For those of us who have tried everything to find love – dating apps, speed dating, dates with friends of friends, in fact, name it and you've done it – the search for the one becomes a totally exasperating business.
Elizabeth Bennets, Bridget Joneses and Tinderellas out there: It's time to take action.
Devoted to developing emotional intelligence, The School of Life, headquartered in Kings Cross, runs classes that address issues, anxieties and stresses that prevent us from being our best most confident selves. From offering ways to feel fulfilled at work to teaching methods to master the art of relationships and self-confidence, The School of Life offers practical tips, theories, therapy and techniques that will ‘exercise, stimulate, and expand your mind’.
As a last ditch attempt to find Mr Right, I attend the first class – How to Find Love – of the School of Life's twelve class curriculum exploring and developing emotional intelligence. I’m a little sceptical that a two and a half hour therapy session is going to be the answer to my flailing love life, but it's worth a try.
It's a Wednesday night. The class is full; there are fifty or so love seekers (only two are men) in the School of Life's underground classroom. I take my seat.
In a double-breasted waistcoat, dapper chinos, and well-polished brogues, Francesco, our love-guru for the evening, waltzes in. He instantly commands attention.
‘Love starts, more often than not, as a connection between two strangers’, Francesco sings in his melodic Italian accent on entering. ‘But our preconceptions, our expectations of ourselves and of others, our insecurities can make us stumble. When you find love, you also need to find yourself. It is important not to let love or self-love stagnate.’
We are in for a ride.
As the minutes drift by, it becomes clearer and clearer that How to Find Love is not a class in the practicalities of finding love in a frantic world of internet dating and high-octane stress, but a class in the reprogramming of expectations and preconceptions.
‘Everyone is a loser’, Francesco reaffirms again and again during the class. ‘We do not deserve the world, the best, perfection. We are vulnerable, imperfect and fragile. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses’, he continues.
We are all losers.
It's an interesting concept, and one that is intended to make us realise, once and for all, that the one you are desperate to ask out on a date, is no better, cleverer, or more successful than you, but one hundred percent your equal. Your equal loser.
Through a combination of theoretical teachings and practical exercises that address everything from the fear of rejection to the art of flirting (all completed in pairs), The School of Life teaches you to accept your flaws rather than correct them. ‘Confidence’, Francesco reassures us, ‘is born out of an understanding that our shortcomings are what make us human’.
Slowly but surely – aided by a couple of glasses of wine – inhibitions are broken and confessions begin to flow.
I replay Francesco’s mantra that ‘I am a loser’ over and over again in my head. It’s no secret that The School of Life practices a rather pessimistic philosophy. But caught unawares, it can be a brutal reality check.
To my surprise, though, I walk away with a spring in my step, an unexpected level of confidence, and a phone number!
The How to Find Love class is not a one-stop shop to the happy ever-after. But so convinced was I by Francesco’s wise and unexpected words that I’ve already booked into class two: How to Make Love Last.
I may need to keep swiping right to find my life partner, but at least I've found a renewed confidence to keep swiping.
|What||How to find love, School of Life|
|Where||The School of Life, 70 Marchmont Street , WC1N 1AB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Russell Square (underground)|
13 Jan 18 – 01 Mar 18, Classes are on 13 Jan, 3 Feb and 1 March (6.40pm)
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|