We sit down with musician Alexina and art director Daisy King, whose plan to promote a new single snowballed into a viral "therapy forum".
Whether it’s people lying about already being in a relationship, getting stood up, or simply having nothing to talk about, dating is a minefield. We’ve all kissed a few frogs, sure, but if you need somewhere to really vent your dating horror stories then look no further — because new site Refund My Shit Date is here to save you.
Started by musician Alexina and art director Daisy King, who were looking for ways to generate buzz around Alexina’s latest single “Where Are All The Boys?”, Refund My Shit Date invites people to anonymously submit details of their worst date plus how much it cost them, in a bid to win £100 compensation. Now, with £1 million in wasted cash (turns out being single is expensive!) the project is taking on a life of its own and turning into a “therapy forum” for those who have been unlucky in love.
We caught up with Alexina and Daisy to hear more about Refund My Shit Date, their own dating mishaps and what looking for love will look like in a post-pandemic world.
Let’s talk about Refund My Shit Date. Why did you decide to start this project?
Alexina: I released a song a couple of weeks ago called “Where Are All The Boys?” It’s about frustrating, shitty dating and endlessly going out trying to find the right “one”. Two weeks before the song was due to be released, Daisy and I spent two hours on the phone talking through ideas for the campaign. She sent me an image of a receipt and then, bam, www.refundmyshitdate.com was born from that. As a story-teller, I wanted the site to be a place for people to tell their own tales in a short, anonymous way and be able to laugh, vent or cry at others. It’s a bit of a therapy forum.
Daisy: We realised that our experiences weren’t isolated and that everyone and their mum’s mum has had a shit date in their lifetime. We hadn’t seen anything like www.refundmyshitdate.com before so we thought; let’s create our own community to get people sharing and reward our favourite ones with £100 cash. We can’t give people their time back, but we wanted to give something as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity.
The focus on money in the project is really interesting — how do you think money can impact your dating life?
Daisy: The site’s growing total of wasted date money speaks volumes about how disposable dating actually is and how fickle it can be. Dating is, sadly, a commodity in every way. It’s becoming more and more transactional, whether we like it or not. Our site adds to that commentary by constant reference to the receipt – the ultimate throwaway object.
Alexina: Dating is a total gamble and one that often doesn’t pay off. Are you going to like the person? How much money do you want to spend on the date? How much do they want to spend on the date? Dating is a very vulnerable space to be in already — add money to the mix, it’s no wonder people can behave so badly.
What are some of your favourite submissions so far?
Daisy: Bunk beds. A girl went back to a guy’s house after a good date and he offered her the top bunk bed before saying goodnight and going to sleep on the bottom bunk. Someone quite early on sent this one in. I think it’s just the sheer simplicity of it, and the disappointment she must have felt on so many levels. Two levels, to be exact.
Alexina: I found an amazing one about a girl who’d recently moved to LA, went to meet a guy at a bar to find out it was his friend’s funeral. “Spent the whole night comforting”. Hell.
Do you have any dating horror stories worthy of Refund My Shit Date?
Alexina: One guy threw up on me and all over the street after a date…but still thought there would be another date.
Daisy: I have had some absolute corkers. I had one last year where a girl repeatedly punched me in the eye, in a fit of ‘passion’ as she called it.
Those sound particularly gruesome, especially yours, Daisy! I think we can all agree that dating is a pointless, stressful, occasionally degrading, experience — but why do you think it’s like this?
Alexina: You definitely have to kiss a few frogs before you find the right person. When you end up spending a long time looking for the right one, dating can become really relentless. It loses its magic and it can be hard to remain positive. The most important thing I’ve taken from it all is to make sure you love and look after yourself. For a long time, there was a focus on the men, not me. You have to remember that you’re the one who matters most, not them.
Daisy: It’s a totally daunting experience because you are putting your whole self in front of a virtual stranger, and saying: “Do you like this?” and that is pretty terrifying. I think as humans we only have two sticking points: our love of connection and our fear of rejection. You just can’t get to one without the other, so it’s kind of an awful self-fulfilling prophecy…
I notice a lot of these entries are focussing on life pre-Covid. Do you think dating will get better or worse after the pandemic?
Daisy: Post-pandemic love is an interesting concept — my view is that people might mistake real genuine chemistry for their own Covid-neglected needs. Being both isolated and single is its own beast, it would give anyone withdrawal from what “dating” used to be. You’d even highlight-reel the bad bits.
Alexina: I think post-Covid dating will involve a lot of sex.
I know that the entries are going to be turned into an exhibition but, apart from that, what is the end goal you have in mind for the project?
Alexina: This little buzzy idea we had for “Where Are All The Boys?” is sort of taking on a life of its own and we hope that we can build www.refundmshitdate.com so that we have as many different stories by different people told. We hope to keep refunding people for their shitty dates too. Dinner for two, a bit of cash — nice things you know.
Daisy: It’s still early doors for us really! We’ve not been live for very long – we blinked and suddenly we had hundreds of entries. We are currently on the lookout for partners to help us grow this, to be able to give more back to the daters and help keep our anonymous safe haven up and running.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Alexina: We just hope to get people sharing, cringing, reading, laughing and relating.
Daisy: There’s still plenty of time to enter and be featured, so head on over to www.refundmyshitdate.com and let it all out. It’s like therapy but it’s free!
28 July 2020