Torres At First Sight: Tables are numbered one to 20 in black magic marker on white cards. I get my name tag and go to table seven, lucky, right under the heater. In summer, this is courtyard seating at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina. Now, in late February, the roof is black plastic and there's a chill. Some of the women have tiny plates of happy-hour snacks and are ordering margaritas.
On each table sit tall glasses of water, pots of salsa, and a basket of chips. I just brushed my teeth, rinsed with Scope, and put on two layers of lipstick. No way I'm going to eat, or drink alcohol either, even though I'm a little antsy. Early-bird males have been chatting with women at tables one through three. Just after 7pm, everyone arrives at once and a line forms in the hallway. There were no age categories in this first Santa Rosa edition of California Fast Dating, but most of the women appear to be in their mid 40s.
In my 50s, I seem to be at the upper end. Looks like there's more variation in the men: The noise level is rising, and a clean-shaven, strawberry-blond guy sits down across from me. Nate not his name tells me that he likes sports, hiking, and skiing.
When I tell him that I'm a performing poet, he says, "Wow, you're quite the creative type, aren't you? Our hostess has a piercing voice, necessary, I suppose, in her line of work.
The man across from me cringes when, after nine minutes, she yells out, "OK guys, move to the next table in sequence. Under the heading "Want to see again? When I turn in my match card at the end of the night, if I have said yes to someone who said yes to me, we're eligible to receive each other's number. This information will come via phone from the program's host within 36 hours.
We are discouraged from disclosing last names or contact information during the conversations. I used the generic descriptor "speed dating" to tell my friends about my plans for the evening, but SpeedDating is actually a copyrighted name, and just one of many services that offer similar experiences. The one I attended was organized by California Fast Dating. SpeedDating parties allow the participant to have seven one-on-one conversations of seven minutes each.
There are other options: There may be a niche left for a four-minute version, but HurryDate has them beat for brevity. This franchise allows the prospective daters to chat for only three minutes, a scheme that facilitates eyeball-to-eyeball meetings with 25 members of the opposite sex in one session. Even if 10 minutes seems too brief to get to know someone, that's not the point. In this time frame, you can still gather important information, such as ease of eye contact, nature of the smile, clashing or meshing of interests, and a decent guess at the neuroses.
After my fourth guy, I start to ask more adventurous questions like "How do you feel about black leather teddies? How many times can I say what I do without boring myself? Some quick-date events provide user-friendly tools: He gave up on Sonoma County after hosting a few sparsely attended singles events here, but he is finding a niche in San Francisco and the cities of the East and South Bay. His organization has become popular for its varied offerings, from intimate gender-balanced dinners at stylish restaurants to structured, thought-provoking group conversations with up to people.
In all of them, the structure gives you the ability to smoothly and politely disengage when you're ready, with no hurt feelings on either side. But when I asked my year-old, never-married musician friend about his online vs. It's fun to have all those desirable prospects but a drag to get so few replies.
But I've talked to people who say they've spent weeks or even months communicating by e-mail, and when they meet--no chemistry. Kiken chose to enter the North Bay market because franchise operations have considered Sonoma County too small to target, but there are "still plenty of interesting single people. My two hours of speed dating speeds by, for the most part. Tommy not his name , who hunches over our table and keeps jerking his head to reference the rest of the room. It was a "quantity encounter," as a singles guru described it in one of the books I've read on the subject.
Ultimately, I made one match. He was my favorite of the four men for whom I'd circled "yes. Since I'm treating the singles search like a creative project that has the same requirements and rewards as any kind of art, I say yes. The singles scene demands focus and enthusiasm. You learn to weather doubt and discouragement. You find agony and ecstasy. They like what I have to say. A number of companies have Bay Area and North Bay events: