Speed Dating, the official dinosaur of the dating age, is as awkward as you would imagine.
It’s basically in-person Tinder, but instead of being able to swipe right or left within three seconds, the time is set at five minutes.
And those five minutes are the first nervous, weird five minutes of every first date, but over and over and over again. Twelve times, if anyone’s counting.
But after doing a little research – this timed, magical chairs dating aid was drummed up in 1998 by an L.A. Rabbi – I signed up on behalf of our collective curiosity. It can now be officially confirmed that from the minute that scorecard hits your hands with the request to rate your dates from “Definitely Fancy A Go” to “Never In A Million Years,” it’s uncomfortable.
There was the guy who responded to most questions by saying, “Guess!”
The guy who took a look at what I was wearing and asked if I was a psychic for a living.
The guy who said he never left the house with less than 10 business cards on him.
The guy who, at 29, still lives at home because, “What else would my parents do with the spare room?”
The guy who yakked my ear off about an app and patronizingly apologized after I told him I was an Apple user.
Once the last bell rang at 10 p.m., with my three participating friends in tow, we quickly raced to debrief and dissect what the hell had just happened. The quick verdict was an enthusiastic and exasperated thumbs down, but there was also an unexpected side effect.
We left feeling bulletproof.
Not only had we owned the bravery to sit a significant distance out of our comfort zone, but we had just survived what most people hardly risk – the awkwardness. Once we had bore down the barrel of that much blatant social tension, instead of feeling defeated, we felt pretty invincible.
Speed Dating had pumped our tires full of confidence, tanked the fear of rejection, opened our eyes to all of the options we just weren’t seeing and reminded us that we all have to weather our fair share of awkwardness on this crazy ride called dating.
So was it worth it? Yes.
Would I do it again? No.
I want the next date I go on to be longer than five minutes.
Featured photograph by Korney Violin