After only one date in six months, I thought I’d change things up a bit… I went on twenty dates in one night, and it certainly was a lot. Let me just come right out and say it. Online dating is a dumpster fire that no amount of water will ever be able to put out.
So when an ad for speed dating popped up in my Facebook feed, I paused. Past-me would have scrolled on by, but present-me was so broken down by modern dating hell that she thought “Why the hell not?” Surely it couldn’t get any worse than someone calling me a fat slut because I took too long to text back to someone’s oh-so-enticing invitation to “lick my ass while I masturbate, babe.”
I mean, when you compare it to delightful interactions such as that, speed dating has to be better right? Right?!
And it was. On the night in question. But afterwards? I’m pretty sure it crushed me more than any online dating stint.
Before the event, I was super excited. I’d get to meet a bunch eligible bachelors, have chats in person instead of via text, and maybe even feel that chemistry zing that’s missing when you’re dealing with a photo and words on a screen.
During the event, I’d have four minutes per date, which I thought seemed pretty quick, but then again it’s called speed dating, not reasonable-amount-of-time dating.
The night of a thousand dates
Right up until the event, I’d been super jumpy excited but when the night came, that turned to nerves. How would I seem cool in four minutes? How would I know if someone else was interested? Most importantly: What in the hell should I wear?
I went with jeans, heels and nice top to give a sort of casual but classy vibe. Last thing I wanted was to give off a high maintenance vibe. I literally had four minutes so impressions matter.
When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. The trendy bar was full of cute, fun looking singles. I even was immediately attracted to one of them! I grabbed a drink and then it was time to date.
Out of the 20 men I dated that night, there were only two that were “Hell no’s!” One of which, when he found out I was a writer, interrupted me abruptly to say “Okay, so how does a guy in his early 20’s find a girlfriend in under three months then?” I tried to kind of laugh it off and say, “Oh you know, these days the bar is so low that…” He didn’t let me finish.
My god this was the longest four minutes of my life.
But the rest of the dates? I was getting compliments left, right and centre (“You have the most memorable face in the room”… my gawd, I was practically fanning myself!) and many of the men seemed really upset when our four minutes were up. Several said variations of “We definitely have to continue this conversation,” and made motions to write my name down on their match cards.
Out of my 20 dates, I ticked yes on 9 people. Solid four hell yeses, and five guys with definite potential that I wanted to explore. I walked out of there feeling like my ego was at its highest in years and went home to sleep with a smile.
The speed dating fallout
My inbox refreshed: newsletter, social media update, bill (ugh)… That was it. No email from the speed dating company.
I went to work that day feeling anxious as hell, refreshing my email like a crazy person. By the middle of the day, when I still had no email, I decided to contact the company.
About an hour later, my phone pinged with a reply. I opened my inbox, and there it was. Out of nine men I got one match, who I was pretty certain I’d not actually picked. Maybe the organizers felt sorry for me and had given me a pity pick?
My mind was working overtime with all the dates from last night.
And all of a sudden, all the feelings washed over me. The men I met that night at speed dating seemed so lovely, and all told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I felt played. I felt lied to. And I felt like I just got dumped nine goddamn times. Worst of all I was questioning if something was wrong with me at a level I hadn’t done in years. I did end up texting my match and after a few back and forward messages, he ghosted me on the last message.
So, would I go back to speed dating?
You may think I am utterly crazy, but I’d say yes to going back. Except this time, I would go in with the same level of cautiousness and realistic expectations that I approach online dating.
I think if I’d have seen it more as a fun night out that might end up with a date or two I’d have not felt so crushed the following day. I needed to have realistic expectations that essentially speed dating is the same as just going to a bar and chatting to people; not everyone you have a good conversation with is going to give you their number.
Next time I would go in knowing my value, too.
What’s your worst speed dating or online dating experience?
Originally written by Elizabeth Best on SHESAID
Featured image via Hinge