March 24, at 6: We had planned several weeks in advance in order to split travel and board costs, and were it not for this commitment I would not have attended.
This is not to say Fan Expo is generally a negative experience. In fact it is normally a lot of fun. For personal reasons I was in a particularly ornery mood and was worried I would ruin the trip for everyone else.
I spent most of the first day of the three day event wandering around on my own, and it was during this period that an event on the schedule caught my eye: Super Sonic Speed Dating.
I had heard of the concept before. People are assigned numbers and then change partners every two minutes or so. The idea is that everyone can get a sense for who the other person is, to decide if they want to meet again at another time.
And at the prompting of several of my friends who were already completely over my sour mood, I decided to sign up. There were two people at the Super Sonic Speed Dating table when I arrived to sign up, a man in streets clothes and a woman cosplaying D. They informed me that there would be several different sessions available throughout the weekend with half of them designated straight and half of them LGBTQ. It turns out their company is based out of Utah and they travel to conventions all over North America to offer speed dating tailored towards nerds.
As a rule, men pay 20 dollars and women get in for free. He later pulled me aside and told me that everyone who signed up for LGBTQ speed dating paid 15 dollars. As the straight speed dating was the one scheduled to happen that night I put my name down and waited to see who else was going to show up.
Before long, men and women began to trickle in. When everyone who had signed up in advance arrived, they brought us into a room full of lines of chairs set up to face each other. We were then each given a number, a piece of paper, and a pen, and they told us the rules: This was honestly really comforting. One of the things I had wondered going in was how they would take measures to protect women from particularly creepy guys.
This included three men who looked like they had just left volleyball practice before heading over, several more in cosplay who seemed unable to make eye contact, one of whom was much too excited for what was about to happen and another who was all too eager to tell me all about his original Dungeons and Dragons character, whom he was dressed as.
There were noticeably fewer women present, and a glance told me that they all had a more discerning eye than the men. Probably chalk it up to the same reasons as why men and women use tinder differently. Interestingly, the woman in cosplay who had been at the table when I signed up was among them. I later learned that they usually have up to three times as many men sign up as women, which is why they let women sign up for free. We exchanged a look and she quietly told me she was from Victoria.
I told her I was too. Once everyone rotated through, the two sides were brought to opposite ends of the rooms where tables were set up with sheets of paper on them. The papers had numbers matching everyone we had just speed dated. This was our chance to give contact information to anyone we wanted to meet again. I put my cell number down on a few sheets of paper and was given a sheet contact information from seven people I had spoken to. As for me and the cool-eyed girl: We met for coffee the following day, and ended up spending most of the weekend together.
It turns out we had more in common than either of us initially guessed, and we are still close now several months later. For my verdict on speed dating: