So far we’ve covered bar-hopping and online dating as potential ways of finding your soulmate in Connecticut. Recently, I attended a speed dating event at Murphy and Scarletti’s run by Got 5 Minutes? founder Jaimy Blazynski. After chatting up some of the attendees, and Jaimy herself, I was able to get a pretty good handle on the whole situation.
A little background on speed dating: It was invented by a rabbi to help single Jews meet, marry and make Bubby happy. The first event took place in Cali in 1998, so it’s been around a decent amount of time. (Happy 10th Birthday!) Jaimy started her company about three years ago, after having found her husband on Match.com. She was so happy with her match that she wanted to help other singles find happiness too–a real life cupid!
Jaimy tries to keep the groups of speed dating participants as even as possible, with the male to female ratio pretty level. Also, events are grouped by age range (it’s a pretty wide range) which is helpful if you’re 25 and don’t necessarily want to wind up chatting with people your parents’ age. She tries to keep groups to about 10-12 of each gender so there’s enough for variety, but it’s not completely overwhelming. Sometimes other circumstances come into play, like last night, where two gents canceled and two last minute ladies called and begged to be let in. Jaimy, being a self-proclaimed softy, can’t say no. However, it worked out well for me since the the odd ladies out sat with Jaimy and I and gave me a chance to chat with them. They also got to hit the ladies’ room, or grab a drink at the bar (or two if they need the extra lubricant).
It all starts out with a little icebreaker. This night, participants selected a picture of one half of a famous couple (the wife for the females, the husband for the males) and found the match, thus choosing the first “date” of the evening. Every five minutes, Jaimy sets off a bell and the women rotate while the men stay put (and don’t worry, it’s a private room so people eating dinner or out for happy hour can’t ogle too much). Pretty straightforward.
Throughout the evening, participants write down the names of people they are interested in and then everyone turns their lists in to Jaimy. If you and the other person both write down each others’ names, that’s a “match.” Within 24 hours, you are emailed each others’ contact information. From there, it’s up to you! (Info is only given if BOTH people write down each others’ names…you can’t bribe Jaimy to give you info on that hot, hot, HOT girl you liked but who isn’t interested in you).
Several of the folks I chatted with had done it before, and really enjoyed it. One had dated a guy she met at an event for several months (obviously it didn’t work out since she was back). Others who hadn’t quite found their perfect someone had at least made friends out of the deal.
Now, my big question is: if there are regulars, doesn’t it get repetitive? Or worse, if someone has dated some of the people attending already, couldn’t it get a bit…awkward? “I’m very open with people,” Jaimy said. If someone asks if people they’ve dated are going to be an event, she’ll tell them so and possibly suggest they skip that event. Or, better yet, if she knows just by looking at the list, she’ll give the person a call. The good part about being a “regular?” Jaimy gets to know your type, as she noted to one of the guys when giving him a heads up on a girl she thought he’d like.
So why hadn’t I heard about this before? I heard about it from a friend, who heard about it from her mother, of all people. Apparently, that’s the best referral. An overwhelming number of Jaimy’s clients hear about Got 5 Minutes? from friends who have tried it, or, yes, from their mothers.
Jaimy doesn’t advertise too much in the paper, because she found that many of those folks don’t have email capability, which you need to participate. (If you’re reading this online, we’re assuming you’ve mastered the art of email.) This is because she is one tech savvy lady. She has a software program designed especially for her that matches the participants to each other and generates emails. Me, I pictured her in her living room surrounded by little slips of paper trying to figure out: “Well, Cindy liked Johnny, but Johnny didn’t pick Cindy, but Johnny did pick Joanie and Joanie also picked Johnny…”
What are the perks of speed dating? You’re seeing what you get. Many of the people I spoke with said that they had been deceived by a lot of internet dates, those who lied about their interests, age, etc. Most of the time, your BS meter is much better in person, and you can ask those follow up questions if your radar goes off. Unlike trolling at the bar, you know everyone is there for the same purpose–to meet someone special. Not to mention, it’s a weeknight out. You’ve done something besides sitting on your couch watching reruns of “The Gilmore Girls” or “Judging Amy.” Besides, where else can you meet 10-12 eligible ladies or gents in 90 minutes? Most bad dates last longer, and you’ve only met one ineligible person in that case.
The downsides? It can be a little overwhelming according to some first timers. But they said after a couple of rotations, they relaxed into it a bit more. And yes, there’s a good chance that you might not find your soulmate among those 12 strangers. But again…better than a night on the couch!
A couple of tips from Jaimy and some of the daters:
- Take notes! 10-12 people may not seem like a lot, but it really is!
- Keep an open mind. There’s no harm in writing someone down on your list if you’re only mildly interested.
- You don’t HAVE to write anyone down. There’s no pressure.
- Bring some cash for a drink or two. (There’s also some sort of munchies there…but you probably don’t want to stuff your face on 12 first dates).
- Ladies, don’t bring too much to lug around–you’re moving from table to table.
- Be on time! One late person can throw off the rotation.
- Have a good attitude and be yourself!
There are plenty of events happening soon–and Got 5 Minutes is now in the New Haven area too! The first event will be on November 11. Check out the Got 5 Minutes? website for calendar listings of events and Jaimy’s blog. Each speed dating event is $30 per person.
I’m pretty sure that after all of this, I don’t want to hear any of my single friends bitch about how they can never meet anyone. Sure, CT’s not filled with huge metropoli, but if you put forth a little effort (get your ass off the couch and out the door…or at least off the couch and to the computer), there are some real options out there to meet people. It takes a good attitude and patience. One of regular guys who was a little older, had some insight on this: People seem to have this romanticized ideal of love and relationships thanks to television and movies. In reality, it takes work and time because anything good takes work and time. I totally agree with him.
Everyone’s looking for the right person…it’s a human condition/curse. No one can expect that to just fall in your lap. But we, at The Cut are happy to give you a little leg up.