I was wearing an oversized NASA sweatshirt with the hoodie tightened over my face so the only thing you could see were my glasses, my hand raised high. “I‘ll do it,” I said “I’ll go speed dating!” during the Campus Times’ weekly budget meeting. 

It was Valentine’s Day, and for all of my single brothers and sisters — although it is a capitalist holiday exploiting love — it still hurts if we’re alone on V-day. So instead of doing nothing, I did something, and got to look fabulous while doing it. 

The UR speed dating event took place in the basement of the Staybridge right across from campus, and was run by the Brooks Crossing and Riverview community assistant and residential staff. Over 50 people signed up to attend. 

To rotate, one person stayed at a table and others were switched out by event organizers. Conversations were about 10 to 15 minutes long. You can’t stay at the same table for the whole night. There were conversation starters to help out, but how the conversation went was up to you. 

There were hits and only one true miss.

Three of my matches of the night. They all gave their consent to appear in the Campus Times.

My night started off with cranberry juice and a conversation that led to politics. I’d met this person once before when getting coffee with Hillel, so it was nice to start with a familiar face. 

The rest of the night was a blur of faces and there were only one or two memorable conversations: one good and one bad. One had the smoothest execution I have ever seen: 

Melanie: “Oh, I honestly cannot remember what my favorite movie is. But one of my favorite shows is ‘Black Mirror.’”

Match: “‘Black Mirror,’ I love ‘Black Mirror’ as well!” 

(We talk about “Black Mirror”for a bit.)

Match: “You know, why don’t we get together to watch ‘Black Mirror’ together sometime?” 

This was one of my favorite chats of the night. 

The bad conversation was straight out of a Hallmark movie. It ended with about four minutes of silence and crunching on celery. I don’t know if it would have been a true speed dating experience if I did not have this moment, though.

My night ended with someone I knew from Salseros, and this was the best conversation of the night. Maybe it was the familiarity which washed out the awkwardness of speed dating. Our chat transitioned from the tables, to the coat rack outside, all the way to the lobby of Brooks Crossing, and then back to the doors of Genesee Hall. 

When I walked into my building, a feeling of content washed over me, because instead of doing nothing on a holiday that wages war against the lonely, I got to spend the night meeting new people, and even having a few laughs. Who knows, maybe some of those interactions may lead to more. 

College speed dating is as awkward as it sounds. No one knows if they are doing it right, but everyone is going through the same experience — together. 

Editor’s Note (2/19/20): A sentence regarding the writer’s return to Genesee Hall was changed for clarity. 

Tagged: Valentine's Day

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