I always wanted to try speed dating … haven’t you? What a fun concept! Imagine … you get to meet over a dozen eligible bachelors in one night!! All of them admiring your beauty, sexiness and charm … as they fight over who gets to go on a date with you … oh wait sorry I was day dreaming again. Actually, is it really that far from the truth? For those of you that aren’t sure what speed dating is, essentially, it’s an activity where single people have a series of short “dates” with potential partners in order to determine whether there is mutual interest or not.
How It Works
The women all sit on separate tables and are given name tags with a letter/number on it and they can write their name as well. They are also given a sheet of paper where they write their names and contact info. On this sheet is also a list of boxes with letters/numbers. The men rotate while the women stay seated. The men get the same type of sheet of paper. You get about 5 minutes for each “date” and then you mark on your sheet of paper a check mark for the ones you would like to see again. They do the same. So basically, if you check someone off and they check you off then it’s a mutual match. At the end of the evening the hosts compare the sheets and email you your mutual matches and their contact information.
My Speed Dating Adventure
When I was approached by the speed dating company to see if I was interested in attending one of their speed dating events I immediately said yes. Like I mentioned, I always wanted to try it and I thought not only is it a great way to meet some new men, but it will give me something really interesting to write about. So I jumped at the chance. Then I thought, oh no, what do you wear? What do you do? What do you talk about? What if the guy’s ugly? Or worse, what if he smells or has bad breath and you’re stuck there for 5 minutes of hell!? Ok ok … well I know I was going a little overboard and really, it’s only 5 minutes with each man, not like a real date that you have to endure for at least an hour.
The speed dating evening came and I opted for business casual outfit … skirt with a nice top, enough cleavage to make a difference but nothing that screamed “take me now” … I didn’t go all out, but I wasn’t too casual either. I figured, just like with any date, you have to put your best foot forward. When I got there, I was horrified! All I saw were dirty old men everywhere!!! One old Irish man said to me “ay Lassie, can I buy you a drink, you’re beautiful” … I politely thanked him and declined. This was NOT what I signed up for!! I went back to my car, checked my phone, I thought maybe I was at the wrong place. Nope, I was in the right place. OK, I thought, perhaps I should go back and make sure. So I did, and I saw a woman with a name tag at the bar, I asked her if this was the speed dating event, she said yes but it was in a room around the corner. Big sigh of relief!! So I went and saw a room full of people my age. Even bigger sigh of relief. The men and women ranged from average to very attractive. I honestly expected a bunch of ugly people, but no, I was wrong, there were some attractive guys and girls there.
As is my usual habit, I put my “life of the party” hat on and chatted all the women up (we were segregated from the men). Most of them had been having a hard time meeting men and had experienced some bad dates, so they wanted to try something different. The host came by and made sure to tell everyone about my blog … they all thought it was pretty cool. All the women seemed pretty interesting and nice … outgoing. Was I sizing up the competition? Well, sure I was … wouldn’t you? Some were competition … some were just too different from me to be considered competition … we would attract different types of guys. Didn’t really get a good look at the guys right away … until the dates started. So we were instructed to take our “places” and the event was about to start. So they gave me a lone table separate from the others … and because there was an extra guy, he got to take a break after he was done with me. Hmm … was that such a good thing?
So we began. The first guy came and chatted … turns out he was the obnoxious one of the group. He was nice enough, loved to talk … boy did he LOVE to talk … about himself … loud obnoxious. But 5 minutes passed quickly … NEXT! Then there were a few guys I would describe as “blah” … conversation flowed but they weren’t memorable at all … yawn … NEXT!! Then one guy who was totally not my type who didn’t open his mouth when he spoke arrived … longest 5 minutes of my life (mumble mumble nod mumble) … NEXT!! But I was enjoying meeting all these people and seeing what their motivations for being there was. Most of them were busy professionals who didn’t have time to look for someone. This gave them the opportunity to meet single girls in an open environment. There was the guy with a weird hat who I think was trying to make a statement with his “look” … not a good look … or maybe he was bald underneath and wanted to hide it … whatever it was, it wasn’t a good look … NEXT!! There was another guy who started drawing lines on a paper with spectrums of personality and wanted to know where I fit … what? NEXT!! I was starting to think that this was going to be a nice experience, but not really a place to meet someone.
