Category: speed dating


It Really Is All About Luck And Timing

June 23rd, 2013 — 12:40pm

When it comes to finding love, you often hear about the dual forces of luck and timing. In navigating the ups and downs of thirtysomething singlehood, you inevitably find yourself questioning whether this duo is working in your favor. Lately, I’ve experienced examples that they are – in very unexpected ways.

Case in point number one – my derailed reunion with D, an out of town bachelor I met during my Great Dating Blitz three years ago. After reconnecting back in April, D and I began communicating almost daily. Soon, we were planning a romantic weekend for him to visit. But the Friday that D was to arrive, his flight ended up getting cancelled because of torrential rains.

Suitcase packed, D headed to the airport anyway, attempting to fly standby. Several hours later, he was informed there would be no availability until the following afternoon. We spoke and texted our mutual disappointment, initially talking about the possibility of rescheduling.

That conversation has slowly tapered off. I can’t help wondering, was Mother Nature’s intervention intended to spare us both from a protracted long distance scenario?

Meanwhile, closer to home, two great dates with a guy I met at speed dating were followed by him cancelling last minute without an explanation. Though my instincts said I should say sayonara because he was clearly not that interested, I opted to give Mr. MIA one more chance. After all, in this post-modern dating world, etiquette about making plans is a more fluid thing, right? We’re supposed to be flexible, etc., etc.

Not so much – as I was just reminded by an old flame. When work forced him to cancel our plans, he called (rather than texted), offered a heartfelt apology and immediately rescheduled. His thoughtfulness confirmed what I already knew about Mr. MIA: he’s not a candidate for anything serious.

Bottom line, it seems that luck and timing have been doing their part to steer me away from men with whom there is no future. All the more reason to be hopeful about stumbling upon the right guy — with their capable help of course.

| dating dos and don'ts, dating in your thirties, old flames, speed dating, The Great Dating Blitz

BetaDater: A Singles Mixer With A Twist

June 16th, 2013 — 9:08pm

As a dating blogger, you tend to hear a lot about singles events – whether they’re mixers designed for mingling or functions related to improving your dating game. BetaDater offers both.

is a feedback-based dating mixer. Over the course of three dates and a three course meal, you receive and give three pieces of feedback that are anonymized and aggregated into what they a call a Dating Diagnostic Report. After successfully piloting in San Francisco, BetaDater has come to NYC. Thursday night, I was invited to check it out.

BetaDater: A new feedback-based approach to mingling

The event was held at Tromba Restaurant, a cozy eatery with a rustic vibe on NYC’s Lower East Side. My three dates were a mixed bag — the result, no doubt, of BetaDater’s big age range (21-40).

First up, a thirty something software developer and NYC newcomer who avoided eye contact and had me doing most of the conversational heavy lifting. Then, a handsome, charming former journalist turned non-profit think tank manage – who was two days away from moving back to Geneva. And finally, a recent college graduate with (yikes) bad body odor and a penchant for four-letter words.

Though the event was supposed to last for two hours, it ended up running closer to three. Not surprisingly, I felt like I was running out of steam and sparkling conversation toward the end. This could easily be avoided if BetaDater kept things moving along — and increased the number of dates.

Having done speed dating a handful of times, I know from experience that it doesn’t take long to form a first impression about someone. While four minutes is too brief to provide effective feedback on a person’s first date skills, 30 minutes plus is way too long.

I think BetaDater would benefit from doing shorter dates and more of them in one evening. It also needs to reach more people. Apparently, several of the guys in attendance were pulled in last minute from a neighboring bar. A more targeted age range and larger number of dates would likely make the events more well attended.

Having said all this, BetaDater brings something fresh and valuable to the dating scene. Even while the kinks are still being ironed out, it helps you put your best foot forward on a first date.

My experience the other night also reminded me that New York is a city which inspires hope when it comes to being single­. Two of the guys I met said they moved here because of NYC’s many  opportunities to connect with new people. You never know when one of those connections is going to be of the romantic variety.

| dating in New York, Lower East Side, singles events, speed dating

A Change Of Attitude

April 28th, 2013 — 9:10pm

Thursday, I enjoyed a girls night out with my good friend Lauren.

After a brief stop at Faces & Names bar and walking past the NFL Draft red carpet on Sixth Avenue, we settled at the bar of Del Frisco’s in Rockefeller Center. Over a round of Blue Moon and some shared appetizers (cheesesteak egg rolls and tuna tartar tacos…delish), we talked about career moves, bad dating behavior and my most recent speed dating experience.

