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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Speed Dating for the Twenty-Somethings

Put away the arrow cupid, you’ll need some heavier artillery.

Twenty-somethings are an exclusive, and elusive, age category. We want everything, as long as we don’t have to leave our comfort zone. That’s probably why there were still last minute tickets available for Rendezvous Club’s '20-28 year olds' speed dating event.
After one too many status updates about my exhilarating single life, aka spinning the stem off my apple to find out the first letter of my future husbands name, a friend of mine suggested I try attending a speed dating event that was taking place that night. I had always been interested in speed dating; based on what I had seen in movies and TV shows it looked like a comical and entertaining experience, so I decided to sign up. I had no idea how speed dating worked; before, during and after, but I do now…

The Breakdown
You will meet 33 eligible bachelors (bachelorettes for the men) and have 3 minutes with each of them. Woman will be sat down as men rotate. If you both put a checkmark beside each others name, you will be emailed the results with your match’s name and email address. See their post-speed dating FAQ here. And the final thing; you are separated by your ages. 23-28, 29-34, 34-40, 40-100? (I’m not sure the final age category…).

What To Wear.
Initially I thought I’ll wear my hottest outfit. The first impression means everything when you only get to speak to people for 3 minutes, but once I started talking with my friends, I was confused as to what to wear. I started anxiously Googling “speed dating attire”, “what to wear to speed dating” etc. I found quite a few articles but the main points were:
  1. Wear something tried and tested.
  2. Wear something comfortable.
  3. Wear something that looks good from the waist up (you’ll be sitting).
  4. Wear something that reflects your personality.
  5. Wear something that can go from ‘speed dating’ to ‘stand-up socializing’.
How did I interpret these general guidelines?
Pants, peplum and a pair of pointy stilettos.  
Equal parts comfortable, me, and sexy.

When To Arrive.
I was told to be at the door by 7:20pm and I’m not one to be late (intentionally…).
I took a $4 cab, cause my shoes can pinch, and my hair can poof, and arrived just on time. Unfortunately I didn’t forsee the most awkward situation I’ve faced in a long time. There was a lineup outside the door of the venue. I had to walk past every single person I would inevitably ‘date’ an hour from now. What did I do as a typical twentysomething? I put my head down and turned my phone on. Thoughts were running through my head – Why did I go alone? Why did I even do this? If I won’t talk to them now, what makes me think I can talk to them later? Eventually, after 15 dreadful minutes, we were allowed inside.

How It Starts.
I got inside and was directed to my ‘age category’ registration table. They give you a nametag (hair & clothing tended to make these an obstacle to read, leading girls to blatantly point to their chest so guys could make out your name… and your cup size), a Q&A form, a notepad with words of encouragement, and finally, your match list. Oh and a free drink ticket… Naturally the first thing I cashed in was my drink ticket. I found myself alone, in a sea of singles. So what did I do? 
Hiding in the washroom seemed like a viable option… but it wasn’t the point of the evening. So I gravitated towards another girl. We found comfort knowing we were in this together (just when you think girl code is a myth...).
A couple of guys approached us and asked us if we were working on our Q&A form.  I got the feeling that guys wished they had a Q&A form for life; it made approaching so much easier when there was a purpose!
I participated, as we were all equally involved in the evening. 
Questions ranged from 'Have you been on a cruise' to 'Do you have tattoos'. I could give them the answers to numbers 2, 4, 7, 11, and 13 to complete their list. I fell into a bad habit of only providing a person with the numbers, versus engaging in conversation, but it was a good warm up. Can you guess which Q&A questions I could answer? They are at the end of the post.

When The Clock Starts.
The dates began. I was facing the flow, so I could see the next 7 guys I’d be talking to, and at that moment, I think I believed in love at first sight.
I didn’t see anyone that sparked my interest, but I didn’t write them off either. I mean I couldn’t, I HAD to talk to them – that’s the genius of speed dating. 
I met some really amazing people, even if they weren’t for me. I found my nerves subsiding (maybe it was my double gin & soda), and I no longer had to force a smile, it just came out.
There was a break that allowed all the ages to co-mingle and I found myself longing to be back up with the twenty-somethings, when only an hour prior, I was dying to be down with the 30+’s. I thought the break was the opportunity to meet my ‘type’, but realization hit, that I no longer knew my ‘type’. I was just open to the opportunities.

So, should Twenty-Somethings try speedating?
What can be gained for an already social age group?
I determined there are 5 benefits of speed dating for a twenty-something:
  1. Not limiting yourself to a perceived 'type'.
  2. Learning to make a decision.
  3. Finding yourself. Yes, we are all selfish at this age, but are we ourselves?
  4. Being honest. I caught myself lying on occasion. I thought the truth wouldn’t fit, but the point is – the truth isn’t always going to fit. The lies ranged from “Oh yeah, Thailand - I'd love to go”, to “I'm 23”. Such simple white lies and yet... I felt that they made an impact.
  5. Improving approachability. This event made me realize that being approached is liberating, and being able to approach is exhilarating.

Not every situation in life is like speeddating - clearly, but from walking down the street, to being at a restaurant, I have learned to be present. I lift my head up, put my phone down, and have gone from people watching, to people approaching. Sure, this may wear off; from exhilarating human interaction lighting up my face, to the glare of my iPhone, but I hope I can keep it up. If not, there are always more speed dating events, conferences, meetings and parties. All these places are opportunities to go against your antisocial inhibitions. They are designed to be social, so be it!

I thought cupid would have to put away his single arrow, and pick up an automatic gun for this speed dating experience, but I realized, despite how many people you meet, it still only takes one person to give you butterflies. I guess there are some things that don’t need to modernize. Keep it up cupid!

Thursday June 27th, 2013:
Interesting Speed Dating Conversations... 
There were some pretty interesting conversation topics like:
  • The love of archery - this still exists? Cupid's in luck.
  • Sisters buying their tickets.
  • Being able to meet soo many girls.
  • Moving to the states in two weeks to pursue a PHD but thought the commute wouldn't be bad.
  • Having nothing to say - literally. 
  • How drunk they are - Twenty-Somethings comfort zone, drinking and sex.
  • Making you 'guess' the answer to all your questions - we only have 3 minutes buddy!
Thursday June 27th, 2013:
2. I've been to Europe.
4. I've been skinny dipping.
7. I know how to play poker.
11. I was born outside Canada.
13. I prefer showers over baths.

Monday June 24th, 2013:
Second date arranged... 

Sunday June 23rd, 2013:
First date with my Speed Dating match. 

Saturday June 22nd, 2013:
Date Arranged.
My match and I have arranged a trial date for tonight! Will keep you updated.

Friday June 21st, 2013:
Received my matches. 
I only picked one guy, out of the potential 33, and remarkably he picked me too! Next step - email each other.

Wednesday June 19th, 2013:
Speed Dating event.
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