Two weeks ago, my friend, let’s call her Christine, and I decided to do something we had never done before: Speed dating.
Since speed dating had never crossed my mind, I was shocked when I found myself keen on trying it out. I, for one, don’t date much, so to be actively signing up for many quick dates in the same night was something I never imagined. Speed dating was, therefore, a huge, risky adventure!
It all started on Super Bowl Sunday. Christine sent me a screen shot of an e-mail she received from e-Harmony. She had signed up for a free trial almost three years ago and had never actually used the dating site.
After a few laughs, we began talking about online dating. Though I had contemplated and completely vetoed the concept a for many years, hence the bit about me not really dating, I soon typed the words: “Hey, want to try something completely crazy and sign up for speed dating?”
Who am I?
Within 20-minutes, I found four different organizations that offer speed dating in Toronto. Ten-minutes later, Christine and I signed up via 25dates.com, a speed dating company that hosts events in Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary. Twenty-five Dates has been around for 13 years and reviews say they have connected people from all over Canada. They host multiple events for various ages and sexual orientations.
Seconds later, my phone rang. When I picked up, I could hear Christine saying, “What did we just do???” For two weeks leading up to the speed dating event, we remained in shock.
Fast-forward to the night of the event, and after many phone calls on what to wear and what questions to ask, Christine and I met up at Union Station feeling both excited and nervous.
When we walked into the event venue, Christine and I were greeted by energetic hosts who gave us a piece of paper with two columns: One for the successful dates and the other for the, uh, failures. On the back of this sheet, we were encouraged to write notes on the people we were “dating,” like their names, their features and even any annoying habits we might have noticed right off the bat…
Christine and I were two of 25 women who would be mingling with 25 men. One woman and one man would sit at a table for three minute “dates,” before moving to the next one. By the end of the 25 dates, we would have said “Yes,” or “No,” to each person. Saying, “Yes,” would mean that we’d further our conversations with the selected winners outside of the event. Should our selections also have said, “Yes,” to us, we were to be connected to this person via e-mail. Needless to say, that “No” column was very intimidating.
Christine and I took seats close together, as we came up with a goofy signal for whether we liked or disliked the guys we would soon meet. The first man who sat in front of me was actually quite funny. We talked for the full three minutes – imagine that – before our time was up and we were to move onto the next date.
On the 24 dates that would follow, I found I had a lot in common with some of the men there and others were just complete no-go’s!
I was asked the standard questions about my job and my hobbies, but also received some light-hearted questions like, what type of animal I would be and if I could travel anywhere in the world, where? Some questions weren’t so great, though. There was definitely one person who made me feel extremely uncomfortable and I spent the remainder of that date praying to be saved by the bell.Three minutes never felt so long…
At the end of the event, the hosts explained participants would receive an email within 72-hours outlining who our matches were.
Christine and I refreshed our inboxes until we got the emails. We promised we would text each other as soon as we had our results. Two days later, Christine got her email and found she had two matches. She called me screaming with joy, so I responded with the same action, of course.
I patiently waited for my email to arrive (Read: I was worried, as a good two hours passed after Christine had received her email and I still had nothing)!
Christine neglected to tell me her email was stashed in her junk folder, but when I checked mine, I found my note! I took a deep breath and opened the email. Scrolling through, I stopped. Then, I screamed.
I had five matches!
This thing actually worked?
I texted Christine while doing a happy dance and trying to calm the overwhelming feelings stirring up inside.
Who will I contact first?
Where will we go on our first real dates?
Can I talk to these people for longer than three minutes?
These are questions that time will help me find the answers to.
Regardless of whether the speed dating results work out for Christine and I, I am happy I took the plunge and tried something new. I broke out of my comfort zone and learned a lot about myself and 25 other people! Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to learn even more about five of the 25 men I encountered a few weeks ago.
I strongly encourage anyone who wants to try something new to give speed dating a try. Who knows, you may find that special someone you’re looking for, or maybe a new friend to hang out with!
And, if your speed dating experience totally sucks, you will have hilarious stories to tell. Maybe they will be so hilarious, you will be inspired to write an opinion piece for a major newspaper about speed-dating and score a gig as a columnist at a media monster. Next thing you know, you’re pulling a Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
It’s a win-win.