I’ve said it here and to other singles many times – speed dating is a thousand times better than dating online. Still, some outings are better than others and this particular one was a very mixed bag.

Most of the 15 guys I met were first timers bleary eyed from the frenetic pace. Many used their four minutes to ask questions straight out of Match.com (where do you work? What do you like to do when you’re not working? etc.). Others didn’t know what to ask. Among the more memorable bachelors: a 67-year-old who laughed a little too hard as he shared that he is divorced because he likes dating thirtysomething women; a cute British expat whose charm rapidly dissipated when he remarked how there are so many more single women than men in NYC.

Inevitably, if you do speed dating multiple times, you run into familiar faces. I cringed when I spotted a guy I dated briefly back in January who went all X-rated in his sweet nothings on date #2.  For a city of 8 million people, New York is way too small sometimes.

Which is why I’m feeling especially thankful for the gradual yet seismic attitude shift I’ve been feeling lately when it comes to finding love. A combination of spring weather and Amy Spencer’s uplifting book about dating optimism, How To Meet Your Half Orange is fueling the change.

There’s definitely something to be said for positive thinking. In the last week alone, I’ve reconnected with an old flame and met a matchmaker-inclined florist.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

| Girls Night Out, online dating, Rockefeller Center, speed dating

In Praise Of Speed Dating

March 10th, 2013 — 8:22pm

(photo courtesy: howstuffworks.com)

As the first quarter of 2013 races to a close, I’m happy to have stuck to one of my New Year’s resolutions – speed dating more often. With other, more time intensive resolutions being a work in a progress, this one is proving to be a lot of fun. And a reminder of how important it is to inject some fun in to the dating process.

Readers of this blog know I’ve been a big fan of speed dating for years now. And I’ve also found time and again that it’s the number one thing singles tell me they want to try but haven’t. Interestingly many of these same people have done online dating. I guess it’s less daunting to flirt via cyberspace than to face the prospect of a dozen or so mini dates with complete strangers. In my experience, though, the payoff is much, much greater when you get back to basics and interact with fellow singles in person.

There are so many advantages to speed dating. First, of course, is the obvious – meeting a lot of people in a short space of time. Second, it gives you the opportunity to practice your flirting skills and elevator pitch about yourself, always a good thing in the competitive dating jungle that is New York. Perhaps the most important thing, though, is it levels the playing field.

As a thirtysomething single woman, it’s very easy to think you’ve got the market covered on feeling frustrated with what it takes to make a meaningful romantic connection. A quick chat with just about any guy you meet speed dating reveals that’s most definitely not the case.

Even though, statistically speaking, the odds are more in their favor, single guys go through their ups and downs just like we do. And I can’t help thinking that discovering such common ground helps break down the walls that often divide us in this great city where playing it cool is practically an Olympic sport.

So if you’ve been on the fence about trying speed dating, now’s the time to jump off and give it a try.

| new year's resolutions, online dating, speed dating

A Fabulous Night In Harlem

January 13th, 2013 — 10:37am

Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of catching up with my Kansas City-based pal Stephanie. A foodie with a flair for cooking, Stephanie invited me to join her and friends Jim and Diego to experience one of NYC’s hottest restaurants – Red Rooster.

Stephanie and me

The signature Harlem eatery by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson doesn’t disappoint. Lively atmosphere and attentive service compliment the mouthwatering menu of comfort food. A nice touch — for $7, you’re given the option of choosing from a tray of small chef tasting plates. I enjoyed butternut squash soup with apple chutney and smoked salmon. For dessert, we all shared the heavenly Rooster Mud Pie served with mocha ice cream and whiskey caramelized bananas. Delish.

I filled Stephanie and the guys in on my return to speed dating this week, which was just as fun as I remembered the experience to be (seriously, ladies, give it a try!).

Fun Foursome: (clockwise from left) Me, Stephanie, Diego and Jim

Speaking of the search to find love, we fell into easy conversation about the ups and downs of it, especially here in New York. When I mentioned my Great Dating Blitz of a few years back, Diego shared his recent version of it – going out with a series of his exes again. And whether they’re gay or straight, we all agreed that men don’t make the first move nearly as much as we’d like them to anymore.

