One guy had “two black belts, acted on TV for the History Channel, and trained in massage,” and another “can crack two eggs in one hand—no shells!The moment of truth was the sound of the bell, like the “ring for assistance” chime in hotel lobbies.When those eight minutes were up, the ding was either a welcome peal signaling the end of the longest eight minutes ever, or an abrupt end to a beautiful beginning.But frankly, I had no use for the Valentine-red baby doll T-shirt they sent me with “Single? I may have been too emotionally involved for the job, too eager to see love blossom.Every speed-dating event I hosted was like sending my kids off to the junior prom. To me, they were all princes and princesses arriving at the ball, but with name tags and cocktails. A Night of Latin Passion My first event, geared to the 30-something crowd, was at a hot Latin restaurant, known for its authentic dishes and outrageous salsa parties.I could tell which was more likely by how fast participants shot out of their seats.Sometimes, the couple didn’t even notice the gentle ding, to the impatient dismay of the man and woman awaiting their new seats.The responses not only reflected an amazing group of individuals, but proved the point that participants are not as odd or desperate as speed-dating critics or Hollywood directors might portray them.
The speed dating company had requested their stuff back when I informed them it “just wasn’t working out.” I layered colored folders labeled “Dating Cards,” “Seating Assignments,” and “Welcome Posters” upon each other, slid them lovingly into the black canvas briefcase branded “8minute Dating,” and sighed. Sure, it felt a bit petty to me that after all we’ve been through in the last eight months, that they’d make a stink over a stapler, some folders, and an electronic timer that malfunctioned from the get-go.I will grant them, however, the black canvas briefcase—that was pretty sweet.