I walked into Therapy Lounge feeling confident. It’s the Thursday before Valentine’s Day and I have been asked to cover a speed dating event that’s being held in support of War Child. I’m hoping to get a couple quotes, find some inside information on the event and get home. And then I’m asked to participate. Immediately, I begin to sweat profusely and nervously giggle about how I’m underdressed and didn’t have time to mentally prepare. What are we going to talk about? How long do I have to sit with each guy for? What happens if I make an ass of myself?

Okay, I lied. There is one thing and one thing alone running through my mind and that is—why is every girl here so attractive and how do I manage to stand out in the crowd? I’m not alone in my observation, as participant Anthony Lam notes that “every girl in here is beautiful.” As we continued our conversation, his minor insecurity is confirmed when he tells me about his competition: “See that guy with the popped collar over there? He’s throwing me off my game!”

The room is organized like an elementary school dance, with the girls awkwardly standing on one side and the guys on the other. I soon realize that every person here is nervous, which oddly calms me. And then it begins. The rules are explained by the event organizers and the ladies sit down, waiting for their first date to begin. Luckily, my first date dreams of being a stand-up comedian and in five minutes he has me laughing until my stomach aches. From there a flurry of dates pass as the bell rings and another guy sits down across from me. John? D.J? Ryan? I try to keep straight which guy works with Afghani refugees and which guy is currently unemployed but hoping to get a full time job “partying.”

When the dates are all done, the atmosphere of the room is drastically different. The whole room is mingling now and everyone is meeting new friends. Once you’re forced to have a one-on-one conversation with 16 people of the opposite sex, you quickly lose the nerves and fear you brought with you. The overall consesus is not surprising – this is better than anyone expected. Lacadia Meyler said, “its been a really good way to meet people who go to our school” and Alanna Clancy summed the night up in two words: “legit and classy.”

Don’t get me wrong – there was a creeper or two, but I didn’t have to put up with them for too long. According to some of the guys, Debbie Downer also showed her face, asking her dates if they were having as bad of a time as she was. But one or two bad dates out of 16 is nothing to frown about. I met one guy who I felt a connection with, but I’m certain I wasn’t the only lady to feel that way. I left with no digits, but two Facebook adds and a lot of new friends.

All in all, it was a pretty swell evening: Rotaract raised $288.00 towards the War Child cause and made a lot of gents and ladies happy along the way. Next time you see a sign for a Rotaract event, I suggest you rethink passing up the opportunity—you might just enjoy yourself.

The Sputnik would like to thank Camila and Jen for graciously inviting us to the event.

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