New dating phenomenon

Beep Stories

The first time I heard about “speed dating,” I thought it was a bad byproduct of our fast-food, romance-obsessed culture. I mean, what’s next, drive-thru dating? “I’d like one tall, dark, and handsome Jesus-follower with a side of sensitivity to go.”
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this could be a great way to avoid all those long, drawn-out blind dates and never-ending e-mail interactions from Internet dating services that lead absolutely nowhere. Like most single women I know, as a never-married 32-year-old, I’ve often wondered where all the good single Christian men have gone. Hence the thought of being in a room with 25 bachelors, let alone getting to interact with them all one-on-one, seemed like an answer to my prayers. By sheer odds, at least one or two of them had to be a good guy, right?
For those of you unfamiliar with this new dating phenomenon, let me bring you up to speed: At a typical speed-dating event, a bunch of single women sit in a big circle around a circle of men. Everyone enjoys a one-on-one minidate with the person in front of them for three to eight minutes (depending on the host organization’s set-up). When the buzzer sounds, one circle rotates. After each encounter, participants mark on their scorecard whether they’d be interested in getting to know the other person better. Afterwards, the host organization alerts participants to mutual matches (meaning both people marked “yes” for each other).
Though I searched relentlessly for a Christian speed-dating event in my geographic area, I found none. Instead I settled for one sponsored by a secular organization, Hurry Date, just a stone’s throw from a megachurch in my area. Surely some nice Christian boys in the neighborhood would show up! After all, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a husband, but for the rare chance to mix and mingle with some new faces. If God had more up his sleeve, so be it.
I invited several single friends, knowing I’d chicken out if left to this adventure on my own. Three brave souls, Kristee, Kim, and Todd, accepted the challenge. And that’s how we found ourselves on a random Wednesday night standing in the doorway of a suburban Chicago restaurant called Fox and Hound, slapping on nametags sporting our first name and our assigned number for the evening, nervously awaiting “the hunt.”
On Your Mark, Get Set, Date!

In brief, here’s my speed-dating experience by the numbers:
When Jodi, our hostess for the evening, blew the whistle to start things off, I found myself face-to-face with “Chad,” a guy who spoke very fast and blinked a lot. He told me he was a lawyer, asked me not to hold that against him, then bleated out a laugh at his own little legal humor. At the end of our three minutes, I discreetly circled the “N” next to his assigned number.
My conversation with my next “date,” “Kurt,” about our common love of writing, was just getting good when Jodi blew the whistle again. Definite “yes” for Kurt. My time dragged on with “Nate,” a transplant from Texas who missed the wide open spaces of his home state. Being more of a city gal myself, I marked “no.”
The next three guys were engineers. There were three other engineers in attendance, too. The final one I met told me he’d heard there were many of “his kind” there that night, and then he joked about the not-so-social stereotype of those in his chosen profession. He was the only engineer who made me laugh. Consequently he was the only engineer for whom I marked “yes.”