Gasp! Meeting Face-to-Face: A Guide to Speed Dating in the City

Sourced from Dashing Date's Facebook Page

Sourced from Dashing Date’s Facebook Page

Confession: my boyfriend and I met on Tinder. I wish I could regale you with an invented story of how we first bumped into each other on the seawall on a drizzly day. He offered me shelter under his umbrella. I agreed, suddenly struck with the certain knowledge that he was The One. But the truth is that we both downloaded apps on our phones, swiped right on each other’s pics, and lo and a behold, received an “It’s a Match!” notification. It’s not exactly material for a Harlequin romance.

Ah yes, the virtual nature of 21st century dating. Fortunately, for those of you who still believe in the merits of face-to-face interaction (how quaint), there is another option out there.

Speed dating, which was invented in the late 1990s, is an in-person version of Tinder. There are a variety of companies (see below) in Vancouver that offer the service but the premise is basically the same: you show up at a given venue and have a series of brief “dates” (sometimes only a few minutes long) with other singles. Based on your impressions, you check off yea or nay on a score sheet, and wait to hear back from the company about matches.

Sourced from Rendezvous Club website

Sourced from Rendezvous Club website

I’ve done speed dating a few times and, overall, came out of the process with some dates and revelations.

Flirting actually does take practice. Yes, there are people who are natural flirts and ooze effortless charm, but for many others, flirting is a daunting endeavor. My own attempts at wooing often fall somewhere in-between clueless and ridiculously absurd. I used to think that I was a hopeless case until I realized that, like any skill, the more you flirt, the better you get at it. Speed dating is a great option for getting out there, chatting with new people who are as nervous as you are (believe me), and building your confidence. And you just might meet your true love.

Sourced from Rendezvous Club website

Sourced from Rendezvous Club website

Your gut knows something. A friend of mine advocates making a list of the things you’re looking for in a potential mate, and I’m all for being clear about what you want. Nonetheless, while someone can seem logically perfect (he’s over 6’ tall, and can quote Shakespeare), in reality, the romantic chemistry may not be there. In addition to your list, decide how you want to feel around someone (eg energized), and check “yes”at speed dating if you sense potential in the person in front of you. My boyfriend watches physics YouTube videos for fun (I kid you not), and I watch Jane Austen movies when I’m sad. But when we met, we immediately felt at ease with one another.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Common - David Goehring

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – David Goehring

Rejection doesn’t have to sting. I’ll admit to falling into self-pity (cue the unattractive sobbing) when someone wasn’t dazzled by me at speed dating, or interested in a second date. I began to understand, though, that not everyone would go wild for someone who knits and is a sucker for rom-coms (I love the running scenes), but that was more than ok with me. Someone more suited to me would.

Be proactive. Most of all, I discovered that I wasn’t going to magically meet someone by staying at home with my pet hedgehog. Cupid needs help – and sometimes in the form of speed dating companies in the city.

1. Rendezvous Club: This local company has been around since 2004, and regularly hosts speed dating sessions for a variety of age ranges. I’ve attended their events, and had success with matches.
Upcoming Events:
November 30, 7:30pm (Men and Women Aged 30-45)
December 14, 7:30pm (Men and Women Aged 25-35)

2. Dashing Date: Over the phone, founder/owner Kavita Ajwani explains that her company screens all members, aiming for an attractive, professional clientele. Events are often given a playful theme, like a recent event centred on astrology signs.
Upcoming Event:
December 8, 7:30pm (Women Aged 28-40, Men Aged 30-42)

3. Single and Eligible: This company offers gay and lesbian speed dating, as well as events for straight singles. They also host themed events (eg dog lovers, healthy living, curvy women) on occasion. See their website or Facebook page for news on upcoming events.

4. Sit down and get to know up to 25 new people (approximately 3 minutes each). In the event you don’t get a match, you can attend another session for free.
Upcoming Events:
November 26, 7pm (Men and Women Aged 25-35)
December 10, 7pm (Men Aged 35-45, Women Aged 30-40)

And, with 2015 coming to an end, now might be the ideal time to try a round of speed dating, and take a break from Tinder swiping.

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