The Social Experiment


On the 26th of January 2014, I posted this on my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts: “I’m doing a social experiment: to all the single guys I’ve never dated before, inbox me if you’re keen & you get 1 date, no jokes.”

Basically I was asking every guy out on a date

I was completely prepared for the weird and creepy ones too, I was. Some people thought I was joking, some thought someone had hacked my accounts, someone asked me if I was desperate; but mostly people thought it was a great idea and that I was brave to try it. I got comments like this: ‘It’s a trap’ – but I also got comments like this: ‘Wow. Brilliant!’ All I did was use my social networking in a different way; I just did something no one I know had done. But if you knew me better, you’d know it’s exactly the kind of thing I would do. It wasn’t supposed to be serious, it was supposed to be fun.

The ‘offer’ ended at midnight on the 27th of January 2014 and over the course of about two months, I ‘dated’ a few guys and was tight lipped about it. Not for any reason other than the fact that I’m generally not that open about my dating life anyway. But there was much general interest as to why, who, when, where, etc. that I actually never expected. So, here you go, all you nosey parkers.

I was 25, single, and people kept asking me why. Was I not allowed to be single and just enjoy my life? I was quite a busy gal, running in a few different social circles, being a workaholic; and you know what? Meeting guys in clubs, pubs and bars is not the secret to a lasting relationship – so it was time for something new.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw.

I did it for fun, to ‘get out there’ again and ‘be more open’ and not be ‘so picky’ about guys – these are terms people have told me about my dating habits. So I just went with the flow and tried to throw a few dates off their path hehe, sorry guys! People always try to be on their best behaviour on a first date.

So I was prepared to go on a date with whomever had the guts to inbox me a message to accept taking part in my social experiment, and FYI: if you don’t know what a social experiment is, Google it. Or alternatively see my own definition here:

‘Social experiment: a real life experiment involving people/society/cultures and observing their reactions to situations both real or hypothetical. Basically, it’s about putting people in an environment or situation they wouldn’t normally have found themselves in and observing, noting and understanding how they react in different circumstances and perhaps why they react the way they do.’

So I made up some rules:

  1. Obviously, the guy had to be single
  2. He had to be someone I had never dated before
  3. He had to pick the place
  4. It could be an all day date if they wanted, but it had to be something different, unusual and entertaining
  5. I was to meet the date at the specified place (for safety reasons, in case there were creeps, you know)
  6. If he rescheduled, he lost a point (not that points meant anything, but still)

I’ll mix up the dates because I honestly don’t remember which one was first, so let’s say:

The Social Experiment – Date A:

Firstly I thought we were going for dinner, so I arrived outside the restaurant to find it was already closed (awkies) – he noticed this too, thankfully, and phoned me – I suggested we go to another place I knew nearby. So we went there and we chatted a lot. I first met him through a friend and I know he’s shy; so he opened up quite a bit which was great. He once (long ago) brushed my chest by accident (and he was probably more uncomfortable about it than I was). But we got on really well actually, he said he had found me intimidating to ask out (this I’m not sure why, I’m really super chilled) but he had already eaten, (what? I thought we were going for dinner) I was starving. So we only had coffee and drinks and I think I payed for the bill. He then later sent me a very, very long detailed message about how he wouldn’t like to go on another date – and I was like, cool beans bro.

The Social Experiment – Date B:

This guy rescheduled, twice. He also had to fetch me. Minus 3 points! But he seemed non-creepy and his ideas were exciting. First he wanted to go to a music festival but then decided we’d go to Maboneng; a very cool little hipster place in Jozi. So there we went, it was raining, we had coffee, looked at some cool weird art, met some awesome Dutch artists. I had an Amarula iced coffee (it was cold, I was cold, bad idea) and I bought a very overly priced bangle and necklace that I liked. I randomly drew his face on a blackboard in the middle of the market. We tried to see a movie at The Bioscope, but it wasn’t open that day. So we tried to find a place that was playing live music, but alas none were til only much later. I suggested we go to a nice new hangout in Melville that I’d heard about but never been to, we tried but couldn’t find it – then I noticed an ‘Adult Shop’, so I basically threw him a curveball and made it super awkward and said: “let’s go inside!” So we did. I could see he was uncomfortable but he tried to be really smooth about it, bless his soul. It was funny. We then wanted to have coffee at Vovo Telo on the way home, but it was closed due to construction, so we had coffee at good ol’ Mugg n Bean. Then we bumped into some people we both knew from school and actually had a great catch up with them. It was really cool.

