By Nelly Thomas

On paper, speed dating sounds great. Especially for an extrovert. You get to chat to 10-15 humans who are also single and ready to mingle. In an added bonus for middle-aged molls like me, there’s no tech involved – not a swipe-right or profile pic in sight.

You meet, you chat for five minutes. If you click you circle yes on your little piece of paper, and if you don’t, you leave it blank and run screaming from the venue when it’s all over.

(Possibly just me)

Speed Dating For Beginners (By Which I Mean Me)

Award-winning Australian comedian and author Nelly Thomas (left) and Too Peas in a Podcast’s Kate Mulholland have launched a new weekly podcast, The Single Life of Us.

I just did Speed Dating for the first time at age 47. I saw it online and thought, “Why not?”. I like people so, “How hard can it be?” Turns out, pretty hard. Let’s just say I came out of the event more single than when I went in. 

The first issue was the age range. I’m nearly fifty. I have kids. There were girls there – no offence young women – who were closer in age to my teenage daughter than to me. I did fifteen speed dates. Fourteen of those women were under forty and ten were under thirty. I felt like a granny at Build-a-Bear. 

(Side note: why the hell aren’t these young queers meeting in pubs in clubs? After 9pm? When I’m snoring like Dudley.)

In a bizarre twist, while I mostly lead with, “I’m too old for you, but let’s have a nice chat anyway,” several of them tried to TALK ME INTO IT. By it, I mean dating them – or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

There was a lot of “age is just a number” and “you’re only as old as you think you are”. Guess who says, that shit? Juveniles.

You Girls Don’t Even Know Who Melissa Etheridge Is? 

Like most women my age, I get stimulated between the ears. What are you going to do when I drop a Kenny Everett Reference? Or talk about Perfect Match? Hell, you girls don’t even know who Melissa Etheridge is (she touched me on the shoulder once at a concert, I consider her an ex). No offence, but I date grown-ups. Flattered, but swipe left.

Then there were some organisational issues. 

I’m hard-core Type-A, spreadsheet kind of gal. I like a system. Especially if I’m in a room full of Beliebers packing bubblegum vapes. The system was that there was no system. Well, I think they’d loosely taken the straight-date system and plopped it on the Lemons.

In straight speed dating, the guy sits still, and the girls rotate. In the Lesbetian version, some of us were allocated stayers (I had a lovely dress on and still got tagged the bloke – too much BDE) and some were movers. That meant I met none of the other stayers. What if Queen Latifah (my current celebrity crush) had been sitting across the room, welded to her uncomfortable bar stool? I could have just missed my chance to dance.

Fight ‘n Flight Mode Activated

Last but not least, mid-way through the event they let general public in. 

To a queer women’s and non-binary dating event. 

Not only did this make me furious at the insensitivity of not considering if everyone felt safe, was out, comfortable or open being seen on a same-sex date (Rebel ring any bells anyone) but it also put me on edge.

I was ready to step in, Xena Warrior Princess style (no, none of them got that reference either) to defend my baby queer sisters. I have more front than Myer and I’m willing and able to take on a potential homophobe if the need arises.

Or even one of those starers (we’ve all been there). But that meant I was poised for fight ‘n flight, and not exactly relaxed. At least one of the baby dykes I talked to wasn’t out to her family yet. Too bad if her bro walked in and saw her “dating” a 47 year old female comedian he’s seen on the telly.

A Deliciously Lesbo Twist

On the upside, I learned some shit. 

Young people are delightful. They’re amazing. The future is bright. And I tell you this – not only do people under 35 not call each other on the phone anymore, they don’t even text. They swap Instagram handles and then DM. That blew my mind.

I also learned about the queer scene in India, about a girl who had two mums and didn’t know homophobia existed until she was 20 and that a lot of young chicks like old birds. 

And in a nice deliciously lesbo twist, I went to the event with a friend. I met her on a dating app. It didn’t work out, but we stayed mates. She didn’t want to go but guess what – SHE GOT A MATCH. It was an epic fail for me but at least I got to be Goose to her Maverick. 

Take care kids it’s a jungle out there. A jungle in 5 minute increments. 

I’m off to have a sherry in bed.



Comedian Nelly Thomas is co-host of the smash new podcast “The Single Life of Us”. ‘The Single Life of Us’  is available to listen wherever you get your podcasts. 



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