Dating in the modern age has gone totally digital, unless you’re one of the lucky few who successfully makes that transition from friend to something more, or you met your significant other while you were both reaching for the last package of Oreos at the grocery store. That’s how that works, right?
I keep downloading Tinder and promptly deleting it within 48 hours when I realize every time, like clockwork, that I have absolutely no intentions of ever meeting these guys in person. It’s a nice ego boost getting message after message saying “Hey cutie,” or “What are you doing tonight? Wanna come over?” I go in with the intention of finding someone, anyone, to at least buy me dinner and give me an excuse to wear a dress, but something about meeting a guy from an app freaks me out.
So then how am I supposed to meet someone? I’m so out of practice that I can’t even flirt back with the waiter at Chili’s who is so clearly into me.
I of course turned to the internet to solve my problem, but in a very different way: I Googled “speed dating.”
Here’s my thinking: It’s like Tinder but in real life. You swipe after 5 minutes of talking to someone, but you’re forced to meet them in person because, well, it is in person. Maybe I could get a better feel for the guys that way, see if there’s really a connection or not.
Was I nervous before the event? Of course. I had my dress approved by a friend before leaving the house, and the bottle of tequila on my dresser was eyeing me as I walked out the door. But I knew that wasn’t the first impression I wanted to make.
I was in a sorority in college. How bad could this be? Wouldn’t speed dating be exactly like recruitment except with dudes?
Yes. Yes, speed dating was exactly like recruitment with dudes.
I had the same conversation over and over and over and could not keep track of who was who at all.
“What do you do?”
“I’m an Uber driver. What about you?”
“I’m an engineer and I just moved here from Texas.”
That was the conversation. For some strange reason, every guy there was an engineer from Texas. Go figure.
I was super nervous going into the night, but it turned out to be really chill. We took notes on each “date” after switching, and put up to five names on our score cards at the end of the night. We were later matched by the event host and emailed contact information for each other.
I got one match, but found myself concerned with all the same things I normally am in regards to dating.
Should I wait for him to email me first? Should I email him? Did he get other matches that he’d rather see again instead of me? Are we supposed to wait three days before contacting each other? Is it weird to email him right away?
I decided against contacting him first, and apparently he did too, so that was a bust.
But the company hosting the speed dating event emailed me inviting me back for free another night. Why not?
More guys showed up the second night I attended. I overheard one saying he thinks there’s a conspiracy where they only give you one or two of your matches rather than all of them. Maybe he had a point, or maybe girls just don’t like him as much as he thinks they do.
The second night was much more interesting than the first. I had guys treating me like a candidate for a job:
“Who are your friends and tell me what you like about them.”
“Uhhh… I meet most of my friends at concerts and I like that… we have the same taste in music?”
There were guys who were all about themselves:
“I don’t get these things. We should just go get a drink after this. I’m not waiting to be matched with you.”
“But you didn’t ask me a single thing about myself! I’m not even putting you in my top five, let alone getting a drink with you tonight.”
There were guys who probably didn’t belong at speed dating at all:
“I don’t live here. I’m just here on vacation.”
Or better yet:
“I’m only here for moral support for my friend who wanted to come.”
And my favorite was the guy who tried to avoid the same conversation a dozen times by typing up answers to all the small-talk questions and giving a copy—including his phone number—to every girl in attendance.
Did I have any success? Well I did get dinner out of it, so I guess that was all I was really looking for. He was my only match the second night, but we grabbed dinner immediately after the event. He was nice enough, but that was about as far as I saw that going.
I also got completely drunk for a whopping zero dollars, and was introduced to a bar with a beer pong table. This was after the first night, when a guy at the bar who was not there for speed dating saw me and decided to get my number. I ended up spending the remainder of the night bar hopping with his friend, who ultimately did not ask for my number. That was more fun than I can handle for about a month.
Would I go speed dating again? Sure, why not. Do I think I’ll meet “the one” there? I doubt it. But I doubt the one is waiting for me on an app either.
Dating is weird. Dudes are weird. I don’t think it’ll ever be simple, but it’s nice to get out of the house and put on a dress every once in a while.
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