Thursday, February 21, 2008

Adventures in Speed Dating

Last night, my friend Liz and I went 8 Minute Dating at Clarke's. I'd never done anything like that before, so I didn't quite know what to expect and was feeling a bit nervous beforehand. However, Liz and I made the wise decision to grab a couple of drinks before the event, so when the time came, we were prepared. We arrived at Clarke's and the back room was set up with a bunch of tables with numbers on them. Upon checking in, everyone receives a dating schedule that tells patricipants when to go to which table, as well as a dating card, on which you can write the name, dating number, and notes about the people you meet ("nervous accountant"). Technically, you aren't supposed to exchange information with anyone that night (I guess this prevents people from feeling uncomfortable if someone creepy asks for their info), but you can log into the website later on and choose people for dating, friendship, or business contacts. If someone you choose also selected you, your email address will be forwarded to them and vice versa. At the end of eight minutes, a bell rings, and everyone moves on to their next table.

So, here's how it went down:

When we first walked in, it was pretty awkward, because there was no music playing (um, hello, get on that, 8 Minute Dating staff!) and the room was fairly well-lit, so everyone was just sort of milling around and looking at each other, like a Freshman Orientation mixer or a middle school dance. Once the evening got started, though, it was actually a lot of fun. I'm a fairly talkative person to begin with (I know. You're shocked.) so keeping up a conversation for 8 minutes wasn't difficult, especially given the variety of participants. I met two lawyers, an accountant, a musician, an MIT grad student, and architect, and a medical sales guy. One was from Colombia, one was from China, and the rest were Americans. Last night, the age range was from 22 to 32, so I was definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. Overall, no one seemed like a big jerk or a potential stalker, so that was good, and the whole thing was easy and laid-back. I would definitely recommed going with a friend, because there is some down-time at the start as well as a 30-minute break halfway through, so it helps to have someone to hang out with during those times. I would try it again, but probably sign up for a higher age bracket (25 to 35) next time.

After the speed dating, I met up for karaoke and sushi for a coworker's birthday at Maluken in Kenmore square. I was the first one to arrive, and I was hungry, so I sat at the sushi bar and asked the chef to make whatever he thought was the best. He gave me some sashimi and then made a spicy roll with avacado and a couple types of fish. I asked him for the name of the roll, and he answered something in Japanese. The waitress asked him to repeat it, and then she translated with a chuckle: "Chef says Sexy Maki." So, if I strike out in the 22 to 32 bracket, at least I know I have some potential with 60 year old sushi chefs.

P.S. Did you catch the lunar eclipse last night? My coworker Vibhu and I performed a karaoke duet of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in tribute.


KcM said...

I tried Speed Dating once, several years ago. It ended up being mortifying. At the time, I figured I was coming across decently well to people, having semi-interesting conversations, had nothing stuck in my teeth, etc. So, just as a feedback experiment, I went ahead and put down all 20 names at the end to see how many women I'd scored a "match" with. The answer? A big fat donut.

My Clintonian spin (and I'm sticking to it): Speed dates don't matter because I had only 4 minutes to make my case. I really need a full 5 or 6 before my better qualities shine through.

eileen said...

Aww, Kevin, their loss. :)

I put one guy down for dating and another one for friendship, and got a match with the friendship dude.

I'll attribute my lack of success to the fact that I was a good 5 years older than most of the guys I met. Either that, or they were intimidated by my excessive beauty and intelligence.

Frances said...

What an interesting experience. I never did try it because, frankly, I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to random social things like that. I always secretly wondered how they worked though.

Tina said...

I tried speed dating once but it was through KROQ (an idie rock radio station in Los Angeles). We all took 3 party buses to Big Bear (a 4 hour drive from our origin). Everyone was high, drunk, and someone got arrested before we even boarded the bus. Most of the guys there were 7th year students at ITT Tech or Devry Institute of Technology. It was a good experience.

eileen said...

Wow, Tina, that sounds very different from the one I did!