Adventures in Speed Dating: Kendra’s night of twenty 6-minute dates

The beginning of my speed dating saga involved a breakup, a Groupon, and 2 single coworkers agreeing to be a part of the ride. At $21, how can you go wrong?

My partner-in-crime, despite being one of the most stunning and put together people I know, has not been on a proper date in 8 years. If anything, my mission was to reintroduce her to the dating pool… like parents in the 50s taught their kids to swim. Push them off the deck and hope the frantic flailing for survival keeps them afloat.

We arrived at the speed dating event after a few cocktails. Obstacle one: the event was being held at a popular restaurant many of my friends frequent. We took a deep breath and registered anyway, sitting so closely you couldn’t drop a quarter between us. This ended up being good for arm squeezability when things started to get weird on one of our mini-dates.

They rang a bell and corralled us into a main room where the rules were explained. Due to the popular turnout there would be 20 mini-dates lasting 6 minutes each (For the record 6 minutes is the EXACT time a conversation starts to get awkward) From the cattle call vantage point it was easy to scope out the type of guys that frequent this kind of event.

The rest of the rules are explained here: Guys move table to table in order of number, girls stay put. This was my favorite part of speed dating. I am extremely lazy and I tend to wear impractical shoes that are not conducive to general mobility. Everyone is given a check list with a flap that covers it, When your mini-date suitor arrives you write down his name, and discretely – after he’s gone – check yes or no.

If you both check yes your contact information is exchanged, if you check zero yes’s you are entitled to a free round of speed dating.

My first date had definitely lied about his age to attend this event (the cut off was 35) and he looked to be around mid 40s. He spoke with a thick accent which made our “connection” that much more difficult. He also considered himself an expert speed dater having done it 5 times and in multiple countries and languages. I didn’t have the heart to tell him if he was still speed dating after 5 times in different elements maybe he might not be the expert he believed himself to be?

Most of the men who attended the event were fairly new to Canada (Chinese, Irish, Middle Eastern and Estonian?) and were looking to meet new people in a situation that is far removed from the bar scene. I would go as far as to say 95% of the guys I met worked in finance. One would venture to say these men work in male-dominated environments and were there looking for a RELATIONSHIP. For women who say they can never find a man who is looking to commit, it’s because they are all out speed dating.

The majority of men seemed successful; careers in check , they were looking for a wifey type. Not what I am looking for, but I applaud their honesty and their proactive nature.

Luckily we were granted an intermission, during which we scarfed all the free appetizers we could get our hands on and downed a few tequila shots to liven things up. We also had a pep talk on how we were going to play the second half.

I was sick of hearing my own bio on repeat (I like to travel, scuba dive cook, blah blah) so I decided to evoke my inner Sally Jesse Raphael and act as though I were genuinely captivated and “interview” each candi(date). Bonus points if you could get through the entire 6 minutes without divulging any information about yourself (mystery is a powerful tool!) By the end I had checked off two Yes’s and only had one strange encounter 1 out of 20 ain’t bad and certainly better then the ratio of freaks to normals in my controlled dating life.

I did give one speed dater my number as he was cute and going for drinks in the area (plus I’m a rebel that scoffs at rules). I reassured one traumatized coworker that the dating landscape in Toronto isn’t as bleak as the candidates from the Speed Dating event made it seem. I also had to promise her there are many handsome men in Toronto that would never. EVER wear a choker with a lone seashell on it.

I did however get this flattering email from the service:

My certificate proudly hangs in my office.

I have since unsubscribed from the Speed Dating Company as I received too many desperate emails, hungry for my “elite attendance” at another event. In one weekend the dating service sent the following emails:

59.99 Just for You!!
29.99 Last chance offer!!
For Elite Members only 19.99!!

FREE FOR ELITE MEMBERS ONE NIGHT ONLY.

Thus went my brief foray into the speed dating world. It’s not as scary a place as one might think. In my reasoning, people who prefer face-to-face interaction and are generally good with first impressions tend to be those who frequent Speed Dating.

We all know serial killers live on the Internet anyways…

~ Kendra Nicholson

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