Ever tried speed dating? I have

Unless you're joining a speed dating activity populated by Forbes' most eligible bachelors, chances are, you won't find Mr Perfect

SINGLE AND EXPLORING. Be open minded, without expectations, and out to have fun.

MANILA, Philippines – It was February of 2009 when I went to a party thrown by my friend’s organization. It was the kind with a free-flowing bar (read: unlimited shots until midnight) and some silly theme.

We arrived a little past 10 where I immediately made a beeline for the bar. The crowd was a bunch of college kids who were in it for the cheap, sponsored booze. Unlimited shots for 300 bucks? Sold.

When I passed by the registration table, the usher asked me if I wanted to sign up for the speed dating game. By then I was already a little inebriated and terribly single so I thought it would be fun. This went down on my list of “Stupid things I agreed to when I was drunk.” I shrugged my shoulders and signed up.

When I returned from the bathroom, I was immediately accosted by a surprisingly strong petite girl in a glittery skirt and led to a table where they found (coerced? threatened?) 4 other girls and 5 boys to join in the game. We were assigned numbers and given a slip of paper. 

The rules were simple: The girls would sit down on the table with their assigned partner and would be given 5 minutes to chat and get to know each other. After the 5 minutes were up, you were supposed to jot down their number on your paper if you were interested.

There was no limit to the numbers you could write down. You could pick all of them if you wanted to. They would shuffle up the guys so that you get to talk to all of them.

At the end of the game, they match up your pieces of paper and give you your “matches” — guys on your list who put you in theirs too.

Guy notes

Now, for the sake of transparency, I would have to disclose that at that point I was very tipsy, and I have an extremely short attention span. But I’m going to try my best to recount the events of that night.

Guy No. 1 wore a lot of hair gel and told me he was dragged into the party because his friend needed to sell the tickets. He signed up for the game because he was bored and that he was partial to the orange-flavored vodka shots instead of the strawberry ones.

Guy No. 2 asked me what I thought about Iraq after he found out I was in debate. I laughed and asked him if he was serious. He said something to this effect, “No, really. I’m really interested to learn about Pakistan and war stuffs.” War stuffs. Stuffs. I felt bile rise to my throat. At that point I stopped listening and let him go on and on instead.

Then came Guy No. 3 who came from a different school. I asked him how he ended up there and, like most of us it seems, he was dragged into the party as well. We didn’t talk much and we spent most of the time just looking at other couples and going, “You think they’re hitting it off?” Because, well, we weren’t.

Guy No. 4 was Guy No. 3’s friend, the one who dragged him there. He was also a member of the org and spent most of the time swatting away his buddies who volunteered inappropriate information about him ranging from his, uhm, shoe size, to his academic achievements (I never found out if he graduated summa cum laude). I remember excusing myself to go to the bar.

Guy No. 5 was drunk by then but he didn’t know it. He took one look at my shot glass and asked me where I got it and if I wanted to hit the bar after this thing was over. I said I’ll think about it.

Match or no match?

I turned in my slip of paper to the ushers and asked if I could choose to not put in a number. They said it would be fine but I thought I might as well since I was already there. I put in Guy No. 1 because he seemed pretty harmless. Forgettable but harmless.

I handed in my paper and went back to my friends. The organizers would approach you to give you your matches, if there were any. There weren’t. Was I disappointed? Not really. I didn’t really like anybody enough anyway. However, I did run into Guy No. 5 at the bar again and we spent a good 15 minutes laughing at ourselves for agreeing to play that game.

Will I try speed dating again (and this time when I’m 100% sober)? I might, just for kicks. Again, I won’t take speed dating too seriously. It’s a fun way to meet people, sure, but I think it’s best not to have any expectations.

If you’re thinking of going to one, my advice is pretty standard and applies not just to speed dating but to diving into the dating pool in general: be yourself, if they don’t like you enough to date you, who cares? You don’t want to date someone who doesn’t like you anyway, right?

Keep your expectations low. Unless you’re joining a speed dating activity populated by Forbes’ most eligible bachelors, chances are, you won’t find Mr Perfect.

Keep your non-negotiables (like not an ax murderer). But everything else you might want to set aside for now. Keep your mind open because you don’t want to write off “The One” just because you didn’t agree with his argyle sweater.

Don’t get too invested and never forget to have fun. The best part about being single is getting to try new things and meeting different people without worrying about a significant other.

If it turns out to be really bad, chalk it up to experience. At least you have a funny dating story to tell. – Rappler.com


*Editor’s Note: Janina, not her real name, is a 20-something, who was “terribly” single until recently (but that’s another story).