Adventures in speed dating

Emily Bearg

In a world that is constantly telling singles to hook up, speed dating probably seems like the least logical solution to finding a mate-especially when the word “desperate” comes to mind. However, I decided to give Cupid a shot and tried speed dating out for myself during the most romantic time of the year.

Not wanting to look completely unattached, I took a friend along with me to Jul’s for the Pre-Valentine’s Day Speed Dating Event, a first (but not last) for the cocktail club. Around 25 other singletons were gathered for cocktails, and I definitely felt a bit out of place being the last one to arrive.

There was a wide array of ages, ranging from about 20 to 35, and that voice in the back of my head was telling me to turn around and run before I signed my name in blood on the dreaded dating list.

Before I could think twice, I somehow managed to scribble out my name and contact information at the bottom of the memo pad, secretly hoping I might’ve misspelled my e-mail address or written down the wrong phone number. No such luck. I looked up from the list, swallowed and tried to carry on a trite conversation with my friend, who was completely composed since she wasn’t going to be the one awkwardly stumbling along in five-minute conversations with complete strangers. I then realized the reason I volunteered to cover the story was because I was trying to get out of my comfort box and meet new people. Great, now my conscience was kicking in.

My name was called, I tried not to look like I was about ready to lose it and I sat at a stool table in one of the dimly lit corners. Guys were being matched up with the girls, and my first date didn’t exactly look promising. Not to mention the fact that instead of sitting across from me at the table, he started to sit two tables away from me until our announcer, Cupid, helped him to the right stool. Five minutes of complete awkwardness passed, and the gentlemen moved to the next table. Just as I was about ready to detach myself from the stool, the next dates picked up. Maybe it was just getting over the anxiousness, but conversations flowed and I ended up marking “yes” to two potential date candidates.

Out of the 25 participants, 16 found matches for possible second dates, including me. Basically, it meant that unless both marked a “yes” to a second date, the contact information would not be shared, leaving me feeling quite relieved. The event was such a success that Jul’s plans on having speed dating next year and possibly again in the late summer or early fall.

So maybe I didn’t find the love of my life but so what? For one night, I was forced to try something new and got to talk about myself for almost 30 straight minutes. When do you get that opportunity in a regular relationship?