Phasers and Fros

Dating at the Speed of Light: A Marvel Concept

A Guest Post By Sistah Geek

I have plenty of stories to share about my escapades into the Realm of Speed Dating. I’ve lived to tell these tales so, sit back, relax, take a few aspirin and listen as I share “Dating at the Speed of Light: A Marvel Concept.”
Since you can pretty much use Google to look up anything you wish, there won’t be a history of the origins of speed dating listed in this article. This is more a showcase of my experiences, my reactions, and what I took away from the encounters. I am definitely not touting myself as an expert and this is not a dating-how-to guide. It’s just plain old unadulterated fun with bits of “No HE didn’t” moments thrown in for good measure.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Preparing to Play: Once you arrive at the event location, you are given a badge that may either have your first name on it or a number. This badge will be your specific identifier for each person you “date.”
The Basics: Depending on the organizer’s budget, you’ll either get a fancy pre-printed score card or a small blank sheet of haphazardly ripped computer paper used to keep track of the people you speak to during your “dates.” These are timed “dates” where you’ll have three to six minutes to see if you make a connection. Unless you have somehow managed to retain an eidetic memory since childhood, do not expect to recall everything about everyone you encounter.
How it Works: The organizers will use some sort of signal (i.e. gong, symbol, chimes, or shouting) to indicate the end of a “date.” Once this signal is given, the men move on to the next woman in line (oh, yes, I meant to write it just like that) and everyone repeats the process. During this shifting time (usually less than 30 seconds) you’ll have the opportunity to use the score card to rate your “date.” The key here is to be brief but concise to help you remember what was said. Keeping it to “Yes/No” and maybe one or two interesting tidbits is far better than writing a dissertation on the reason why you wouldn’t go out with him if he were the last man to walk the planet even if your biological clock was a ticking bomb. You won’t have the time!
And the Winner Is: At the end you tally up your score card and see if your “Yes, I’d like to see him again” matches with his, “Yes, I’d like to see her again.” If so, a connection is born and you take it from there (without the organizers). If there is no connection, then you come away with an experience for the ages! Plus, how else will you get that many dates in one evening and not go to jail?
My Story: I became intrigued with the concept of speed dating when I relocated back to the US after living in Japan and NOT HAVING ANY dating prospects while there (living in a small rural town up in the mountains kind of limits a foreign girl’s choices). After watching “Hitch” and “The 40-year-old Virgin,” I talked a friend into signing up for a local event sponsored by Cupid.com. I had no idea what to expect, but luckily the organizers were magnificent and put together a fun-filled event. Although no love connections were made, I still had a wonderful time and conversed with some fascinating men.
From that moment on, I was a little hooked and started attending events throughout the area with different single friends as a way to spice up a Friday evening and get out of the non-dating blahs. It got to a point where I was attending one event a month and at one point I attended a Lock-n-Key party at one of the local restaurants. This party consisted of the women being given pad locks to carry while the men were given keys. The purpose was for each man to walk around the room and find the lock that his key would open. In the process of making this discovery, he’d strike up conversations along the way while trying his key in many different locks. Okay, just reading this back makes it sound so much worse than it was! No wonder I never attended another such party!
My interest in speed dating started to wane when event after event I was typically the only POC in attendance or if there were other POC women there, I was the only one with the chocolate-hued skin. Although the events did not categorize by ethnicity, and I was an equal opportunity dater, it seemed that most of the men (even the occasional Brotha) were often surprised to see me there and did not seem too keen on dating a Sistah. Was their hesitance due to my Angela Davis afro and my Soul Sistah earrings? Hmmmmm. I refuse to believe it actually had anything else to do with ME!
A few years passed before I attended another speed dating event. It happened when I purchased tickets for a comic book convention and there was a special event for speed dating. Oh! My radar went off on that. What better way to meet like-minded people than to speed date at a convention while wearing a costume? I was in! Especially since all the male slots were already full for each session for all three days of the CON! (Uh oh, shoulda listened to that red flag!)
Here are my most memorable experiences:
The Good: Choco-latte. The world was moving in slow motion as I watched this guy with a killer swagger, ripped muscles beckoning, bald head glistening, and a smile to die for walk the three feet to where I was seated. He was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S and I was secretly squealing inside (odd, since I never thought I was much of a squealer). When he sat down, all I could think was that he was a nerd/geek and I was expecting the cure for cancer to fall from his lips. Instead he just said, “Hi” and asked me what video games I played. I hesitated because he sounded so familiar to me… his voice…I’d heard it before. I responded that I didn’t play any video games at the moment, but wanted to learn. As I listened to him talk, I kept trying to figure out why he sounded so familiar…somewhere in my memory banks…yes…I got it now…Steve Urkel! This revelation snapped me out of my day dream and I began to focus more clearly on what he was saying. Other than asking me about the video game I played, he never asked me another question but proceeded to tell me about all the games he played, how many conventions he went to, and how many comic books he read. I did manage to ask if he did anything else, but he gave me a blank stare as though to say, “What else is there?” WHAT???! After that, all I did was stare at his arms and wonder, “Do you do the pushups in your basement?” Bad me! But so much potential! It was heartbreaking when those three minutes were up!
The Bad: No Love for the ‘Fro. There was the guy who wanted to know why I was wearing an Afro. Initially I thought he was genuinely interested in my character, but when I explained about her, he then chastised me for wearing an Afro in “these days and times.” He went on to smugly tell me that the Afro was outdated and my character should be updated in the comics. I sat there in shock for a minute before telling him, “I wear an Afro in my daily life and I don’t need to be updated.” Just as I was about to read him more of the riot act, the signal was given for our next “date.” Talk about Saved By the Bell!
The Ugly: Time for Adventure. There was the guy who dressed as Finn from Adventure Time. It was all good because the majority of us were dressed in some sort of costume. What was NOT good was that this guy decided to remain in character as Finn. Mind you, I didn’t know much about the show so all I saw was a grown man with what looked like white underoos on his head, some sort of knapsack on his back, wearing skin tight shorts, and carrying something that looked like a paper sword. My mind was in overdrive trying to put this all together, but when he stood up on the chair, thrust the sword into the air, and started chanting in a child-like voice, I almost lost it. I was dressed as a Gao’uld from Stargate. Shoulda taken my symbiote out and smacked him with it!
Synopsis: Don’t be afraid to try speed dating whether at a convention or an event at your neighborhood restaurant. It is a great way to meet people and although I haven’t found my “one” I would definitely be up for trying again!

If you do venture out and try speed dating, remember to bring these three items with you to the event:

  1. Sense of Humor
  2. Sense of Adventure
  3. Sense of You (know your 30second ad)

Sistah Geek is an avid world traveler, lifelong storyteller, sci-fi/fantasy/horror devotee, sporadic runner, budding cosplayer, comic book collector, gamer-in-training, and a self-proclaimed Cool Blerd with geek tendencies. Her mission in life is to show little girls of all hues how to embrace their talents, accept their uniqueness, and follow their dreams. She spends her free time volunteering, trying new recipes, writing letters (with pen and paper, people), working out, and staying one step ahead of her two Dobermans. Twitter:  @S_Hero4Hire

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