Don't let her smile fool you. She wasn't very happy with me by the end of the night. I'm always up for trying new things, and this blog gives me the perfect excuse to get into stuff that I might normally be a little too embarrassed to do, so when it came to speed-dating for the first time, I was all in.
I have to do research, after all. Ahem.
A few weeks ago, I was a guest speaker at a summit about blog and content creation, and after doing a heavy plug on this website, I was approached by a young woman who explained that she manages a speed-dating service. I was instantly intrigued.
"I've gotten those LivingSocial deals before, but I never actually went. It's always been something I was curious about though," I told her.
"Well, we're having an event soon. I'd love for you to come as my guest!"
Boom. I was in. But I was not about to go through this alone.
Yes, I'm independent and all that jazz, but c'mon. I needed someone to witness this with me. Enter: my childhood friend Julia.
Julia recently entered #TeamSingle, so I figured this would be a good way for her to dip her toes back into the dating scene. Actually, I'm not sure that's true, but I knew she'd be down to do this with me, even if she hated me after the fact.
"I don't wanna do this anymore, Bruna," she told me while we got ready.
"Well, that's too bad. You're going."
I'm very understanding.
We jumped in the car and drove the 20 miles to the restaurant while belting to Sia and Amy Winehouse. Once we parked, shit got real. "OMG, I CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE DOING THIS," she told me. Yes, bitch, we're doing this.
Upon entering the classy establishment, we were greeted with the mix of men and women who were waiting to be seated for the event. We did a quick sweep of the room and instantly gathered that this was going to be, um, interesting. We slapped on our name tags, went to our designated table, and all of a sudden, we were off!
So, for those who thought speed-dating was just for the movies, this is how it went down...
We each got assigned a number that delegated which table we'd be starting at. You get six minutes to talk with the person across from you, and then when the bell rang to signal time is up, the guy shifts over one table while the woman stays seated, and then the six minutes starts all over again. There were 13 tables, but one guy didn't show, so everyone had one round of solo time (which, let me tell you, is necessary). Twelve mini dates back-to-back can get hella exhausting. Especially when the conversation feels like you're pulling teeth.
Meanwhile, you have a sheet of paper in front of you with numbered boxes. You write the name of the person next to their number, some notes if you need to remember who was who, and then circle if you're interested or not. At the end of the night, the organizer collects all the papers, and you get an email with the following: the emails of those who liked you, but you weren't interested and the emails of those you liked who also liked you back.
Spoiler Alert: No one's getting my email address.
Now, to be fair, there were both pros and cons. So, I'm going to give you three of each to illustrate this experience as best as I can.
- Face to Face Interaction: As we are all well-aware, everything is digital these days, so actually meeting someone in person is rare. It was nice to ditch all of the texting and bullshit, and just get straight to it.
- Dust Off Those Conversation Skills: Or lack thereof. Because we rely so heavily on our phones and the protection of being behind a screen, we don't realize how awkward we can be when it comes to actually having a conversation with someone. Listen, you're not going to have any sort of substantial relationship with anybody if you can't sit and talk with them. So, this was great practice when it came to dusting off your problem areas and realizing what you need to work on.
- You Have a Safety Net: It's just 6 minutes. You don't have to worry about getting into an hour-long date that you don't want to be a part of. There's no pressure to kiss at the end of the night or figure out what to say at the end of the date. You just wait for that bell, say, "It was great meeting you," and then, bam! It's over.
- Awkward Silences: It's inevitable. I'm pretty good at keeping a convo going and relieving both of us from dealing with the weirdness that we know is creeping up, but there were some moments when I was too tired, and I'd just sit there like I'm not saving your ass, boy, figure it out.
- No One I'd Actually Date: I wasn't attracted to any of the guys, and I knew off bat they weren't men I'd date. But, it was still nice to get to know them, and it's always a gamble. It's just the luck of the draw. The organizer told me about a couple who just recently got married after meeting at one of her events, so it happens. It just didn't happen for me that night.
- Having the Same Convo Over & Over: I basically had the same conversation 12 times and it consisted of this--What do you do? What do you do for fun? Where are you from? That's cool. There were maybe a few here and there that actually sparked some exciting stories, but for the most part, it was a little meh.
All in all, you had your mix of borderline creeps (you know, the ones who tell you about their millionaire uncles who live overseas or that "what you see is what you get" while leaning back with their beer) and then you get your sweet, shy guys who look at you and say, "I've been waiting to get to this table all night." Aw, shucks.
Regardless of the awkward moments, and Julia's adamant decision to never do that again, I would still recommend trying it at least once with some friends (check out Pre-Dating's website here).
If nothing else, you'll create hilarious memories.
I'll have a full recap on the blog this week, but for now, here you go. pic.twitter.com/8AEUBpEZA5
— Problem With Dating (@probwithdating) February 7, 2017