Then came one guy, he was attractive although he needed a visit to the set of “what not to wear”, but I wasn’t going to let that influence me. He sat down and we started chatting. It was an instant connection. We loved the same type of geeky historical things and both got excited about the history and discovery channels. They had to pry us apart because we were having such a great discussion … 5 minutes felt like 5 seconds. So I actually checked him off as a match. Others came, one guy who was a total outdoor enthusiast and loved to mountain bike and do outdoorsy stuff. Um, not me at all. Do they have room service in the remote mountains? He was really good-looking though … it surprised me that he was there actually. Then I met another guy who was easy to talk to, a big flirt and attractive. So, I picked him too … just so I didn’t only pick one. But a connection wasn’t really there. Then I was done.
I went to chat with the host and he told me that a lot of guys had checked me off and he wanted to know who I chose … I wouldn’t tell him. He did tell me that when the guys finished with my table and had a break he chatted with them and told them about my blog and that I would write about them if we dated. OMG!! How could he … but it was funny because he said that made them want to see me again even more!! LOL!! Some guys also had said that they were surprised someone like me was at something like that … hmm what does that mean? Was there a stigma attached to speed dating? The next day I got my matches. The one guy who I totally connected with chose me as well and they sent me his contact info (and sent him mine too). I haven’t contacted him though because I did notice him REALLY hitting it off and kind of smitten with another girl, so I will let him contact me if he wants to. He hasn’t yet. That’s OK … it was a good experience anyway!
So from my experience, how do you have a successful speed dating experience?
Here are some tips to get you started:
- go in with no expectations other than meeting new people
- be the one everyone notices when you walk in the room and wants to meet by making a confident entrance … don’t be the one people stare at for the wrong reasons
- dress nicely, girls a skirt/pants and a top or a dress and guys dress shirt and pants … not fancy but not too casual either … look like you made an effort
- buy a drink and keep it in hand, it will help with the nerves, but don’t over drink … remember you want to put your best foot forward … you don’t want to be the speed dating drunk
- chew gum or have a mint with you … you are speaking with someone at close proximity so you don’t want to be the girl/guy with bad breath
- keep a smile on your face … even if you’re bored
- always start with a firm handshake and a smile and introduce yourself and thank the person after … be polite
- even if you don’t feel a connection, or if you’re grossed out by the person … it’s only 5 minutes make the best of it
What to talk about (or I should say what I talked about):
- speed dating and that it was my first time but it was fun meeting a lot of different people
- growing up in town and if they did too
- work: what sort of work we did (of course in Ottawa 90% worked for the government like me)
- travel: where we’ve been and where we’d like to go
- interests/pastimes: what we enjoyed doing in our free time
- even if it gets quiet and the person is a bad conversationalist, just keep going and ask any random questions to fill the time
5 minutes goes by quite quickly … but you really do get a sense for what kind of person they are and if there’s a potential connection. First impressions really do matter and you need to put your best foot forward … especially when you only have such a short time to make any impression at all! Would I do it again? Perhaps … the caliber of men, I have to say, was pretty good, just not the type of man I want (definitely no Alphas). The ones I met were all professionals who didn’t have the time to invest in the search and wanted a faster way to meet someone. One thing I do have to say is that it’s exhausting … but not a waste of time at all.
I totally recommend trying speed dating at least once … who knows! You might just meet that one person you’ve always been looking for and if you don’t, well you’ll meet a lot of great new people! I will keep you posted if my mutual match contacts me or not.
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva