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Speed Dating  June 21, 2005

Jenn/Steve — June 21 @ 9:53am

Ever heard of speed dating? I have recently become an expert. Let me tell you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but I discovered the experience to be a great spiritual tool and a way to really gain insights into the gifts of the Spirit (recently pronounced dead elsewhere in the Bloggernacle!).

It all started two weeks ago…Melanie and Clark took a break from making out on the couch (poor couch. Poor, disgusting, bacteria-laden couch) to suggest, somewhat untactfully, that I needed a boyfriend. Thanks Mel. Clark went on to tell me that some friends of his in the 5th ward had recently tried out some speed dating, and thought it was a lot of fun. Later, he emailed me the number and website for a local speed date group. Normally, I wouldn’t consider dating a nonmember, but I figured a six-minute foray with a Gentile couldn’t hurt, and besides, it did sound kind of fun. Clark and his crowd are a little more adventurous than I usually am, so it took more cajoling from him and Melanie (thankfully, they don’t make out during the cajoling process, so it was a welcome respite –my new word!– from their very, very public displays). Ultimately, I signed up and tried it out last Saturday. Here is my report:

What a totally bizarre experience.

We all went to a lounge on the Upper East Side, which they had set up with lots of loveseats and chairs for tete-a-tetes. My creep-o-meter began to rise (esp. since I was in a bar, for crying out loud…), but I paid it no heed — onward! They sat us down, and a coordinator explained the rules: you sit and talk with a person for six minutes, then on to the next, and repeat 20(!!!) times. You take notes on each, then at the end of the night you re-evaluate and give your rankings in to the coordinator. They correlate the results, then the next day you log on and check match information. You can then email your matches and take the whimsical romance from there.

Needless to say, the night was an exhausting whirlwind. Some very nice guys, and some very HOT guys. This is the most interaction I’ve had with nonmember guys on a social level, and it was all very strange — can I just say to the mormon men, GET A CLUE! Non-mormons know how to romance women, I’ll say that! Wow. Like night and day compared to the dorks at church. Well sure they are trying to get in your pants, but still, it’s nice to be wooed.

This is where I was grateful for the gifts of the spirit, particularly the Gift of Discernment. I found it interesting how in just a few minutes I could really get a feeling as to whether this person was compatible, interesting, etc., but most importantly, I felt like I understood their intentions: did they mean to do me harm? Are they the type of person that will bring me closer to Heavenly Father? Of course, the answer was for the most part “NO!”, but I feel really blessed that with just a couple of minutes of exposure to people I could size them up and make decisions about them that could affect my life.

And, for the curious: no matches. I found a couple of guys I thought were nice, but I am too chicken to seriously date a nonmember.


  1. Jenn, where were you at on the Upper East Side? Was Danithew one of the guys there? He just moved to town.

    Steve Evans — June 21, 2005 @ 1:32pm
  2. Hey, Jenn. Discern this: Mormon men know how to woo women. Loosen up a little and you might GET A CLUE!

    Seriously, I’m proud of you. This was a big step for you. The less time you spend watching your roomates make-out on the couch the better.

    SeptimusH — June 21, 2005 @ 1:40pm
  3. So are you going to do it again? You make it sound as though it may be fun enough to do just to have fun, and not just as a means to an end.

    And I thought that danithew is married, Steve.

    DKL — June 21, 2005 @ 1:51pm
  4. Picture this: Speed dating methods applied to home teaching? Not a bad idea, eh? 18 minutes and you’re done for the month.

