Daring conversations with strangers – The School of Life

I asked a stranger how much debt he was in last night, before we’d even exchanged names.

My friend was bolder, and launched into a discussion on adultery with a woman she’d never met.  I’m curious to know exactly what they spoke about: at the end of the evening, she was awarded a prize for her daring conversation skills (it was surreptitiously slipped to her by the host, which one can only assume means her conversations were full of illicit and damning material).  

We were attending the School of Life’s Conversation Drinks at a trendy bar in Clerkenwell, where the only rules were that you couldn’t ask people what they did for a living, where they were from, or why they were there – the usual banal questions you pose to strangers upon first encounter.

After an interesting start, my conversations became more mundane: I railed against the Lib Dems with a girl who thought they were great pragmatists (she quickly melted into the crowd); I lamented with a guy about the difficulties of extricating yourself from a bad date (I feared he was about to ask *me* out); and I chatted with a gaggle of girls who’d all had more interesting weekends than mine.

I’d do it again, although only in the controlled circumstances of an event such as this one.  Another friend met a guy at the start of the evening who said he couldn’t see how this would be any different from a typical night out.  And he was holding the ‘conversation card’ which suggested openers such as: “What’s the point of reading?”, “Why do we envy people?” and “How should one meet a lover?”.  

As we were leaving, they bumped into each other again and he confirmed that yes, it was as he suspected: this evening was akin to his usual ones.  I want to know where he’s hanging out!  

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