Date like a roadrunner
by Cori Bowhay
We are students and we are busy.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not still looking for love in between coffee line-ups and classes. As a student, trying to find a date can be as tough as passing final exams. Luckily, there are a few ways that we students can still get the opportunity to meet some new people – and maybe even that special someone. Some people may try online dating, others may scope out the club. Then there are those who try speed dating.
Look, I know what you’re thinking, “speed dating looks ridiculous, and I would rather make fun of it than ever be caught at one of those things.” I am about to tell you why you are completely out of your
mind. First though, I think I should clarify just how speed dating works: groups of 24 participants, 12 people of each gender meet in a private, low- key setting and everyone gets a chance to meet all participants of the opposite sex in a series of seven-minute dates. Groups of participants are separated by age category, so don’t worry about ending up way out of your age group. In one night, you get to have 12 dates. Question: How else could you possibly pull off having 12 different dates in one evening? Answer: You’d have to be Superman.
I admit that when I arrived at the Ruberto Ostberg Gallery for the event I was slightly nervous and completely unsure what to expect. But as people started to arrive and I talked
with other women in the group, I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one with a few butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Just knowing that everyone was feeling the same way definitely helped to alleviate some of my nerves.
Catherine Saykaly-Stevens, the VP of event marketing for Calgary Speed Dating explained that “it’s really not as scary as it seems, people put too much pressure on themselves.” Saykaly-Stevens also said that by their first or second date people start to relax. While Saykaly-Stevens admits that not much research has been done on how university students use the service, but it’s clear how it could be beneficial. We all know how strapped for time we are, and we often don’t have hours to dedicate to finding a mate, so meeting 12 new people in just a few hours is a huge bonus for students. Calgary Speed Dating staff also explained to me that there’s a big difference between the students of their generation and of ours. Today, most students are working on top of taking classes, which doesn’t leave much time to go out and meet someone.
Speed dating can be far more efficient than other dating methods, according to Saykaly-Stevens’ partner– in business and love–Don Howden. Howden compared online dating to speed dating and said, “it’s harder to misrepresent oneself in a face to face situation.” Because of the anonymous aspect of dating online, you can be whoever you want to be, which may not be who you really are. And let’s face it, it’s not exactly easy to lie right to someone’s face. I’m sure you’re saying, “But in a face-to-face situation like speed dating I would feel way more intimidated than over the Internet. You’re nuts.” I am not nuts. It’s true that it’s really not as hard as one might think it would be.
By the time I was getting into my second date, I was totally relaxed and feeling great. And – here’s a shocker – I was actually having fun. While there’s certainly some potential for the dates to simply feel like having 12 job interviews in succession, it wasn’t like that at all. Calgary Speed Dating asks that all the participants provide a profile prior to the event, giving everyone something to talk about. I was actually surprised that there weren’t any awkward moments.