**This blog entry was submitted and written by a satisfied GaiGai attendee who wishes to remain anonymous**
Speed Dating: The Perspective of a Thirty-Year Single Dude
First let me begin by saying… I’m still single, but I’m pretty much on my way (I hope) to getting hitched. And this is pretty much my reflection (which I believe happens to a lot of us) of how a small step (or a few clicks can change your life). And by that I don’t mean a mail-ordered bride or porn… I mean speed dating… Yes it sounds lame… but you’d be surprised at the people you’d meet. They actually all have 1 nose, 2 eyes and don’t look like Shrek nor smell like your next-door neighbour who hasn’t found out an invention called the shower.
In fact, I’ve actually gone a couple of dates with someone I met at a speed-dating event just a couple of weeks ago (we’re not together yet. But we’ll see…).
Anyway, I digress…. So if you have about 5 minutes to spare…. Look through what I have to say and judge for yourself! All I have to say is: Speed Dating Changed My Life !
The Chance Encounter
So it was one of those days… As I stared blankly into my desktop and work, crunching numbers, preparing my next business presentation.
My Whatsapp just went off! Is someone going to be asking me out for dinner? I peered at my phone with excitement, and guess what I saw – “Son, coming home for dinner?” As much as I loved my mum, this really wasn’t what I was hoping for.
Yes. I’m probably one of those people you’d wonder if I were asexual. I’m better friends with my excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and proposals that I am with any living breathing female, although I’d recently named my new computer “Alice”. I’m thirty, relatively established in my career, VERY available but also EVEN MORE SINGLE.
Why? I just never got out very much. College was by far the last chance I had at meeting someone, but I blew it, because a good degree would get me further in life than any partner would – so says society.
The next thing that happened was less than what I hoped for (at least at first)…
This time I said to myself, I’m going to ignore anyone who isn’t asking me out. So I stole a glance at my phone. A familiar looking notification in a heart shape (Paktor’s notification) appeared.
OMG DID I GET A MATCH? – Much to my dismay, it wasn’t a match but a notification about a speed dating event that was coming up at Hort Park. GREAT! I thought to myself, even the app is telling me I’m a loser… (#$&#$^!)*!
Fast forward 2 hours, it was 8pm. Time to go home. As I took a cab home, I instinctively took out my phone again. Let’s see if anyone liked me… … nope no luck at all. I had a number of matches but for someone like me… it never went beyond the small talk and the chats… mainly because I was a wuss who didn’t dare ask anyone of them out.
Then it struck me! What if I didn’t even have to ask them out? Isn’t that the whole point about speed dating? You just meet people! Without having to ask them out in the first place! IDEA RIGHT??? So I fast hand fast leg, signed up, paid and got the details from GaiGai. I shan’t go into the boring details of the confirmation process because I pretty much forgot all the details except the fact that I was going to meet 12 DIFFERENT GIRLS!!!! WOOOHOOOOO !!
The Moment of Truth
3 days later, I was there, in my smartest looking suit– specially tailored when I was invited to a snazzy F1 suite last year as part of a client event. This was the second time I had it on, I was dressed to kill (or so I thought) but at the same time I was 20 minutes early, pacing up and down the toilet and breaking into perspiration because Singapore is just too damn humid and no one wears a friggin’ suit and paces up and down the toilet. – I was right! I was dressed to kill, to kill myself that is !
So then people starting entering Vineyard at Hortpark, as I watched, I didn’t want to be caught in an awkward conversation with the hosts of the speed dating session nor with the other dudes or ladies. I was in the zone, psyching myself up.
Without realizing it, it was 10 minutes past the time we were supposed to all be seated. I finally stepped in, pretending to be nonchalant. Upon entering, I was greeted by the host, Charlene, she smiled a lot, said a few things which I did not remember nor hear, the only thing I saw was the empty seat I was led to.