    SeptimusH — June 21, 2005 @ 1:55pm
  5. Jenn–Glad for the review. And now for a tangent: my ward is having a pseudo-speed dating activity this Saturday called “Meet the Ward in 2 Minutes,” but it’s downplaying the dating aspect by having us meet both men and women. According to the criteria set up in your post, this activity should be perfect–only Mormons will be there, and the creep, get-in-your-pants factor is a little downplayed by having it be just getting to know the ward. But I think this activity is ill-conceived and a waste of time, and perhaps my reasons could be relevant to your experience as well. First, what is the social whirlwind of church every Sunday but an endless iteration of “Meet your ward in 2 minutes”–putting in face time with a bewildering procession of people trying to impress each other with their Sunday best and a little pointless small talk. It seems like this activity will get us together for the exact same thing, except without the redemptive purpose of taking the sacrament. Second, and more pertinent to your experience, I think these kind of speed dating activities emphasize the very tendencies we should shun–forming snap judgments, creating masks that we exchange with each other, steeping every one of our interactions with a self-promotional jockying for position. Anyway, I’ve never been to a speed dating activity, so I can’t comment specifically on your experience, but it seems like a pretty bad way to form meaningful relationships. On another note, I think you’re right that Mormon men get lazy about wooing women–they have a closed market and can pretty much price set to their hearts’ content.

    Naomi Frandsen — June 21, 2005 @ 1:57pm
  6. Good Lord, Naomi, that sounds horrible. Sorry.

    My theory is that mormon men are generally unromantic losers, because a) we are largely clueless, b) women are undervalued in our culture, and c) we know there’s not going to be any sex. I can see how Jenn’s suitors were laying it on thick for her benefit.

    Steve Evans — June 21, 2005 @ 2:09pm
  7. The most romantic and charming man I ever met was a doctor from Italy. We met in the swimming pool at Little America in Salt Lake. They made me (well, there were two of them) like I was the most wonderful beautiful woman on the planet.

    If I ever leave here, I may move to Italy.

    annegb — June 21, 2005 @ 2:18pm
  8. Not really fair to compare Mormons to Italians, that’s asking a lot.

    SeptimusH — June 21, 2005 @ 2:22pm
  9. “what is the social whirlwind of church every Sunday but an endless iteration of “Meet your ward in 2 minutes”

    Yes, that may be true. But there’s still the awkwardness of giving off the appearance that that’s what you’re doing and then trying to figure out if there’s reciprocation. I had never heard of speed dating until I saw it on Hitch. Is that what it was like? I remember thinking, if a form of this speed dating ever got to BYU, it would be a massive hit.

    Eric Russell — June 21, 2005 @ 2:26pm
  10. I signed up for a speed-dating event, then chickened out and canceled. I don’t think speed-dating should ever be introduced at BYU. Dating and engagements are already too short in Mormon culture. Imagine the disaster if speed-dating led to speed-engagements.

    Melinda (Janey) — June 21, 2005 @ 3:01pm
  11. Sep, ouch! Way to dredge up the past. I think we can assume that Naomi has not been making out under landmarks anytime soon — although her attendance at Georgetown seems geared towards monument-maximization….

    Melinda, in many ways speed-dating is common Mormon practice, isn’t it?

    Kudos to Jenn for a fun thread.

    Steve Evans — June 21, 2005 @ 3:26pm
  12. You’re right, Steve. That wasn’t cool. I deleted my comment. Sorry Naomi.

    SeptimusH — June 21, 2005 @ 3:57pm
  13. Hey Mr. Steve, I’m trying to figure out from comment #1 whether you think I’m single or not. It’s true in the past couple of days my wife and I have moved into the area …

    danithew — June 21, 2005 @ 4:25pm
  14. New in town, trying to get to know people, Danithew and Mrs. Danithew take the rings off and go speed-dating! Makes a lot of sense.

    Steve Evans — June 21, 2005 @ 5:09pm
  15. C’mon, Mormon guys are losers is a horrible generalization. Maybe true for some, but my guess is that most Mormon guys are outliers on the positive side in the population of guys who are nice, stable, interesting, and looking for commitment for the long term rather than short-term physical relationships. I think Mormon women actually have it pretty darn good (and so do Mormon men).

