Went to Match.com - sponsored speed dating yesterday afternoon in
downtown SJ. Run by SpeedMatching.com. They had it at a wine bar/art
gallery. In a nutshell, these folks are amateurs.
- There were no signs anywhere in or around the venue saying
- The guy in charge was more than half an hour late.
- His assistant was there early, but she only set up the "dating
- The venue's acoustics were HORRIBLE. Yes, I'm shouting. I'm sorry, but
with a dozen people in the room it sounded like the fan zone at a Raiders
game. And they expected 40 participants.
I arrived a few minutes before the 4:30 start time. I'd been to
MeetingGame's 10-minute dating and knew that you only had so much time,
so better be punctual. Walked in the door of The Wine Galleria & d.p.
Fong Galleries, 383 S. First in SJ. The only indication that there was
something special going on was a sign on the door saying the "Shiraz
Room" was booked for a private event.
There were a few people at the bar, and a few guys in the very
comfortable sofas scattered around the wine bar. I headed for the Shiraz
Room, and there were several people sitting around chatting, wondering if
we were in the right place for speed dating, but nobody had a clue. After
a while I wandered into the (alleged) art gallery side of the house,
where some more people were wondering the same thing. And also wondering
if the stuff on the walls was art. Back in the Shiraz Room, I noticed the
tables had number tags on them, 20-24. Hmmm. Maybe we have 24 women
signed up instead of the advertised 20. Good.
At about 4:45 a pretty woman in a lovely blue print dress held up her
cell phone and asked if anyone was good at giving directions. This turned
out to be the SpeedMatching assistant, and on the phone was the guy in
charge of the event, lost. One of the attendees gave him directions, and
he arrived a few minutes later. When he did, he and his assistant set up
a sign-in table with a hand-written on a Manila folder sign saying they
would be starting sign-in in 10-15 minutes.
Sure enough, 10-15 minutes later the guy rang one of those "ring bell for
service" bells and announced he would sign in the women first, then it
would be about 10 minutes after that before he would have men's sign-in.
So I took a walk around the block, came back in about 10 minutes, and was
just in time join end of the men's sign-in line.
The way they had things set up, there were 20 numbered tables, 17 in the
art gallery and 2 in the Shiraz Room. I guess there were 4 no-shows.
Everyone was given a number at sign-in, and a printed "dance card". To
start, men and women sat at the table which bore their number. The guy
announced that there was one more man than there were women, so each man
would sit out a round. Table 8 was the designated no-date table. There
would be a 10-minute break after an hour, with cheese & crackers. He also
announced, much to everyone's surprise, that we only had 4 (four) minutes
per "date". Women were to stay at their table, men would rotate to the
next highest numbered table after each 4-minute session.
I was number 5, so went to table 5 where there was an attractive woman in
the tax accounting business. Should I go through the whole list of people
I talked with? Sure, ba.singles can use a long article for a change.
Besides, maybe my honest, tactless, insulting style will encourage some
So, Ms. 5. Tall, oriental, very assertive. She started by asking
questions, listening to the answer then asking another question, non-
stop. After a couple of minutes I finally got to actually talk to her,
and was just getting to scratch the surface when the "ring for service"
bell rang, telling the men to move along.
Next is a chubby gal from India with a very sweet face and disposition.
Divorced from an arranged marriage which she said was actually very good,
they "fell for each other" and were together for 18 years. And now it's
her turn to arrange her own future.
A bright-eyed blonde woman all the way from Alameda. Self-employed
marketing writer whose clients are mostly high-tech companies. Time
really flew chatting with her, there was some kind of connection
Table 8. Empty. The sign says "this is the extra table we told you about.
Take a break, use the restroom, buy a glass of wine". I wander to the
wine bar, but not being thirsty or a wine drinker, wander back to the
Still thinking about what a pain in the butt drive it is from Mountain
View to Alameda while I'm asking the next woman what her name is "it's on
my name tag" "uh, your hair is covering it. nice hair, by the way." She
sweeps her hair behind her shoulder and there's her name. She's tall,
frosted brunette or dirty blonde, slender, and that's all I remember
about her. Not a match.
I'm writing this, looking at my dance card, and made no notes, just wrote
down a name. I have no recollection of a face to match the name or table
location. On my dance card I circled "no" under "would you like to meet
them again". Am I having a Reagan Moment, or was she really that
Very tall Pacific Islands/Asian-looking woman. I lived in Asia for three
years, and I'm thinking as I am walking to her corner table, she
definitely is not Thai or Japanese. Chinese? Maybe, but I don't think so.
Malaysian? No, too tall. Different facial structure. I sit down, ask
about her unique name, and she asks me to guess. I guess Philippines, but
she says "close, but not quite". Then the light goes on, she's
Indonesian. I tell her my guess, and she says I'm the only guy who has
figured it out so far. We chat a little about nothing important, and
Walk to table 12. Empty, with a sign "skip this table". Walk to 13.