Case in point: the aforementioned HurryDate event this week. Of the four guys who said yes to connecting afterward, only two proactively contacted me. Thankfully, it was the two who I liked most.

Who knows? Maybe 2013 will bring a change in the tides romantically speaking. One thing’s for sure – I plan to have more fun along the way.

| dating in New York, HurryDate, speed dating

Singles Event Pick: Bring A Wingman Party

July 26th, 2012 — 2:01pm

Readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of speed dating. From my experience, HurryDate is still the leader when it comes to attracting a great crowd – so I was excited to hear from host Alison Kaufman that they’re hosting a “Bring A Wingman Party” next month.

Flatiron hotspot Pranna (photo courtesy: PrannaNYC.com)

Set for Thursday August 16th at hotspot Pranna in NYC’s Flatiron District, the event will offer two-for-tickets for wingmen and wingwomen pairs. Just enter the code HDWINGMANNYC when you RSVP, and you’ll get an email allowing your friend to sign up on the house. And you can still attend solo too. Age group is 30s and 40s, and drink specials start at $5.

Admission is $25 at the door, but only limited spots are available so I recommend RSVP’ing online. Click here for more info.

| Flatiron District, HurryDate, Pranna restaurant, singles events, singles parties, speed dating

Nominate A Date #3

February 27th, 2012 — 9:01pm

Wednesday night, I met up with Nominate A Date bachelor #3, New Jersey resident Kai. Our date is a wonderful example of how serendipity sometimes has a romantic streak.

Kai recently attended a disastrous speed dating event — attended solely by him and a few women. The event took place at a comedy club, so Kai ended up as the target of a few performers. He handled it so graciously that he caught the attention of my friend Annabel. Annabel has a good track when it comes to playing matchmaker – she set me up with one of my favorite bachelors from my European Dating Blitz.

Knowing about my adventure, Annabel mentioned it to Kai. He proceeded to send me an email that confirmed her initial impressions of him as a fun, easygoing guy. Especially when he referenced Nominate A Date in a way that indicated he had a lighthearted view of my unconventional approach to meeting new people.

Kai and I enjoyed cocktails and great conversation at Reunion Surf Bar (photo credit: DailyCandy.com)

As soon as we met, I was struck by Kai’s great smile, warm personality – and knack for picking an ideal place in which to get to know each other. Our first stop was Reunion Surf Bar, a fun, flirty downstairs bar tucked away in Hell’s Kitchen. The beach hut vibe and steady soundtrack of 70’s and 80’s pop music makes you feel like you’re anywhere but in the city. Kai and I found plenty to talk about with our mutual love of travel, karaoke and taking bold leaps of faith where dating is concerned.

We traded a few speed dating horror stories before heading onto Mercury Bar, where the effortless conversation continued as we sat closer to each other. I found myself smiling a lot and feeling none of the awkwardness that often goes along with a first date.

Chemistry was the word that kept coming to mind after Kai and I said goodnight nearly five hours later. And how you never know when or where it’s going to find you, so why not just embrace that?

| blind dates, first dates, Hell's Kitchen, Nominate A Date, speed dating

8 Minute Dating: Not Worth The Time

January 14th, 2012 — 7:57pm

Continuing my 2012 resolution to do more mingling, I did a second speed dating event last week – hosted by 8 Minute Dating.

I was especially curious about this one, because every other time I’ve done speed dating, each mini-date lasted only 4-5 minutes. And I remember a woman telling me years ago that she didn’t like it because eight minutes can be very long when you’re sitting across from someone you don’t immediately click with.

World Bar, located in a Trump building known for being home to celebs

When I arrived at World Bar in Midtown, I was struck by two things right away – the venue was very swanky while the crowd was, well, awkward.  Both the women and men seemed equally uncomfortable, a group not nearly as outgoing or approachable as what I’ve experienced with 8 Minute Dating’s competitors. Another difference — 8 Minute Dating gives you three different options for saying yes to someone you’ve met. You can select any or all of the following – friendship, networking, second date.

As it turns out, though an eight-minute mini-date definitely feels less rushed, it doesn’t necessarily improve your odds of connecting with anyone. I’ve done speed dating about dozen times over the years and this was the first event I walked away from without any matches (my average has been 4-6 at previous events). In other words, not really worth $4o — and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

“How’s it going?” I asked one guy during a cocktail break in the evening.

“It’s going,” he said flatly.

