I laid my own clammy paws on the bloke in front of me and gave him my signature spine thumbing.
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I didn't get the hugging memo, and was routinely left hanging for a high five.
At one point, I also miscalculated the end of a game and was left blindly pivoting round the room with my index finger in the air.
Say what you like about Adam's methods, you couldn't deny the good vibes.
All photos by Lily Rose Thomas Last week, a press release dropped in my inbox announcing the arrival of a new concept speed-dating night called "Shhh". I want to know what supermarkets you have in your hometown. I would be boarding the love train at The Jam Tree in Clapham, so called because the cocktails have little blobs of jam in them. Enter Adam Taffler, the heavily lip-bearded ringmaster of this circus of solitude.
In a nutshell, it's silent speed-dating; no talking allowed, the idea being that it will create "a deeper, instantaneous connection" between lonely people looking for love (or a fuck). Londoners, not satisfied spending their entire weekends photographing street art in car parks or eating cronuts in onesies, seem to have roped their love lives into the endless quest for novelty. He summoned the men into the room with his whispery voice; it sounded like paper. While I was hoping to get straight down to some eye-ballin', Adam wanted to get our juices flowing with some office-away-day style exercises. And off I scuttled, betraying my uptight comrades like a sexually advanced Judas.
Chit-chat aside, I had some reservations about the "full-on" nature of the Shhh experience. The press release boasted that this was for "people who want to find deep connections, without the mask of predictable conversations". He got us all to stand on one side of the room before telling everyone who has had a one-night stand to walk to the other side of it. Light ritual humiliation out of the way we got down to the good stuff.
Even in my most intense relationships, the idea of someone fixing me with some dreamy, thin-lipped pout-gaze does something to my acid reflux. Off we trotted, leaving three little mice all by themselves on the other side. To the soothing tones of Zero 7 we shuffled around the room in a sort of rehabilitation exercise for dead-eyed commuters.
"Notice who is around you," said Adam, rubbing their vanilla sex lives right into their boring faces. In this frigid-shaming exercise, I found myself lying a lot. Adam managed to simulate a sort of "Mindfulness while changing lines at Green Park" atmosphere, and soon got us to train our gaze up each other's bodies towards the eyes.
Once we'd all had a good gander at each other's dick and tits, things got a little more "hands on".