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Inside, it looked more or less like a restaurant preparing itself for regular dinner service (dim lighting, candlelit tables), rather than the morose, clinical vision I had concocted of name tags, clipboards, and other trappings of business conferences.People filed in one at a time and checked in with the hostess, who cleared their name from a list and handed them a card for keeping track of dates that night.If there are no matches, you’ll never know who liked you and vice versa -- somewhat akin to Tinder. There was the guy who just moved here from Texas who taught college courses online and was going to Venice for the summer because he could work from anywhere; the man who was raised by parents in the UN who spent his childhood in France, Morocco, Dubai, Rome, and about six other places; or the man who wasn’t physically my “type,” but who made me smile with his over-the-top laugh.Far from what I expected, the majority of guys I met were… The constant flow of visuals in front of my face was also kind of like swiping through Tinder... But here’s where speed dating is completely different (read: infinitely better) than Tinder and any other dating app -- it accounts for chemistry.
As New Yorkers, we’re constantly complaining that a city with over 8 million people can feel so ridiculously lonely.The majority of the daters at speed dating were new to the city, which makes sense -- you’re overwhelmed by the amount of people, you feel a little lost, and you want to meet someone easily.It’s hard to imagine longtime New Yorkers signing up for speed dating, but maybe the transplants have the right idea.After I was sure enough that the people at the restaurant were there for speed dating, I rose from the bar, took a seat on the ladies’ side of the tables, and waited for my first prospective match made in heaven. Women sit on one side of the table while men rotate from seat to seat in front of them. After five minutes, the men move to the next seat, and so on.After every “date,” you write down that person’s name on the card and rank them based on how likely you’d be to date them again.