Raise your hand if you have sat through a first date you met from “fill-in-the-blank” dating app about 45 minutes longer than you wanted to?
Can you count the number of times you started talking with someone at a bar you were interested in, but it turned out he or she was not single?
Remember the night you attended that Jewish happy hour looking for a date but only talked to people looking for friends?
Most of us have been there.
You wished that first blind meeting would be shorter, but you are obligated to stay for at least one drink, or you spend a few hours chatting up the one person you find attractive in the room only to find out they’re not available.
We don’t always want to admit that sometimes the easiest thing to do is be in a room where we know everyone is single and looking.
That is why I have been hosting speed dating events for the Jewish community for the past 6 years.
I was skeptical of the speed dating format at first (which is why my events add other mingling elements) but I do think these types of events have lots of positives.
You don’t have to cite the lemon law
Conceived by Barney, the perpetual bachelor from the television show How I Met Your Mother, The Lemon Law is a rule introduced to avoid spending too long on a date that is going nowhere. The Lemon Law entitles either party on a date to call off the date within the first five minutes with no repercussions or hard feelings. With speed dating your total date lasts less time than your favorite Spotify song.
You can meet people you would not otherwise meet
The first time I went speed dating on my own was before the era of swiping right, and around the time online dating was at its peak. I tried to go in with an open mind, and figured if I didn’t meet anyone or get a match, at least I tried something new. I wound up matching with 3 men I had not come across before and went out with all of them, going on several dates with 2 out of the 3. None of them hdid online dating at the time, or attended a lot of Jewish events, so the chance of us meeting was practically zero. Although it didn’t work out romantically with them, one of these men I still count as my good friend today (sorry, he is taken ladies) and I helped introduce him to his current circle of guy friends.
I decided to try speed dating another time a few years later. This time, I didn’t feel a connection with any of the men. I noticed many of the women were sharing the same feelings at the end of the night so a group of us decided to go to dinner after the event. We had a great time discussing our evening and many of us kept in touch. I still consider this night a win for me.
IRL vs. swiping right
In the world of app and online dating, there is a good chance that someone does a) not look like their picture or is b) shorter or taller than they listed or c) more extroverted or introverted than their text conversations led you to believe. Meeting someone first IRL takes the guesswork out of the equation.
A preview date leads to a better real first date
A few years ago I threw myself into the mix of one of my group speed dating events since we needed more women. During the mingling portion of the evening I heard that one of the men was asking the women a much better question than the typical DC “what do you do?” Apparently he was going around having everyone describe their favorite board game and why they liked it. Of course, I eventually met this guy during a round of speed dating and we discussed my love of the game Balderdash. He asked for my number and I said yes. Why? Because I knew he would be a fun date, he stood out from the crowd and was creative during our “preview date.” My instincts were right; he didn’t suggest a typical drinks or coffee first date.
On our date, we had Sour Patch (him) and Reese’s Peanut-Butter Cup (me) infused beers for DC Beer Week with dinner and then attended a secret musical open-mic show. Where is board game guy today you ask? He moved away from DC a few years ago, but I still have him to thank for creating the app that allows everyone to choose their matches at our speed dating events.
Speed dating has some silver linings, right? Every year, before Single’s Awareness Day (AKA: Valentine’s Day), I host my speed dating event, Lox Meets Bagel. I gather around 100 Jewish young adults in a room and call on cupid to make some matches. Next Wednesday, February 7, I hope you will also be up for more IRL dates and meeting new people and join me for some “preview dates.”
And because I am confident you too will make some matches, for after the “preview date”:
Brightest Young Things first date guide
Thrillist’s 26 Winter Date Ideas that are not just drinks
Date Nights DC
About the Author: Stacy Miller is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you! She enjoys entertaining her large Jew crew at her home and is currently the Director of EntryPointDC, the 20s and 30s program of the Edlavitch DCJCC. She represents all things Northern Virginia as the Founder of NOVA Tribe Series and is a former GatherDCGirl of the Year Runner-Up. Most importantly, she wants you know she LOVES this community a-latke.