Speed Dating Killed the Online-Dating Star

I walk into the basement of the bar.


It's basically empty, other than a couple men gathered around at a table. I can feel their eyes on me as I enter the room. I stare back. I'm nervous. Thankfully, I have a girlfriend who is also doing this with me and she knows the ropes. The host of the evening greets us, signs us in and tells us to pick a seat where there's a letter. We walk over to the table and I tell her to sit next to me because I want to be able to overhear some of her conversations throughout the night. We settle in and begin to really scan the room. I immediately turn to my girlfriend and say "Ok, I'm not nervous anymore." Any pre-speed dating anxiety I had washed away because in this moment I realize we're all just human going through this process together. And if you want my HONEST opinion, I can't say I was overly attracted to anyone--which clearly calmed my nerves. The women who came into the room next were the 'competition' and I found myself thinking, "how is SHE single? She's gorgeous!" We spend the next 15 minutes scoping out the room, sipping our drinks and slightly judging people as they found their seat.

Finally the dates are about to begin. We're instructed to check off "Yes" or "No" to each date based on their number on their name-tag. A bell is rung after 5 minutes are up and the men move around the room while the ladies stay seated. I can't help but think of 'The Hunger Games' in this scenario where the host would yell, "Let the games begin! And may the odds be ever in your favor." I really can't help feeling like I volunteered as tribute.

"Hi, I'm M*, nice to meet you" (names have been changed to just their first initials)

"Hi! Nice to meet you. How's your night going?" Conversation begins and I find that my mind is going a mile a minute. I'm trying to take in the conversation BUT I'm also asking myself--is he attractive? Is he funny? Ok, he's making good eye contact. Oh now, he's rambling. Oh, is there an accent there? Where is he from?! And you suddenly come back to the conversation only to not have heard a word of it. *DING!* Bell rings, we shake hands again. "Have a fun night!" I say as I jot down a check mark in the NO column. OK first date done. Not bad. I feel more relaxed. 5 minutes went by fast but I didn't really feel like we had enough there to actually go on a date. Next guy appears.

"Hi, I'm M*" (I know, another M)

"Hey M*" I take a sip of my beer. He asks. "What led you to come here tonight?"

I basically dove into the fact that online dating has not been successful for me. I have met a lot of people, had a lot of dates. But the quantity was not matching up with the quality of people I like to surround myself with. He agreed. Same issue for him and because we're older, the social circle doesn't expand as much as it did when we were younger.  In fact, I'd say that's exactly why all of us were in that room. We were trying something new since online was boring us.

The night proceeded to be 2 hours of chatting with a mini break in the middle to refill your drinks and grab some munchies. It was in this moment that I could quickly compare notes with my friend. It was really interesting to talk about the same person but sometimes have completely different experiences. I was asking lighter questions. "Where are you from?" "What's your ideal date?" "Have you done this before?" My friend was asking the tougher questions. The more hard-hitting, fact finding stuff: "How long have you been single? What are you looking for?" It was through chatting about this that I realize what you get out of speed dating is what you put in. It's all based on the questions you ask and what you find important to find out. Keep in mind you only have FIVE minutes (sometimes less depending on the size of group) . 5 minutes isn't much time, but it is enough time to see if you want more, find someone attractive and would be interested in going for a coffee or dinner.

I only had 6 dates last night. Out of the 6 I said yes to 2. And these were hesitant yes's. I have to wait 2 days to see if I have any matches and will go from there.

 But was it fun?! YES. I put myself out of my comfort zone in attending my first speed dating night. Conversations were enjoyable regardless of me marking almost the whole room as a no. Would I do this again? YES. Why? Because I feel I can represent myself better in the flesh. I'm engaging, animated, loud. I cackle when I laugh and I can make witty jokes on the fly that will shock you or have you entertained. I am more than just 4 well filtered selfies with a short blurb on being a part time Zumba instructor by night and a media employee by day. There is far more to ANY of us than what the online world portrays. So being in the flesh, knowing if I'm attracted to you or not feels less of a let down since I just met you that night. Chatting online can make us build the other person up and when you finally meet it can feel like you wasted your time if there isn't a connection.

So if you haven't met people this way- go and try it. I said no to this idea many times. I felt like I would feel like an outcast walking into that room. And really, it wasn't that bad. You ease into it more as the night goes along. So go with a buddy or go alone and see where the night takes you!



And for the record, I don't think I can go online dating again after my experience last night.


Comments

  1. Awesome! Sounds like a fun night. And the cartoon is hilarious!❤

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