Dateover: Akin meets Grace
Akin is 27, lives in Fulham, runs a sports sponsorship agency and is Made In Chelsea’s new eligible bachelor. An only child who grew up between London and LA, he hasn’t had any serious relationships in his 20s and wants to figure out what’s stopped him taking things further.
Saturday, 12pm, The House of St Barnabas
‘I’m not that promiscuous,’ he says, flashing a warm smile that I’m sure would disarm many. But, 10 minutes into a very honest consultation with Akin, it becomes clear that there’s a psychological block when it comes to dating.
Akin is a romantic idealist locked in the past. He has been in love once, with someone he met in his final years at school. They embarked on a journey of texting and talking – not sleeping together too quickly – thereby building strong emotional ties. But they have spent more time apart in love than as a couple – locked in a ‘will they, won’t they?’ romance spanning a decade.
This is the girl in the back of his mind when he dates. She’s elevated as the ‘perfect woman’, which means it’s hard for new ladies to compete. He seems intent on finding what he had with his ex, a closeness that can only form over time. This self-sabotage means that, although he says he’s attracted to strong women, it’s easier to date more trivially.
This dateover is predominantly about introducing Akin to a challenging woman who isn’t easily charmed and, like him, is driven. I want to see him put time and effort into getting to know someone new, dating for future potential rather than past comparison.
Grace, 27, is a strong-willed, charming events manager. She dates, but is setting up her life in the city, rather than focusing too hard on relationships. I matched her up with Akin to see if an idealist (him) and a cynic (her) might strike the right balance.
5pm-midnight, Swingers, East London
‘We had a few drinks before heading down to start crazy golf,’ says Akin. ‘And in that time, it was clear that Grace was the polar opposite to what I usually go for – in a very good way. I had been used to quite shallow dates before Grace, but she was well-travelled, articulate and very talkative.
‘Typically I know whether the girl I’m on a date with is into me or not. This time I had no clue. I tend to date within my social circle and we would be messaging for weeks before a date to make things more familiar. Meeting someone so far removed added to the whole evening, but it was also scary.
‘The night whizzed past, I won both rounds of golf and, before I knew it, we were eight amaretto sours down, and we ended up kissing. We talked politics, kissed, ate pizza, kissed, then walked to Liverpool Street at the end of the night (while kissing, of course).’
Would I go out with her again? Absolutely. And, to top it off, the date has changed my outlook. Gone are my days of dating people who sit (comfortably) in my ‘friend-zone’.
His manner was very familiar, but in an instant ‘friend-zone’ kind of way. Which made his kiss a bit of a (welcome) surprise. There’s chemistry enough for a second date.
THE DATING EXPERT
Nana Wereko-Brobby runs dating events club Social Concierge (socialconcierge.co.uk), for people who prefer to date offline…
Nana says… The challenge for Akin is to push through complacency and lock in a second date, before his memory of Grace fades and he makes a pal of her. These days it’s easy to find yourself on the dating conveyor belt. But, sometimes, you have to take the plunge to change patterns.
Do you want us to find you a date? If you’d relish the chance to take part in the next Dateover, simply sign up at balance.media/dating-club