OK, I’m willing to admit I tried it. I am a fan of the Sex and the City HBO series, and a particularly funny episode included Miranda giving speed dating a try. It is also a scene in the Will Smith movie Hitch. (Speed dating goes by several names, including Multi-dating and Pre-dating). I went for three reasons, ok maybe 4, and with a friend. The reasons: it was a Wednesday, and I had nothing else to do; I was support for my friend and she for me; I thought it might be entertaining; and, I might actually meet someone interesting.
For $25 we met 13 people, and we had 6 minutes to speak with each person in rotation. The gathering was supposed to be for professional singles aged 41 to 52. I am right in the middle of that range, as well as my friend. We arrived a little early and each had a glass of wine to loosen us up. It was the first experience of speed dating for both of us.
The participants were quite varied, although three IT managers were there, and the ages were all across the board. As a matter of fact, we estimated that one or two might have been outside the age range, and I’m talking the upper range. As the evening progressed and I “interviewed” more participants, it did become easier. Also, the second glass of wine really helped to loosen me up. Possibly a bit too much. I found myself throwing caution to the wind and saying things I probably wouldn’t have said had I been one on one with a single individual for the evening. I had a list of questions in my head that I had planned to ask, but soon found myself off script. Jotting them down for reference would have been helpful. So here are my rules for Speed Dating, now that I have actually tried it:
1. If you are still in the midst of a divorce, maybe you should wait. One participant said he was going through a divorce, dated my friend, and it came out later that papers had not even been filed yet and he was still living in the house. Give it a few months, at least. That time alone can be valuable.
2. Don’t say you own an Aston Martin if you don’t. I ended up with a few get-togethers from the evening. I come for a “gearhead” family and am a Top Gear junkie. I know the difference between a Jaguar and an Aston Martin. The Aston Martin DBS happens to be my dream car. So don’t tell me you have an Aston Martin and show up for a date driving a Jaguar.
3. If you are asked the question “Do you have children”, it is definitely a “yes” or “no” answer. If you hesitate or have to think about it, you are lost. Come clean, spit it out, and get it over with. If you have kids and you aren’t willing to admit it or aren’t proud of them, then first impressions at speed dating is the least of your concerns.
4. You should look the part, within reason. One participant claimed to spend most of his spare time at the gym, but that was hard to believe as buttons were straining to hold in all his assets.
It turned out to indeed be entertaining. My friend is very outgoing, sweet, and bubbly, and she of course left that evening with someone’s phone number, not even waiting for the event results. I expected that. I did not expect myself to end the evening actually interested in two people. But that was the end result. I have followed up on the two individuals, and can say with all sincerity, that one of them is quite interesting and I will pursue at least a friendship. For myself, I think I should have stopped at one glass of wine. The second made me much more chatty than I usually am with strangers. Also, I would advise anyone attending an event such as this to take notes. I truly believed I didn’t need notes, but at the end of the evening I was having difficulty putting names with faces and ended up using nicknames to refer to the individuals, such as “the shoe fetish guy” for example, and yes, there was someone there that fit that description. I don’t think I will go to another event, but if you are curious, by all means, give it a try. I was very glad to have support and would encourage attending with a friend. We were able to compare notes on the drive home, between outbursts of laughter.