As a heads up, the following story has nothing to do with sugar daddies, cougars or toy boys. In fact, it's all rather lovely...
Sitting in a bar on a Friday night, Sarah* twists her hands in her lap. She’s wearing a new top she picked up from Zara, and she’s feeling increasingly self conscious as she waits to be joined at her table. ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this,’ she mumbles to herself as she checks her phone for texts from the babysitter. ‘This is stupid.’
But Sarah isn’t waiting to meet a prospective love interest. She’s waiting to meet a prospective friend, at one of Durham’s first ever speed dating event for mums. And by the end of the night, she doesn’t just have one email address saved in her phone. She has 33 of them.
Dubbed ‘Speed Friending’, ‘Mummy Dating’ (or ‘Mommy Dating’ in the States), events that pair new mums together are taking off across the UK. After all, for women who have children at a different time to their friends, who move to a new city, or who take time off work, motherhood can be really, really lonely.
One woman, Hillary Frank, who launched a series of ‘Speed Dating For Mom Friends’ events in New York, says that she was inspired after feeling like she didn’t know how to meet other women in her situation. ‘I’d see these moms out and about and it seemed so easy for them,” says Frank. “I thought, ‘How do I talk to them?’
‘I had a couple of requirements for my mom friends,’ she adds. ‘One was, I needed to be able to make a stupid joke without getting crickets [silence] in return. Two was, you have to like dessert. And most of all, you need to be able to say what you’re thinking without the other person giving you a look that says you’ve just screwed up your child for life.’
It makes sense. Now if only we could find a way to justify doing it every night of the week.