It's been almost two years since my last date. I had a bad experience and took an intentional break, but that is a whole other story. So a few weeks ago when I read a book that inspired me to end the break - I honestly had no clue where to start. Then - I saw this on Instagram...
Cruze Farm Dairy is an amazing local dairy that opened a pop-up ice cream shop this summer on Gay Street. (They also sell something called coffee milk which is the best.) They also dress their employees in the most precious red gingham outfits and are basically the cutest. Again, not the point. The point is that I immediately went to their website and filled out an application for the speed dating event. I mean, why not? And then I convinced three of my friends to sign up with me.
So we filled out applications, which were short and simple: name, age, personality type, ideal date and favorite ice cream flavor. We all applied within 12 hours of seeing this photo on Instagram and figured it would be a fun thing to do together! Even if the speed dating was a bust, we would have fun and get ice cream together, right? Right?!?!
We had to wait an agonizing WEEK before we found out whether or not we were accepted. According to their Instagram story, they just wanted to make sure that there were an even number of guys and girls so not everyone could come. They actually shut down registration for girls early, so I was excited to get an email inviting me to come speed dating! So I paid my $15 and had three whole days to get super nervous. Unfortunately, two of my friends DIDN'T get emails and my third friend decided not to come so I ended up going SOLO.
There were about a million things to be nervous about. I had never gone speed dating before and had no idea what to expect besides what I've seen in Hitch. I have a history of awkward encounters with men. The age range on the application was 18-35, so I was worried about mingling with recent high school grads. I worried about saying dumb things and being shut down because of my looks. I worried about the zit that showed up on my face literally an hour before the event. I almost panicked and backed out at the last minute.
But I sucked it up and left for the ice cream shop on a rainy Tuesday night. The shop was set up with cute little two-top tables with a list of questions on them. I signed in and got a name tag and a table assignment but still had about 15 minutes to kill before everything started. This is the moment I would have killed for a wingman! I stood in line for my ice cream and met a few of the people there for the event.
I'm not gonna lie... I was pleasantly surprised at how good-looking the guys were and started to get excited about meeting them all! I had expected to feel extremely nervous. I had expected to feel inferior to the other beautiful girls at the event. I had expected this event to be something I just survived... but it ended up being SO MUCH FUN!
The format was simple. Girls sat at their assigned table all night and guys rotated around every 5 minutes. There were 15 guys and 15 girls - the sheet of questions on the table was there if we got stuck. (Basically just like Hitch - my research paid off.) 12 of my 15 conversations went really well for the most part. One guy obviously didn't want to be there, one guy I literally couldn't hear what he said, and the last guy I spoke to was not a great conversationalist. The other conversations were good, even if I wasn't interested.
Here are my major take-aways from speed dating:
- This was THE BEST way to get back into dating after almost two years off. It felt more like an experiment than a date - I talked to 15 guys in one night and personally dealt with all the first date in a long time jitters.
- I talked with 15 single guys in one night - which I can honestly say that I've probably never done. They talked about the things they liked to do in Knoxville and where they hang out. This is valuable information that I did not have before!!!! I spend too much time in the suburbs with families and I now have verified that the young single guys spend their time closer to where I live than where I work!
- Getting outside of my comfort zone is 100% worth it. Right now, I'm doing whatever I can to be proactive in meeting and interacting with more single guys. In my head, this feels like it will always be hard to accomplish and completely miserable. In real life though, at least in this instance, it was a blast! I'm looking forward to trying more things outside of my comfort zone in the near future! (If you have any ideas for me, leave a comment or send me a message!)
I connected with a few of the guys that night but haven't had any follow-up... yet. Who knows what the future holds?