When I first moved to New York and headed out on the singles scene, I learned a few interesting things. I met WAY more people in real life then in other cities – guys here are so much more likely to come over, say hi, and ask for your number. However, the vast majority of those guys turned out to not be a good match and rarely made it past date 2 or 3. So I turned to my good friend online dating which I’d used successfully in Denver. My favorite being eHarmony. Why? Well my ‘everything must be efficient’ brain loved the fact they asked so many questions the algorithms often churned out my most compatible matches. Then it was just up to whether or not I felt chemistry with them. Wa-la!
Though not so much in New York… I found so few people were on eHarmony. In real life, everyone I met was using the quick-and-dirty apps, as I call them, the Tinder, Hinge, Bumble. In other words, the apps that required only a couple pictures and little to no information about the person. For my personality, I found that to be horribly inefficient. Not only did you not know if you’d have any compatibility, you still had to do the date to figure out chemistry. I did not like it at all and had zero success – partly because I barely tried and partly because I had little tolerance for the standard guy greeting of “yo” or “hi” and that’s it. Um, really? It’s like they were only willing to initiative with little to no effort and then put the burden on the girl’s shoulders to create the conversation. No me gusto. Whatever happened to chivalry and courtship? There were some guys that would step up and make the effort, but it was few and far between. Needless to say, it wasn’t the forum for me.
While I was waiting for a reincarnation of the online dating industry (which I recognize first takes the market asking for something different… waiting on that first), I decided to give speed dating a try. One of my friends had been dating a guy for the prior year she met on it and I thought what the heck. So after vacillating on my ever present ‘risk to reward’ benefit calculations, I decided it could be an optimal way to meet people. It’s like the inverse of what I loved about eHarmony and since that was a no-go in NY, this might be the answer. Worth a try at least! Though there’s zero information up front, but you can see if there’s sparks/chemistry immediately before investing in anything else.
There I was…off to my first speed dating event. I chose a ‘marathon’ session which means there’s 20-30 women meeting 20-30 men. How much more efficient can one get! I will admit I was nervous…being I value maximization and optimization over everything, I knew I’d get 3-4 minutes with each guy so tried to devise 2-3 questions that would tell me the most about the person. I wish I could remember them. My favorite is ‘babies on an airplane’. I’ve found the people I’m compatible with say things like ‘um, and?’ or ‘so’. The people I’m not compatible with say things like ‘why do people even bring babies on planes’ or ‘omg I hope it doesn’t sit by me’. First of all, who calls a baby an it! In any case, I tried to come up with questions that tell me lots about a person’s personality by just one simple question. Though once I got there, I learned, no one asks set questions. Ha! It’s like a free flowing symbiosis of conversation, organic, natural, and without regard to person or place. As a woman, I sat still, but the conversation that started with one guy would finish with the next, as if we were all in one big circular dialogue, it was fun, and exciting, and I couldn’t stop smiling and had such a great time.
What I never would have imagined though, is to be prepared for the marathon of dates that take place after. I of course was travelling for work so finding time to date was not an easy feat – hence one of the many reasons I was still singe! So after selecting 10 eligible guys to consider, and all 10 saying yes to me, with only weekends to book dates, it quickly became a scheduling nightmare. So lesson here is make sure you have a somewhat flexible calendar before doing this.
So what were the guys like? I have no idea what the girls were like – sorry fellows. The guys were way better than expected. They were normal (which admittedly I was nervous about and even had one of my friends come at the end in case someone tried to follow me home – which they didn’t LOL). They were from normal professions – lawyers, doctors, software engineers, sales representatives, teachers, etc. It was surprisingly a very solid batch of guys. My analytical mind was shocked – how did I not discover this earlier – a way to meet 30 normal possible candidates who are single all at once, assess chemistry, and lock in first dates all within a few hours. It was perfect!
I’m sure you’re wondering… how did my 10 turn out. Well the 10 turned into only 8 actually emailing and the 8 turned into only 6 that could figure out how to make a date. The 6 turned into 4 second dates which all lasted to 3-4 dates each, until there was 1. That one I ended up dating for a year and was one of my two ‘serious’ relationships in New York. Fascinating, huh! We didn’t end up for life, he was an awesome guy, just not the match. We had one of those ‘good breakups’ I talked about and then we parted ways.
One of the things New York taught me about dating was if you want to find a good compatible match, you’ve got to try lots of different avenues. Only speed dating or only online or only in person limits your exposure. If you were curious, my second serious relationship I met through a meet up group, organic and in person. I feel the more you’re out there, the more you’re doing stuff that fits your personality, the higher the chance of meeting someone. I will say, I do think speed dating attracts more ‘efficiency’ minded people so there were lots of us techies there. Just as I think if you’re a free spirited person the Tinder’s of the world might be your magic potion. I think it’s all about finding what you like and what attracts the people you like – sprinkled in with lots of other mediums – then you’re golden!