I’ve discovered a new breed of speed dater: the ringer. The first time I thought it just one of the many strange aspects of the particular event I was attending. The location was usual– my speed dating buddy’s and my favorite leopard-printed basement. But when we arrived, we discovered that everyone else at the event was under 25 and black.
Being adventurous thirtysomething white girls, we plunged ahead. I was learning a lot about undergraduate life in New Jersey when I started to notice another commonality– all of these guys knew the organizer of the event (who turned out to work at Rutgers). In fact, they seemed a little mystified by how I had found about it. (I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t admit to them: I have a Google alert for speed dating in Philadelphia, so as not to miss another one of these.)
Then, one of the guys, in the context of telling me about his past relationship (um, yeah, another don’t say that), said, “I’m thinking about starting to date again sometime soon.” I pointed out to him that he was actually dating at that very moment, but it seemed clear that he and the other guys were there to help out their buddy, not find a relationship.
It could have been a one-off, except that a while later, it happened again at a more official event. After I confessed to being a veteran speed dater, a guy told me he was, too. He had come on a lark the first time, but more recently, the organizer had been calling him when he was short on guys, and offering to buy his drinks if he would speed date. How unfair. I speed date a lot, and end up with bar tabs and pitying looks (“How’d it go tonight?” that same organizer asked me while patting my back), while thanks to the speed dating gender imbalance, guys who do the same thing are making out! (And probably in both senses of the phrase!)