As you might guess from the list, a good number of the woman were cosplayers; their costumes tended to dominate my conversations because they were super easy conversation starters. Of course, as expected at a convention like Awesome Con, many of the women were interested in various shows and comics and told me things about them. For instance, I learned that I should watch Supernatural, but only through the fifth season. After that, according to F30, the show gets really bad.
I also made some interesting to me observations about how physical proximity affected my and attraction to and interest in particular women.
With nearly 40 conversations taking place in such a small space, I found it rather difficult to hear many of the women across whom I was seated. With some of them, I was able to lean in closer in order to hear them better, and I noted that I tended to have much more positive feelings about those women after our three minutes concluded.
Which isn't to say that these instances weren't also awkward -- with one woman in particular I felt as if I was preparing to tunnel into her cleavage every time I dropped my eyes to write on my card -- but in general awkwardness is a more positive feeling than rejection. Some other women, however, were seated with one leg crossed atop their laps or were otherwise positioned such that I couldn't move forward without feeling like I was rudely encroaching upon their personal space, which both barred me from moving closer and gave me a general impression of standoffishness on their parts.
If I'd had more time to pay attention, I'd have been curious to see whether those women sat like that the entire time or whether it was something they did to indicate their particular lack of interest in me. Not that I was entirely innocent in that respect; I noticed that, with some women, I was more inclined to lean back in my chair than move forward.
Now, in those instances it was partly because I had less trouble hearing them, but did my leaning back also stem from an subconscious lack of attraction? As I moved down the rows and especially once the dating rounds ended, I wrote check marks next to all of the women with whom I'd have liked to continue a conversation. Aside from the one check mark indicated because it was all I wrote, I've left that information off of the above list.
I wrote lots of check marks. Speed dating is weird in that it seems to suppose that one can get a good feel for a person in three minutes, or at least determine whether that person might be good dating material. And maybe that's how it works for most people. But, for my part, I can talk to almost anyone for more than three minutes -- and I would have been glad to continue chatting with most of those women whether dating was in the cards or not.
So I wrote my name and e-mail address on a lot of sheets, and I probably would have written it on more if I hadn't been overwhelmed by the tornado of guys furiously sorting through sheets and scribbling down their info during that portion of the event.
Really, the main deterrent in terms of whether I wrote my name on a sheet was the perceived ages of the participants. While the sex of my interlocutors was consistent, their ages ranged from very young DP and Supergirl seemed fresh out of high school to well into middle age and possibly beyond. In case you read my note for F19 and thought I was salivating at the prospect of a recently legal conquest, I wrote that after learning that the woman had a daughter in college.
I don't know how old the men were, but, at 33, I honestly get the feeling I was among the older guys in my group -- and that might have made a difference concerning the answer sheets. As mentioned far above and in parentheses, I left the event before most of the guys got their sheets back -- so I don't know how I did in comparison -- but only four women gave me their contact details, which honestly left me feeling pretty dejected.
Out of 34 women only four thought I was worth talking to for more than three minutes? I tucked the sheet into my backpack and left. I felt especially bad when the reason for my leaving was a bust: I'd hoped to catch one of the celebrity guests before the con ended that night, but the guests had already departed by the time I made it back to the exhibit hall. So I had lost my opportunity to meet someone I kinda admire and had spent the evening having largely superficial truncated conversations with women who clearly didn't think much of me.
I felt a bit better when, on the Metro ride home, I looked more closely at my list and compared it to my notes -- the four who gave me their contact info were actually my four favorites they'd gotten the hardly coveted double check marks -- but I still had no idea if anything would come of it. Remember, a substantial number the articles on this site are Dollar Tree product reviews. If you're a woman and can attend for free, I highly recommend trying Sci-Fi Speed Dating -- if nothing else, it'll be an interesting experience.
For guys, particularly at a convention with so many other outlets vying for your dollars, I'm less inclined to recommend the event. Yes, you will almost certainly have an interesting time chatting with the various women in attendance.
But you'll also be at a convention where you could just as easily hone your social skills by chatting up attendees standing in line or vendors selling adorable plushies or volunteers holding direction signs.
Moreover -- I'll say it again -- the event itself doesn't justify the cost. Everything good about the event had to do with the women in attendance none of whom was paid to be there, except perhaps F39, who actually was affiliated with Sci-Fi Speed Dating and everything bad about the event save the lack of guaranteed connection had to do with how it was run -- which is ostensibly what our dollars were paying for.
In fact, while speed dating might make for a bunch of funny excerpts to cut together for a television show, it doesn't seem like an ideal way to foster connections between people. I'd probably throw a singles mixer combined with one of those info-scavenger hunts we used to have to fill out during school field trips to museums; attendees could be allowed to mingle as they liked so long as they were able to write down three facts about every member of the opposite sex in attendance.
It's just an idea -- and I'm sure there would be kinks that needed to be worked out -- but it might be more effective than Sci-Fi Speed Dating. And we could have snacks, which could potentially justify whatever cost we charged. Finally -- while I keep reading about how caring the host came across to female participants though I don't know if we had the same host; these events take place at multiple conventions and aren't always staffed by the same people -- I really didn't like how he treated the guys.
My first encounter with him was when, after talking to the women, he came to meet the men waiting in the hall with these words: If that bothers you, leave now. Ladies, if you're just here looking to get laid -- take your pick!!! I think it's the reason that the cost doesn't show up on any promotional materials.
And, insofar as there's any truth to it, it could be the reason so few men who attend are willing to publicly cop to their participation. The host sees the men who go in for Sci-Fi Speed Dating as pathetic cretins who will pay whatever he charges out of sheer desperation -- but who, for reasons of cowardice or whatever other deficiencies render them so pitiful that they need to undertake speed dating at a geeky convention to find connections in the first place, might back out if they know about the price beforehand.
He might have seemed compassionate to the women, but he was an exploitative bully to the men -- particularly when he paused during the speed dating to angrily bitch out the men for not lighting fires under their asses at the precise second he called time. Of course -- for all I know -- the guy was just having a bad day. Time -- and thankfully more time than three minutes -- will tell.