So I jumped on the chair and sat… looked ahead in front of me and WOW! I was shocked, she was gorgeous, and at this point I was thinking to myself… WAH I STRIKE 4D man! Not being able to believe my luck, I scanned the room quickly to look at the rest of the 11 ladies, I must say that I started to wonder why they were there, and then I looked at the guys – and suddenly all my preconceived notions about speed dating as a ‘loser’ activity disappeared into thin air.
Everybody in the room was regular, if not, good-looking people!
Back to reality! The session was starting. Charlene, the smiley host kicked off the session by laying out the rules of the night.
- 7 minutes for each interaction with the person sitting in front of you.
- Guy moves to his left – the cycle continues till you’ve met all 12 individuals
- And the end of the session – you can write down the top 3 names of the people you would most like to keep in contact with and if they got your names down as well. GaiGai would share your contacts with each other.
All of this accompanied by good food, drinks and a bowl of cue cards at the table if you run out of things to say (which will happen, trust me).
And so it begins.
Obviously I had some lines ready, but nonetheless, everything went out the window the moment the actual interaction started. The first lady, Marilyn (not her real name), was a doctor, pretty, but according to her, just too busy to meet anyone. I was pretty nervous at first and by pretty nervous, I meant I was a train wreck. I didn’t really know what to say or if a joke would be good to open up the conversation.
“Hi… I’m Eng Loon (that is not my real name)… I really wanted to start this off with a joke but I was afraid you wouldn’t think its funny”
She laughed! Lol! Not because she thought I was really cracking a joke but she thought it was ‘cute’ that I was being so honest and at the ridiculousness of wanting to introduce myself with a joke. Nonetheless her laughter really put me at eased – that really put things on track, so we continued our little chit-chat for the next couple of minutes. Somehow right when the bell went off for us to move seats, we were talking about the morgue – but that didn’t really matter, I had fun and I think so did she.
It was time for me to meet the rest.
Things went a lot smoother for the next 11 ladies, I was less nervous and I think so were they. Every encounter was different, but yet refreshing and fun! Of course, there would occasionally be the 2 second pauses but heck! It was the first time we’ve even met, 2 seconds is definitely excusable. So this went on through the night, and as each interaction went by, it become almost easier to open the conversation and I was really enjoying it.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. Before I knew it – it was the end of the night, there were quite a few nice ladies I had wanted to shortlist but you could only choose three. I guess that works, since it forces you to really think through your choices. Had they given me unlimited choices, I might have just listed everyone down (or at least 6 to 7 names).
So I listed the names of three ladies, submitted my form and left. But not without asking Marilyn for her number, since she was my top choice anyway. Surprisingly she gave me her number! In that instance I felt UNSTOPPABLE!
The Happy Disappointment
2 days later, I received a call from Charlene.
Charlene: “Hey you got a match!” (she sounded more excited than me)
Me: “Who? Marilyn isit???”
Charlene: “Why? You like her ah?”
Me: “No la (trying to pretend)… just say la… who?”
Charlene: “It isn’t Marilyn, but Cynthia.”
Well I was a bit disappointed that Marilyn didn’t reciprocate, but considering that Cynthia was indeed in my top three choices, I was actually REALLY EXCITED. (side note: thank god I didn’t message Marilyn in the two days).
Charlene gave me Cynthia’s number that led to texting, and a few dates actually!
All these happened just a couple of weeks ago, the couple of dates I’ve been on with Cynthia, were actually, believe it or not, the first dates I’ve had in 3 years. While it’s nothing too serious yet, and we’re pretty much still in the getting to know each other phase, BUT, I have to say, this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t discarded my stereotypes around speed dating and taken a leap of faith.
So… for the guys reading this… ARE YOU READY???
This post was originally published on Paktor’s blog.
GaiGai is Paktor’s new business arm that provides bespoke dating services and holds singles events regularly. GaiGai has been featured in numerous publications to date and has received positive feedback by many participants.