Thursday, July 18, 2013

Speed dating

After weeks of debating and procrastinating, I attended my first speed-dating event last week. I learned about local events through a group, which led me to register at for a local event.

[Side Note: The first Tuesday of every month, pre-dating hosts a free teleseminar on a dating topic. Registration gets you a coupon code which can be used to save 50% on a pre-dating event - or buy one, get one so you can bring a friend.]

It works much like you might imagine:

  • There is an even number of men and women. 
  • Women sit at the same table all night; men move from one table to the next in order.
  • Everyone gets a badge number and wears name tags with their first name only. 
  • There is a time limit for each "date." When the time is up, the facilitator rings a bell indicating that the men should move to the next table.
  • Everyone has two note sheets with a list of numbers. You note the person's name next to his/her number on both. On one you make notes for yourself; on the other, you indicate "Let's talk" or "No thanks" to indicate your interest. 
  • At the end of the night you hand in your feedback sheet to the facilitator. 
  • A day or two later, you get an email with contact information for any mutual matches, and anyone who wanted to meet you (in case you want to give them another chance).

The event I attended was supposed to have 12 men and 12 women, but we had several no-shows. We ended up going on 7 "dates" at 6 minutes each.

I know what you're thinking...6 minutes isn't that long, right? Trust me when I say you have no idea how long 6 minutes truly is until you've spent it being leered at by a guy from Beirut who barely speaks English.

What I liked:

  • The price (after my discount, not before) 
  • The location (they chose a fun bar in a cool town)
  • The logistics (easy to understand) 
  • Most of the people were nice enough
  • Six minutes really did seem like just the right amount of time
  • They provided a list of interesting questions to ask, in case you found yourself at a loss for conversation
What I disliked: 
  • The paperwork - it seems unavoidable, but it does make the transition from one date to the next a little awkward. I made the best of it by turning into a joke and using it to break the ice. 
  • The age range - I went to an event for ages 30-39; I was 38 (I turned 39 three days later). Most of the people were just too young. There is an upcoming event for ages 33-42, and I've seen them for 35-44, which is probably more my speed. 
  • Feeling trapped - See mention of man from Beirut above. Tough to not know what you're getting yourself into. 
Did I enjoy it? Not especially. It was an interesting experience, and I'm not sorry I went. But it was a tiring, awkward way to spend an evening. 

Would I go again? Maybe. If I could get another discount and find an event for slightly older singles and it was at a good location and I was looking for something to do (or something to blog about).

What would I suggest? 
  • Get a drink - for liquid courage and/or to keep your mouth from getting dry. You will do a lot of talking.
  • Dress appropriate for the venue, but also comfortable so you feel confident. It'll probably be in a lounge or bar. Others probably won't be too dressed up, and there's no reason you should be uncomfortable. 
  • Women should let their best shoes out of the closet. You get to sit behind a table all night!
  • Go to an event that's a good age-range for you, but don't sign up if you're outside the age-range - even if you think it would work for you. It's just creepy. Don't be creepy.
  • Have fun. Laugh, and make jokes. Show off your personality. Don't try to be something you're not, but do try to put your best put forward.