Ok, I had first heard of the term speed dating from my Swingset hosts’ description of activities at Desire. I suppose the term is somewhat self-explanatory, but for those of us who haven’t tried it, doesn’t it seems a little…weird?
I have been participating actively in a poly roundtable discussion in my nearest city. I have reached out to several poly people on OK Cupid, and I have even dated again, after a very long hiatus. I have also joined several meetups, where I discovered a poly speed dating event at a larger metropolitan area not nearly as close as my main city. One of my new online poly friends was going to be there, so there would be someone there that I sort of knew, or at least written to via chat and email. Let’s see where this takes us.
I suppose one thing an event in a more distant location gives me is a bit less pressure. When I am not on my home turf and I make a mistake, the worst thing that could happen would be both sides walk away from each other (not as friends) which is really no worse off than when we started…I suppose. My unnatural paranoia about my behavior reflecting poorly upon me around my local swingers can sometimes hamstring my communication or behavior. I would rather not do anything than do something that might offend. As a single male, I sometimes tread very lightly, maybe more so than might be necessary… I know…I am working on it.
I signed up online, and my poly friend told me that it was all sold out for men. Oh crap. I had rsvp’d the meetup, but not the actual site that was hosting. I looked at the criteria, and to my relief, only men looking to date only women were full. For the first time ever, bisexuality acts to my benefit! The signup page was quite detailed… want to date women (check)…want to date men (check)… want to date trans men (err…sure, ok)…want to date trans women (well…I have done that too, ok)… want to date gender queer (Hmmmmm)…I will confess, even with all that I have experienced, and that list is beginning to get interesting, I hadn’t considered all of the preferences on the form. One of the best lines I read was “If you are monogamous, then some of the questions on this form may seem strange to you.”
I told my Love about that, and she asked me, “Do you have any idea how strange that sounds to most people?” After a long pause I told her, “Nope…not anymore.”
Following a rather long trip in both car and train, I barely made it in time.
For those who have not experienced this before, let me tell you how this one worked.
The math whiz bangs have the computer arrange the dates (by algorithms, mind numbing bistro mathematics and a warlock). You get 6 minutes (I presumed about 3 minutes each, but reality works a little differently) to get to know the other person. After you are done, you check either “Yes, I would like to talk to them again,” or “No, thank you for playing…Link tell them what they’ve won…” (It would appear I need a Game Show voice font along with my ironic font.) If both parties answer yes, they will release the email addresses on the following day. If anyone says no, you walk away….simple enough. There would be a few breaks in between but when you are on, it is almost nonstop talking and listening.
I never realized how short 6 minutes is. Now I talk fast (I am from New England after all) and I love the sound of my own voice, but I made some efforts letting the other person get a few words in edgewise. I also talk more when I am nervous. I need to physically breathe and consciously slow down sometimes. More than once the timer went off and I only wanted a few more minutes. I started taking notes during my first break, and the first line read “I picked a hell of a day to stop drinking…”
Nonverbal communication appeared at the time to be the most important; I suppose that’s true whether you are speed dating or slow lane dating (or breakdown lane dating, but that’s another article). But it seemed so important at the time, I wrote 2 whole paragraphs of notes about it. I bounced from girl to guy to trans-person to girl again, telling a bit about my story, who I am and some of what I do; swimming semi-successfully, better than I have ever before in my life. I met some wonderful people and even received a few emails the next day, with the possibility of future dates. Granted it is a bit far, ok more than a bit, but I did warn them I traveled quite a way.
At the end of the night there was a question on what I wanted improved. My answer: Please bring this to my home city!!!
In the end, if you get the chance to try this…go for it! There is literally nothing to lose except an evening out, and if nothing else you will meet some very interesting people you might not every get the chance to meet otherwise.