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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.
Guy encourages us to have fun with it and, even if we don’t want to chat more, to make out like we’re putting a bead in there ‘just to fuck with them’. The two I’m sandwiched between in this inner circle are very open and loving.
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.
I make myself as small as I can, wedged between a pile of mats and a thick red velvet curtain that is inexplicably draped across the hallway as we wait to go in.
From my safe place behind the curtain, I glance over at two women and a man sitting in awkward silence on a large, low couch — until another fellow speed-dater bounds up and asks them to budge up, breaking the silence — much to everyone’s relief.
Before I attend I’m told the dress code is ‘celebratory casual’. The majority of men look like they work in IT and have come from the office.
At the front its sits knee high, which turns out to be a mistake, as I have to try my best not to flash everyone during the many legs-crossed, on-the-floor exercises that come later.
Tantra Speed Date is the latest offering from Lauren Harkness and Guy Shahar, relationship and tantra experts and founders of The Tantra Institute.
One woman in her 50s, perhaps the most confident in the room, wears an interesting combination of cycling shorts, a crushed velvet top, trainers and blue eyeshadow and she stands, wide-stanced, hands on hip, in the middle of the space, eyeing up her prey. In general though, I see far more heels and way less Lycra than you’d expect in a yoga studio.
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.
They, just like the pair to my right, sound unsure and nervous.
The bold 50-something lady gives a frank ‘I want a lover’.
As does the late 40-something man that she towers over next to her. Despite the palpable nerves in the room, everyone seems to give an honest and straight answer. Am I meant to keep repeating the same thing over and over, or keep imagining up other lovely things to say about this complete unknown before me? You can opt out of any of the exercises but I don’t want to be ‘that’ person.