On Tap, February 01, 2010

Speeeeed Dating-Try It, You Might Like It A He Said, She Said Tale by Derrick Brazier and Kathy Wilmot

Pros in the City (www.prosinthecity.com) has a great record of matches: over 90 percent of people who attend their speed dating events “match” with at least one person. What’s more intriguing is that over 75 percent of people who attended report going on a “real” date with someone they met at their event. (If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!) Pros in the City hosts more than 200 speed dating events a year in DC alone, drawing a solid turnout to each one. If you want your options narrowed down a bit, Pros in the City also offers events based on age, religion, interests and race.

Here’s what our singles had to say about their night out.

Kathy, 38

Dating in DC; it’s never easy. I’ve been living here for five years and have found that this town is a bit more challenging than other towns. Why? Because of two simple obstacles, Traffic/commuting and high-pressure, long-hour jobs. So what should you do in this fast-paced lifestyle to meet someone? You could join a club, fitness center, go out to a bar, rely on your friends to introduce you to someone new, try online dating, shell out tons of money to those “together” match making sites or you can do what my co-worker and I did, the four-minute speed dating sponsored by Pros in the City.

Both of us are in our late 30s, and on the way to the coffee shop where the event was taking place we found ourselves wondering just what we had gotten ourselves into. I must admit, I had a ton of emotions and thoughts that ran through my head leading up to the event. First I was thinking, “this will be fun,” and telling myself, “you never know, maybe I’ll find a good catch.” Then panic came over me; “what am I doing? What kind of people go to these things? Are we all this desperate? Am I desperate?”

With these thoughts going through my head as I walked in the door, I took a deep breath, walked in and was given a name tag with a number and a sheet of paper to take notes. I quickly grabbed a table and my co-worker joined me. We looked around in the small but charming coffee shop and saw lots of numbers matching ours. “Good lord,” I thought, “there’s going to be over 40 people here and there isn’t much room.”

Once the event started, I said to myself, “I’m here, so let’s have some fun” —and to my surprise, I did! With the men rotating tables every four minutes, I got to meet 20 very interesting guys in a short amount of time. There’s no pressure to say, “Oh I’m sorry, I just don’t feel a connection.” An email will be sent out the next day with a link and password so you can check off the people you were interested in and the computer will forward your information to those you selected.

By the end of the night everyone was standing around talking and wouldn’t you know it, there were old friends who ran into each other, fellow alumni from a college in Texas who reconnected…a small world indeed.

Overall, I would say it’s worth the money. Go with a friend, have some fun, meet some new friends and maybe even get a date out of it. Just try and keep an open mind; don’t be looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, just go into it thinking you can meet some cool people and you’ll have a blast.

Derrick, 39

Going out to meet other singles can be a sketchy deal. Getting the opportunity to meet a group of singles in a low pressure and fun environment is a rare thing in such a fast-paced city, but that’s exactly what the event I participated in through Pros in The City promised via a series of four-minute encounters.

The set-up is perfect; a lot can happen in four minutes. It’s a chance to meet a group of singles and learn enough to decide whether you want to take the next step to spend more time together. The coffeehouse where the event was held had many advantages over most locations in which I normally meet people: through work or friends, at a restaurant or a bar, or even at the grocery store. In most of those situations I’m not sure who is single and who is not, and in some instances it would be inappropriate to inquire.

Pros in The City holds their events in settings which are quiet enough for people to talk comfortably. Most importantly, each person involved is there to meet other singles. In our hectic world, I found that speed-dating, with its time-efficient and well-structured interaction, basically eliminates the need to be nervous concerning how or with whom to start a conversation. The ‘matching’ does not take place at the event, therefore people are not pressed to select or reject each other in person, while the four-minute time limit guarantees that you are not sitting across from a person with whom you are not interested in for a long period of time. Having only four minutes to decide whether we are well-suited with someone demanded that there was no time to waste on empty talk, so we all spoke about our careers, hobbies, and lifestyles.

During the course of the event, I came to two conclusions: First, almost anyone can be interesting if you simply take the time to listen and speak with him/her; and second, you can only scratch the very surface in such a short period of time. Overall, I had a really nice time at my first speed-dating event and highly suggest checking it out for yourself. You may not meet your perfect match…or you could receive an e-mail from your future partner for life the next morning!