Empty, with a sign "skip this table".
At table 14 sits a stunning, very slender woman in what looks like a
leotard top, maybe. I had seen her sitting at the bar when I first
arrived, and said to myself "well, she's definitely not someone who needs
a dating service". I told her she looked excellent in black, with
shoulder-length black hair, dark brown eyes, alabaster complexion. She
was delightful to talk to, a big "yes" on my dance card.
At the next table is a short, square-shaped woman with dirty blonde hair,
hazy blue eyes who says she is French, but doesn't sound it. Until she
speaks some French. Says she did a lot of summer stock theater when she
was a teenager. Mentions "You're a Good man, Charlie Brown", which is a
show I was in back in 1973. I ask her what part she played. There are
only about 7 parts in this musical, but she says she doesn't remember. "I
was only 16". I tell her I remember what parts I played when I was 16.
She shrugs. She’s lying. “no" gets a big circle.
As I'm circling "no" on my dance card, they tell us it's break time. "10
minutes. Buy some wine, mingle". No sign of the promised cheese &
crackers. After 15 minutes of mingling, . Back to work. The
assistant puts out cheese and crackers as we start our next "date". Guy
in charge says we have limited time - the next group is due in here at 7
- he says he'll bring the goodies around to our tables as we chat with
each other. He doesn't.
The next woman is a little older than me, but I figure she couldn't be
much older because the allegedly enforced age limit is 55, and I'm 53.
She's a petite, trim, energetic woman with well-coiffed curly grey hair.
She is wearing a red flower print top and tight black pants which have
square silver studs down the outside seams. Very sexy. She's in the
online education business, which is something I've been known to do for a
living, and we have both a business and personal connection going. I want
to exchange business cards and phone numbers and chat for 5 more minutes,
Table 17 has a sign which says it's also table 18, there's one woman
seated there. This is a wide table, I cannot hear much of what she is
saying above the horrendous echo chamber noise across the 4-foot-wide
table. Frosted hair past her shoulders, black outfit, attractive, kind of
a little-girl quality to what I can hear of her voice. Excruciatingly
frustrating not to be able to hear her over the general din, and am
almost relieved to hear…
Circling "maybe" on the card, as I head for the Shiraz Room and table 19.
I sure wish Ms. 18 and I could have had a conversation - attracted to her
physically, but really need to know how we would do if were could
actually hear each other. Next is a woman in a red shawl, the table has a
shaded lamp on it, the room is dark, I instinctively put on a Count
Dracula accent and say "I see a tall, dark stranger. Wait. Could be
taller. Could be darker. Couldn't be stranger" she says "oh, a
comedian." She is not impressed. Turns out she is a flight attendant
based in SF, her schedule didn't let her go to an SF event, and it didn't
sound like she was meeting a geographically correct Mr. Right this
afternoon. Stunningly blue eyes. Wish we hit it off better, but it was
more good than bad so I lightly circle "yes". We'll see how things go on
the final 5 before changing it to "maybe"
Average height and build Chinese woman. No connection.
Back to the main room. Another woman from India, but this one is more
modern-looking. White blouse, tan jeans which fit her like a glove. Very
soft voice, and after a minute it's just too loud in there to hear her.
She's a software engineer, so I ask her what’s her favorite computer
language. "Java" she says. Good, since I'm planning on taking a Java
class this summer. Not enough conversation, I circle "yes" on my card because (a) I want to
actually hear her next time and (b) she has a really nice butt.
Next is a woman whose name is from a very famous musical, so I ask her if she
has been bombarded with references to it. She has, so I drop it. Black
shoulder-length hair, Off-the-shoulder black top, red skirt. Lots of
energy, this is someone I want to see again. Even if she is looking for
someone taller than me. She didn't say this, but she's at least as tall
as me, and my experience with dating services is tall women join them to
find taller men.
Final table, another tall woman, in a suede suit which is somewhere
between tan and lavender. Short brown hair. She's a purchasing agent for
a major company, her main role in her job is to find good stuff at a good
price. Nice lady, but I didn't feel a click. While we're talking, I
overhear the women I last chatted with say she lives in Castro Valley.
Argh. Another LDR in the making.
The guy says it's over, makes some announcements about other events,
including the fact that most of the other venues have carpeting and you
can actually hear the person you are talking to. He says to take our
dance cards home, they will send email with a login/password for us to
enter our selections online. No time frame is given for them to make the
matches. "Look at the art, buy some wine". No thanks. But I notice that
half the group stays behind for some wine. And the wine bar is filling
up. Probably the next set of victims.
I'll post what happens with the matches. But I'm not holding my breath.
Bottom line is, 4 minutes is NOT enough time to decide whether you want
to date someone. I've done 10-minute dating twice, and I'd say 8 minutes
is about right if you don't connect, 10 minutes is better. And it helps
if you start on time.
I may do speed dating again, but not with match.com.