For my money, HurryDate is still the best bet when it comes to speed dating. Which is why it is also on my to do list for 2012 — and so is giving it a try outside the tricky terrain of NYC. Stay tuned!

| Midtown NYC, speed dating

A Return To Speed Dating

January 9th, 2012 — 10:23pm

As part of my Just Say Yes mantra for 2012, I’m getting back into the swing of things dating wise – and that means taking another stab at speed dating.

Though I’ve done it a handful of times over the years, Thursday marked my first experience with NYMinuteDating. The event was held in the back room at cozy Latin American fusion restaurant La Zarza in NYC’s East Village. During the pre-event mingling period, I chatted with friendly fortysomething bachelor David about why we love New York more than California (seasonal changes, more to do anytime day or night, etc.) and the rush of zip lining.

La Zarza: the cozy East Village restaurant and lounge is an ideal venue for speed dating

David casually mentioned he was divorced – one of many bachelors on hand in this category. Much like bars or restaurants, every speed dating company has its own personality and attracts a certain kind of clientele. If Thursday’s event is any indication, NYMinuteDating attracts its fair share of divorced men with children and guys who work in IT. Of the 17 bachelors in attendance, about half of them were software developers.

Another trend with this group – revealing a little too much. One of the divorced men took up most of our four minutes together talking about being divorced, why his teenage daughters want him to start dating again and the new house he just moved into. Speaking of real estate, another bachelor was a little too eager to talk about his 10,000 square foot pad on Central Park West and the huge New Year’s party he hosted.

Then, there was the bachelor who began his conversation with the girl to my right by asking—

“Why are you still single?”

Call me picky, but that’s not exactly the friendliest conversation starter.

Thankfully, there were a handful of guys who reminded me why this round robin approach to meeting new people can be so much fun. Nashville native turned Brooklyn resident Chyld charmed me with his slight accent, affection for barbecue and playful smile. World traveler Greg entertained with tales of a recent visit to one of my favorite cities, Berlin, while Canadian-born Alistair admitted that he trekked all the way from Connecticut for the event.

As someone who’s a big fan of crossing state lines to put yourself out there, I loved his candor about it. David was equally candid his agenda—

“I want to meet someone.”

Who says all NYC men are players?

FYI – NYMinuteDating is a great last-minute option for a fun night out. While most speed dating events sell out for women well in advance, many of the singles (myself included) booked on Thursday and the event was still well attended with a balanced ratio and guys and girls. Bottom line — $35 well spent.

| East Village, new year's goals, new year's resolutions, speed dating

Speed Dating For Globetrotters

January 20th, 2011 — 1:13pm

Monday night, I attended “Have Passport, Will Travel” — On Speed Dating’s event geared toward globetrotters.

This was my first-ever foray into themed speed dating, and the first time in awhile that I’ve attended an event hosted by a company other than industry leader HurryDate. When it comes to efficiency — starting on time and getting you out within 2 hours — HurryDate is better. But if you’re looking for a speed dating experience that feels more organic than rushed, OSD is definitely the way to go.

Murphy & Gonzalez: An ideal spot for speed dating

Murphy & Gonzalez, a laidback, well-lit bar and restaurant in NYC’s East Village, served as an ideal venue. Roomy with tables spaced evenly apart, it was much more conducive to talking than the dark, loud and cramped venues usually favored by HurryDate. And the host offered a few breaks, which goes a long way when you’re meeting about a dozen new people all at once.

As for the themed idea, I experienced mixed results. While travel is a great conversation starter, some of the men seemed to take a “my frequent flier account is bigger than yours” approach. And, like most speed dating events, this one served up an interesting variety of bachelors.

There was Sasha, a Russian-born hairstylist, whose rapid fire interrogation seemed to be inspired by questions from an online dating site.

“What do you do for fun?”

“Comedy or drama?”

“Are you creative or analytical?”

So much for easygoing small talk.

Fortysomething teacher Keith surprised me when he admitted he too is a speed dating veteran. Because he spent almost all of our four minutes together telling me — multiple times — where he’s traveled to, asking me only question just in time for the bell to ring.

Among the charmers — airline pilot Lance who revealed he’s been around the world twice, and Chicago-born cutie Athan who talked about Iceland being on his bucket list.

All in all, worth the $30 price of admission. Getting out there is always a good thing. As fast talking Keith put it–

“You gotta try.”

Well said.

| East Village, HurryDate, speed dating

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