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Talk Fast, Be Charming

The two key tenants of speed dating as I understand them, are as follows...

When I ponder and puzzle about the game of chess, my first impulse isn’t to auto-think it should be a lightning-fast game. Chess, like art, takes time. It’s calculated and methodical. The concept of speeding through a game of chess in a matter of mere minutes really feels like it takes all the narrative drama and intimate intrigue right outta it. Although, I do genuinely find niche-joy in the onomatopoeic sound of one’s own palm rapidly slapping their side of the speed clock, in order to adrenaline-fuel-spike it back hard to their opponent across the chasm-gameboard-way.

First dates are a weird beast. They can be absolutely wonderful, horrendously average, or even in some cases downright atrocious. Good, bad, or ugly, they can be sometimes difficult, and a tickle or two, too confusing. Then add the spanner of a chess-clock to the works. Good luck not stress-sweating through your pretty top now.

Speed dating is a lot like speed chess. It’s fast, fun, exciting, but also feels wholly antithetically backwards to the entire prospective enterprise at hand. Upon sittng down at the table across from your date, you’ve got seven minutes. No more, no less. You know your worth. You know you’re the best person in the room. Hey, if you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else will. Even though you know that you’re the best, the people you’re currently courting need to know that too. How exactly are you supposed to stand out from the rest of the hopelessly romantic crowd?

Simple, you gotta play chess, while everyone else is playing checkers.

What are you even supposed to talk about, though? I wouldn’t ever suggest politics or religion, but I definitely wouldn’t ever suggest both simultaneously together in unholy dual union of yuck. Granted, if you and your expeditious potential paramour conveniently align in the two big off-limit taboo convos, maybe that’ll save you time to skip all the pretense and BS. I appreciate a person who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Small talk is the bane of my existence. Maybe you can both bond over how much you hate small talk. There’s a start. Every great relationship was born from the mutually shared hatred of something debatably trivial in the grand scheme of things. Change my mind. Those who hate together, stay together... wait, that didn’t come out right...

Self-care is important. Now you don’t have to necessarily blow your whole hard-earned blood-sweat-n-tears-paycheck on a fancy-pants new outfit. But it sure is important to at least make an honest effort. Honestly. Wear something you know Tan France would Queer Eye-approve of. Take a shower and have fresh breath. Having gum on hand helps. Personally speaking, I think I look rather dashing and devil-may-care while busy masticating. Depends on whom you ask, though as mileage may vary.

The two key tenants of speed dating as I understand them, are as follows:

1) Talk Fast

2) Be Charming

Well, I’m pretty good at both of those things.

Ask people about themselves, but don’t make it overly invasive, like you’re a bitter and grizzled cop going hard in the sweatbox, against a sassy, supercilious suspect. You can’t be too intense, but you also can’t be too boring, clinical, and passionless. Like a dead-end Y2K office job.

Pro-tip: Have a nuclear stockpile of jokes prepared and ready to fire off at any moment. If you can make the other person laugh, then you’re pretty much in. Being a funny person is legit the biggest of all possible green flags. If you can find someone who has a similarly dark and twisted sense of humour as you, then that’s like half the battle to a long-term stable relationship fought and won right there. If you don’t find the same things funny, it won’t work and never will.

Need a good icebreaker? My tried-and-true cherry-popping hypothetical quandary is almost always: “Alright, so the zombie apocalypse happens—what’s your weapon of choice-- and why?” Almost always gets an initial laugh. Check. Seems like a seemingly innocuous question, right? It’s actually secretly an idiot-savant-MENSA-level genius-vibe-check. Does the person opposite you have a similar thought process? If the undead do actually take over and walk the earth, is this a person whom you could actually survive the end of the world with? Or would they just be a brief meat-shield of a fling, onto somebody better?

If you’re at a loss for what to banter about, people almost always love talking about their ink. But please, I beg you, don’t ask them “WhAt’s ThE mEaNiNg BeHiNd YoUr TaTtOo?”, because that’s always super annoying. Ask more interesting and/or humorous questions, such as: “Which one hurt the most?” or “Which one took the longest to do?” You’ll thank me later.

Do you have good chemistry? Speed dating in seven-minute increments is a very easy way to gage this key lovely factor. If you know, you know. Despite your best efforts, you might not be the right fit together. And that’s okay too. Forcing two puzzle pieces into sad synchronicity that don’t fit, is an exercise in utter game night futility.

While a seven-minute date might seem like no time at all, if you and the person across from you aren’t #COUPLEGOALS, then that seven minutes can feel like seven lifetimes. Somebody put me outta my misery already. There’s nothing worse than carrying the brunt of a conversation with someone whose conversational style is at best-- monosyllabic, and at worst-- the silent film era rebirth of the muted Cro-Magnon. Atlas himself had an easier time carrying the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. Eeeesh.

Unfortunately, in The Game of Hearts, there are no easy answers. It’s a whole lot of self-navigation in emotional trial and error. You’ll laugh, you’ll love, you’ll scream, and you’ll cry. You won’t always get it right, but when you do, all the times you didn’t will pale in comparison.

I dunno about you, but I think maybe all speed-dating really needs, is just a bit more clock-slapping.


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