Disappointed at the dismal results of my online dating efforts, my resistance to speed dating was melting as fast as ice cream left under the hot summer sun. For over a year, some of my female friends had been successfully found mates through this concept had been cajoling and convincing me that it works. It was certainly worth a try, since no other viable alternative presented itself.
The concept of a speed dating party is simple enough. Instead of staying home browsing through online profiles and pictures, you are given the chance to meet 10 or more members of the opposite sex face-to-face in one night. A party is typically held at a bar and is organized so you’ll meet oodles of people on a string of real live mini-dates. Upon arrival, you will be handed scorecard and ID number tag that the other participants will use to identify you, and you’ll take a seat at one of many small tables.
When it’s time to begin, you’ll talk to the person across from you until your host blows the whistle to indicate your “date” is over. Depending on which company (and there are a multitude of them) organizes the speed dating party, each date could be between three and eight minutes. That’s your signal that it’s time to move on to the next person for another whirlwind conversation. And on and on it goes.
After each date, you’ll tick off a “yes” or “no” box next to each person’s ID number on your scorecard to indicate if you want to be in touch. At the end of the night, you’ll give your scorecard to the party organizers who will then email you in a day or two and give the email addresses of those who also indicated their interest in you! From then on, it’s up to both parties to continue and see where the budding relationship leads.
I decided to get my feet wet by trying out this website my friend found which catered primarily to Asians (click2asia.com – doesn’t this suspiciously sound like a discount international long distance calling service to the Far East???). So on a winter Saturday night, there I found myself in a club in Chelsea along with all these trying-to-be-cool Asian guys and trying-to-look-Americanized Asian girls – they separated the throngs of single lonely Asians into groups of 15 guys/girls each, thus my $25 (only $10 for girls!) conceivably bought 15 dates (talk about cheap dates). Due to some annoying no-shows only got to “meet” 12 girls – 10 Chinese and 2 Koreans (strangely, no Filipinas – although there was a token Filipino guy as well as the obligatory token White guy with an Asian fetish…LOL).
In all honesty, on a physical level I didnt really like any of them, but personality-wise maybe 2 or 3 were interesting to talk to. Some were unspeakably boring, some didnt even bother to hide their disdain/contempt/boredom and made no effort to initiate conversation (especially the woman who works 13-14hrs a day including weekends at IBM – she complained that she didnt have time to date but this event had TOO MANY guys – so she was pissed at answering the same old questions – I wound up just trying out my zany one-liners on her so as to alleviate the situation, since it was pointless to engage in conversation – she laughed, albeit not spontaneously but in a somewhat deliberate manner, as if she chewed on my joke for two seconds and then decided it WAS funny, and THEN burst out laughing – geez, gimme a break). Some did initiate conversation but it was the usual job interview -like questions (e.g. What do u do? Where do u work/live?).
Acting on a tip from a male acquaintance, I purposely tried to steer the conversation away from the ho-hum same old, same old dialogue and towards the topic of vacations (their latest trip, most memorable experience, etc.) with some degree of success – I found out that a few of them had been on Caribbean cruises and since I had yet to go on one we wound up discussing the merits of the Western Caribbean vis-a-vis the Eastern Caribbean, weight gain due to the buffet dinners, staid vs. lively cruise lines, and other relevant topics. Moreover, I made my usual jokes and sarcastic comments and much to my annoyance they failed to elicit laughter from a few of the serious-minded women (thus they were “eliminated” immediately in my mind).
At the end of the night we were supposed to turn in our forms where we indicate who we want to see again by checking on the “yes/no” box beside each name – and guess what? I chose NONE. Yes, that’s right. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This predictably enough elicited groans of dismay from my legion of women friends, and thus the accusations of my alleged pickiness were rehashed once more (and once again, a denial is forthcoming). It was a unique experience though that I look forward to trying again – maybe I’ll have better luck next time, or on the flip side maybe I’ll run into the same old women again. Much like meeting other singles via conventional means, that’s one lesson I got from the experience – speed dating is a crapshoot.