The Social Experiment – Date C:

I went to school with this guy, 12 years of school together. I always remember his epic kids parties. Once he had a pirate party and there were a whole lot of clues we had to figure out in our teams to find the treasure, which was a box full of chocolate gold coins (so worth it!). Another one was a ‘Fear Factor’ party where we had to complete different challenges in teams and then I remember I had to eat a raw potato; he remembers he ate the raw egg. I hadn’t seen him in 7 years; we had a lot of catching up to do. We played putt putt, and for someone who played hockey in high school, I was pretty bad – and not on purpose. We chatted about our lives and loves and successes and basically life over the past 7 years. He was studying to be a doctor, a completely different field to mine, which was interesting. I figured he might’ve turned out to be a lawyer one day though, I’m not sure why. But anyways, after playing putt putt, we decided to go for drinks but all of the bar type places were closed – so we went for milkshakes instead. It didn’t feel like a date, it felt like old friends catching up, but it was still interesting, relaxed and enjoyable.

The Social Experiment – Date D:

I met this guy through a friend, he had previously jokingly asked me out a few times. He’s a jokester, a funny guy, and this is what I expected – but it was totally different. Apparently his plan was to be ‘my worst date’ but it was actually not that bad, sorry bud. He asked me questions about life and I got to see a different side of him that I had never seen before, still funny, cocky, but also interesting and genuine. We also played putt putt and I think I lost here too, but it’s all good. We then had cocktails at a place that had live music and then we went to Wimpy and shared a Bar-One waffle with ice cream, covered in chocolate sauce. All in all, kind of a sweet friendly date.

The Social Experiment – Date E:

I met this guy on Twitter (I know) but we both had an advertising background and that’s how we started chatting. I never intended for him to be part of my social dating experiment but he wanted to. We went for many drinks together as friends and he had recently broken up with his girlfriend at this time. I wasn’t interested in being anyone’s rebound but he insisted that we should go for a ‘date’ on Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t really keen at first, but he said he would make it really over the top and funny, which I would’ve liked. He cancelled the day before, and I’m actually glad he did, because: firstly, he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and it would have been wrong for him to go on a date with another girl so soon (and on V-day nonetheless) and secondly, I had really come to like him and didn’t want to start anything between us, that way. We did go for drinks again though, as friends – and he was subsequently the first guy I had kissed since my ex. Que sera sera.

The Social Experiment – in conclusion

So, it really wasn’t that many guys (I hope I didn’t leave anyone out) but it was more than enough and I’m totally ok with that. I was pleasantly surprised and entertained. I got to know a lot more about these guys which I wouldn’t have had the chance to do, if I hadn’t given it the chance.

Thanks to the guys who participated for being such good sports. Overall it was a good experience and I’d recommend it, people need to be more open and have more fun with dating – and in case you were wondering, yes, I was still single afterwards. This was the cutest man in my life #HisNameIsStripe

My beautiful border collie dog

Here are ‘50 Reasons Not To Date a Graphic Designer‘ by ‘A Bourbon for Silvia.’

My faves are:
#45. ‘They see ordinary objects and laugh’ and
#35. ‘They can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design.’ Which is SO TRUE haha

and ‘Dating a Designer: 10 Things You Should Know’ by ‘Yoke Design.’


But you know (and we know) that designers are pretty awesome 🙂


Words + header image by Peaches.

Like the colours in the header image? Purchase the design and apparel here.

(Edited and republished. Originally posted on my old blog: Peaches and Pie)


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