We all love a bit of vintage chic, right?
First, there were clothes swap parties, where you bring a bag of your cast offs, with the hope of leaving clutching a handful of someone else's.
And then there was upcycling – get your mates over for a cup of Earl Grey (read: a vat of wine) while you gather around an old chest of drawers and muse on whether a lick of turquoise paint would turn it from junk to funk.
Now, with services like Freecycle and Craig's List and whole sections of stores devoted to “pre-loved” items, there's a way to trade in just about anything!
But what about recycling an ex-boyfriend?
Or repurposing a friend?
BYOB (Bring Your Old Boyfriend) parties aren't exactly new.
As any Sex and the City die-hards will know, the concept has been around since at least the early noughties.
In a Season Three episode, entitled ‘Politically Erect’, Charlotte "Husband-hunter" York hosts a used-date party, where guests were encouraged to turn up with an ex-partner, with the intention of leaving with a new one.
The idea being to bring someone who wasn’t quite right for you, but who you believe has enough redeeming qualities to appeal to another woman.
What a great idea. In theory.
Unfortunately, in practice, these parties ended up a breeding ground for jealousy games and cat fights.
As Charlotte’s storyline showed – her new match ended up leaving with the woman he arrived with – we often don’t know what we’ve got until we see another’s eager paws all over it.
The idea of getting recommendations is still appealing, though.
How many of you check Trip Advisor before booking a hotel? Or read a restaurant’s reviews before settling on a place for dinner?
And we wouldn’t dream of buying a car without taking for a test drive, right?
Well, for many, the same applies when it comes to selecting a potential mate.
Lulu – an app that is, much to our dismay, still only available in the US – allows users to post information, anonymously, about ex-boyfriends, as a warning for future love interests.
MySingleFriend.com first began as a ‘”vouching service”, so that no one could be a member without a recommendation.
And though My Single Friend might now be blighted by a plague of people who’ve found a way to cheat the system, there are other ways to find a good, honest recommendation.
The dating service JessMeetKen.com was founded by a couple (Jess and Ken, duh) who found love after mutual friends tried to set them up on dating sites.
Their site operates as a way for women to advertise their handsome, eligible, single male friends. The female-admin-only premise means that your inbox won’t be flooded by scores of sketchy messages, as hopefully the women pulling the strings will be a bit more discerning.
If apps and dating sites don’t float your boat, there are a few savvy folk out there who are finding ways to repackage the original BYOB idea.
We spoke to Nana Wereko-Brobby, of hig-end matchmaking service Social Concierge, about her latest undertaking.
Her “Just Friends” parties are places of promise and opportunity for the forever friend-zoned.
The deal is simple – to go, you have to purchase a pair of tickets and select someone of the opposite sex who you think is a total-babe, but who you just don’t quite fancy enough to date.
"The female/male wingman combo works wonders for pick ups,” said Nana. “For one, it eliminates the element of competition that would comes with a same gender duo.”
“Instead, the pair can approach another couple with relative ease, partner up with their own gender, and spout nonsense about 'What a legend Paul is. We just didn't click',” she continued.
"The unspoken agreement is that guests are 'vouching' for whoever they bring – and will ultimately lose favour and fail in their own endeavours if they bring a dud."
What this also guarantees, is that there will be a 50/50 gender split at every party, so no awkward “lonely girls at the school disco” situations.
So basically, it's time to take the lovely Paul aside, give him a spruce up and sell him on to the highest bidder!
The next Just Friends party will take place in London (secret location in the City to be revealed) on July 18 and tickets can be bought HERE.
[Dating Disasters: At Least You're Not THESE People]
[smartphones and Facebook are KILLING Our Sex Lives: How To Save Them]
For your chance to win a FREE pair of tickets to the July 18 party in London, one one of you just needs to fill in the Social Concierge Sign-Up Form, putting FREELOVE in the reference box.*
*Applicants must be aged between 22-34 and live in London.