour.
I was pleasantly surprised by my fella, who, by the end of the lesson, was playing his heart out (we won’t mention that I didn’t fare as well and had a minor strop).
We were both glad to have taken a chance on something totally different. Never again will I sit in a bar making conversation about whether I have any brothers or sisters.
Datemakers offer all sorts of ideas and experiences, from wine tasting to DJ lessons and mountain biking, all taking place in Bristol’s independent establishments.
So, next time you’re lining up a first date or planning something with your partner in crime, consider trying something new. I’d definitely recommend sax on the first date.
It’s the best threesome you’ll ever have.
Cocktails? Check. Cake? Check. A caricaturist and magician? Why the hell not. Spoiler: it was a success!