301. go speed dater, go!

One mention of the word “date” and all my friends back in Hawaii start flipping out. On the MySpace version of my blog, I got a bunch (translation: four) of comments asking about the speed-dating event I mentioned in a previous post. And so partly for them, because they make up the first and often most loyal of my readers, and partly just for myself because it was a fun event that raises some interesting issues for me, I’ll restart my writing with this event.

First things first, the event came about because of a brilliant move by my pastor. He started out the year challenging the various Community Groups (aka C-Groups, aka cell group Bible studies) to be a blessing to the neighborhoods where we met or to bless a local charity. But he did more than just issue this challenge. He put money behind it and called it the Good Neighbor Fund. Basically, the church gave every C-Group $200 and instructed them to use this money to bless those around them.

The members of our C-Group put forward some ideas which were voted upon and short story shorter, we chose to use the $200 as seed money to put on a fundraiser. But not just any fundraiser – a speed-dating fundraiser!

I advocated for this option for a variety of reasons. It was meant to be a inter-church speed-dating event and getting the Body of Christ to interact has been a passion of mine for a while now. Also, I liked the fact that instead of just putting the $200 into a smoking BBQ and inviting the neighbors over or donating it straight into a charity, we were investing it, growing it, multiplying it. And of course I thought about the ever-present fact of my singleness and the fact that this event offered me an end run around my normal laziness and lack of assertiveness when it comes to dating.

Maybe it’s because I advocated for this idea but somehow I got picked to be a part of the team that would try to put on this event. There were seven of us: the planning team, alternatively referred to as the Cupid Crew or the Hook Up Crew. Despite the enormity of the undertaking, we refused to let the fact that none of us had ever participated in a speed-dating event (never mind trying to plan one) stop us. To make up for this lack of first-hand knowledge, we scoured the internet, we brainstormed like mad, we grilled friends we knew who had done speed-dating before.

I mention this because I want to make it a point to say that the people I worked with to put this event on are some of the sharpest, most dedicated, not afraid to lay down the law people I ever had the pleasure of working with. Seriously, I’ve been a part of lots of different teams for all kinds of events but the Cupid Crew was by far the most well-oiled, well-rounded (and prettiest…you too Dar) team I’ve ever been a part of.

But none of this is really what you’re interested in is it?

You just want to hear about the speed-dating don’t ya?

(If you ‘re interested in the mechanics of the event, you can read about it on our wiki.)

So I got to meet 15 delightful women in the span of about two hours (more “dates” than I’ve had in the past five years…damn, that’s sad). Each speed date lasted about 3 minutes (it’s not called speed-dating for nothing). In the days preceding the event I spent some time thinking about how to best use that 3mins. I thought that I would have to be efficient, that I would have to cut to the chase without scaring the other person off. I had to come up with a question that would tell me a lot about whether I’d want to spend more time with the other person in the minimum amount of time. And this is what I came up with:

“So hypothetically, if someone were to tell you that they wanted to change the world, what would you think about that person or that statement?”

That’s it.

I mean, of course I made some small talk, but I always did my best to squeeze this question in somehow. Sometimes rather inelegantly. And the responses were interesting. They ranged from, “that’s impossible,” to “that’s great but [insert various caveats here],” to “I think that’s, like, so awesome…puppies and kittens are so cute” (just kidding about that last one, all of the participants were great).

Why’d I choose that question? Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever come right out and said it but I have a secret deep down inside of me. I normally don’t talk about this secret for many of the same reasons why asking that hypothetical dating question was an odd choice. But I’m going to share it with you all here and now. Don’t tell anyone, okay? I want to change the world – make it a better place, a place more like Eden and less like Babylon. (So I guess in addition to the already long list of things I’m looking for in a life partner – see here and here – I can add “someone who wants to change the world.”)

And that’s a pretty audacious thing to say, I know (the delusions-of-grandeur response immediately comes to mind), but I believe in it. And I’m going to go for it. Soon. (Yeah, I see you snickering and dissing me but I don’t care.) And if I’m going to have a girlfriend who’s eventually going to be my wife, she’s going to have to be on board for this crazy idea of mine (I don’t know how I’m going to change the world yet but I’m working on it). And so asking that question made it easy for me to weed out those who I could see would not be suitable partners in chasing my change-the-world ideas.

Well, maybe it’s because of my question, maybe it’s because I had something stuck in my teeth, maybe it’s because I forgot my mojo at home, but I didn’t end up getting any matches from the event. We did find out from the secret match-making team (aka “The Triad,” their identities kept hidden to preserve the sanctity of the hooking up process) that everyone (including me) got put on someone’s list but not everyone had mutual matches. See what happened at the end of the night was, everyone submitted a list of up to five people who they met that they would be interested in meeting again. The Triad took everyone’s list and if two people put the other’s name on their list, they would be sent email addresses and the rest was up to them. So in other words, my name appeared on at least one other person’s list but I didn’t put that person down on mine so no match for me.

Honestly, I was a bit relieved when I got the news that I hadn’t been matched. I mean don’t get me wrong, I met some really great women but even with the ones whose names I submitted, they weren’t really what I was looking for.

Despite not ending up with any dates, on a larger level, the event was a huge success. We ended up getting:

  • 92 total applicants
  • 30 churches represented among those applicants
  • 58 participants in the event itself
  • 32 matches made
  • and we raised just over $1000 after expenses
  • when the idea of the GNF was first presented, the guy who leads our C-group said that if we chose to do any kind of fundraising event, he would match whatever amount we raised. At first he was giddy at the success of our event but when we told him how much we raised, he turned a rather ill shade of green. Maybe we need to do another fundraiser for him.
  • so if he comes through with his matching promise (and I have no doubt he will, he can handle it) we’ll have raised over $2000. Not a bad return on a $200 investment.
  • funds will be split evenly between two excellent local non-profit organizations.

We also ended up getting some really nice compliments from those who participated. And we also heard it through the grapevine that a couple other churches are thinking about holding similar speed-dating fundraisers (as an aside, one of the neat tricks about tucking a speed-dating event inside a fundraiser is that it makes participants more likely to…well…participate because they don’t have to feel strange and awkward for signing up for a matchmaking event – they can tell themselves (and other people) they’re doing it to raise money for a good cause).

So there it is. The speed-dating event. I have other things I want to say about the state of dating and relationships in my life but that will have to wait for another post (I wanted to keep this one on the positive tip). For those who commented asking about the event, I hope this satiates your voyeuristic curiosity. If not, drop me some questions in the comments section and I’ll do my best to respond.

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3 thoughts on “301. go speed dater, go!

  1. I love your summary of the whole process and results! And thank you for putting yourself out there (here) to satiate our voyeuristic tendencies (because, of course, we don’t ask because we care about you, your happiness, or your going-ons) :-)Welcome back to blogging!

  2. hey member in good standing with the cupid crew. it’s your co-pilot here, aka pretty girl #6 of 6. great summary. i’m still trying to recover from the event. i agree that it nursed my bruised and fragile ego to know that at least one person wrote down my name on their “score card”. when do we start planning for the next one?!?! you were also kick-ass to work with!

  3. Hey Randall! GREAT summary… thanks for sharing!! =D It was a total blast working with you too. I think that’s a great question… and for the record… I think it’s awesome that you want to change the world. =) Here’s to finding a woman with the same passion and creative energy as you.

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