Speed dating: it’s like a job interview meets a party game with a timer. You get four minutes to chat up your date, tell them your life story, get to know where they came from, what they do, and why they’re here. Then you check yes or no on a piece of paper and move on to the next guy. It’s courting for the 21st century.
Last night, when I walked into the upstairs lounge at Senorita’s, where New Jersey Young Professionals was holding the speed-dating event, I saw about eight women and roughly three men. My competition wasn’t too stiff. As for the men, two were datable and the other one was, well, let’s call him Creepy McCreepster. Eventually we got some more dudes, some good, some bad, some ugly.
When the interviews began I didn’t know what to expect. I could only hope for a few good men to sweep me off my feet, even though we women were sitting the whole time as the men moved from table to table.
For some of these men I didn’t need four minutes to know it was a no. Mr. Ivy League was charming, tall, dark and handsome but not only was he Ivy League, he was also out of mine. Mr. Bald-But-I-Shave-My-Head-to-Look-Cool was drop-dead handsome. But I’m always suspicious of good looking men; they never have to try. I knew the chances of actually finding a perfect match was slim to none but I kept hoping that the next might be promising.
Mr. All American Boy was good looking and fit, but regrettably honest. In one instant, he dismissed my great passion, the theater, as something he preferred to sleep through. The four minutes went on forever. But then there was the adorable Mr. Nice Jewish Guy, who couldn’t stop smiling. Four minutes didn’t give me enough time to even get started.
After the dating was over, most of us headed to the bar where I got the inside scoop from Jenna Clausen, who was running the event and who met her current boyfriend speed dating. “It’s not random like when you go to a bar and try to meet someone,” she said. “You get to meet like-minded people.” Another young woman who has been frequenting these events told me, “It’s fun even if you don’t meet someone.” A lot of the veterans tell stories about how they know someone who met their best friend rather than a boyfriend through a speed-dating event.
As for me, well I’ll get my results — the yeses, that is — in 24 hours. Which could either be exhilarating or like a slow-motion rejection. But at least I got practice talking as fast as I can and making the most of awkward silences.
NJYP charges $20 at the door for the event, and there’s a two-drink minimum.