    Also, you’ve got to consider that the nice face those guys put on when they are checking you out right now is probably gone when married. So, even accepting arguendo Jenn’s proposition that Mormon men are not as romantic at the outset, I still think you can say that they make up for it in the long haul once they are married, i.e., keep treating their wives nicely, whereas many nonmembers, having satisfied themselves physically, move on to beer and sports. In other words, their niceness is a facade that gets them where they want to go.

    Give Mormon guys a little more credit. I like to think that I was pretty darn romantic when dating and continue to be so now (though I am sure I could use improvement — as my wife is wont to assure me after a few long weeks at work).

    Daniel — June 21, 2005 @ 5:23pm
  16. Wow, Daniel. For a post refuting “a horrible generalization” you sure had quite a few in there.

    NFlanders — June 21, 2005 @ 5:33pm
  17. Add another to Davis’ trial of the SMM!

    The SMM is lazy about wooing women AND is overzealous about getting married.

    Eric Russell — June 21, 2005 @ 5:34pm
  18. I’m moving to Italy wih Anne.

    Susan M — June 21, 2005 @ 7:05pm
  19. NFlanders,
    touche. good point.

    Daniel — June 22, 2005 @ 9:10am
  20. Yeah, I’ll be the first to admit that as a mormon guy, I have no idea how to woo a woman. Here’s a little historical timeline of my messages I was receiving in my romantic life:

    Pre-Age 16: Mom: Don’t date.
    16 - 19: Mom: Date, but not seriously.
    19 - 21: Mission Prez: Don’t even look at a woman, I swear if you do, I’ll send you home.
    21 and Beyond: Everyone: Ok, get out there and find a woman and marry her!

    Where exactly in my life was I supposed to obtain the skills needed to woo and marry a woman?

    Erik — June 22, 2005 @ 11:28am
  21. Et tu, Septimus? I didn’t get to read your comment, but I assume it was calculated to humiliate and expose :) .

    Naomi Frandsen — June 22, 2005 @ 11:48am
  22. Steve in 11 is right, if we compare secular speed dating to “regular” Mormon dating ratios:

    non-Mormon: six minutes to judge a potential lifelong relationship
    Mormon: one or two dates to judge a potentially eternal relationship

    I think Mormons are definitely speedier.

    Justin H — June 22, 2005 @ 1:17pm
  23. Naomi–no no no, I’d never expose or humiliate you after that message you left for me in the other thread because fo that message I felt bad and deleted this one.

    SeptimusH — June 23, 2005 @ 3:03am
  24. Single Mormon women are lame and stupid and unattractive.

    Davis Bell — June 29, 2005 @ 2:20pm
  25. Ummm… Davis, don’t all Mormon wives start out as single mormon women? Obviously you haven’t seen Jenn. She is very intelligent and is outright gorgeous.

    Maybe Davis deems any woman that won’t go out with him as stupid. That pretty much would include all single mormon women.

    Hermey — June 29, 2005 @ 2:31pm
  26. Ummmm . . . Hermey, yes, they do And, ummmmm . . . . I was joking. I won’t venture an explanation.

    Davis Bell — June 29, 2005 @ 2:47pm
  27. bad joke

    Hermey — June 29, 2005 @ 10:53pm
  28. bad sense of humor

    Davis Bell — June 30, 2005 @ 5:32am
  29. Hermey,, thanks!

    Davis, you pig!! I knew you were joking, no worries :)


    Jenn — June 30, 2005 @ 8:40am
  30. Speed dating can be fun. Here, you’ll be able to meet interesting people. A lot of people are into speed dating these days. Although not everyone finds a perfect match in this activity, it is still worth it for the many people you meet. There’s nothing wrong in taking your chance. You’ll never know when luck knocks at you.

    bobbie — October 3, 2005 @ 7:52am
  31. A lot of people are into speed dating these days. This form of activity can be fun and interesting. It may not assure you to find a perfect match. But you can try your luck. Besides you can have the chance to meet new people and friends there. It’s worth the experience.

    Anna — October 18, 2005 @ 8:46am

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