How fast can you find your match?

Speed-dating offers people a more time-efficient way to meet potential mates, professor says

Campus Kings held their first speed-dating event last Wednesday evening at Alfie’s with 75 attendees.
Campus Kings held their first speed-dating event last Wednesday evening at Alfie’s with 75 attendees.
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The dating pool can be a deep, dark, scary place, yet singles continue to dive in looking for someone special. We’ve all heard there are more fish in the sea, but after a while without a catch, you may want to consider changing your methods.

In the late ’90s, the Beverly Hills Jewish singles scene faced that problem. To encourage and facilitate intrafaith dating, Rabbi Yaacov Deyo invented speed-dating.

A night of speed dating lasts, on average, an hour and a half—about the length of a dinner date. But, instead of sitting down with just one potential mate, participants rotate through 20 or more other speed-daters for mini-dates lasting three to five minutes each. After a signal, such as the ringing of a bell or a change in the music, the couples switch and move on to another date. At the end of the evening, speed daters write down the names of people they’re interested in seeing again. If both participants listed each other as an interest, the organizers exchange those participants’ contact information.

Caroline Pukall, a psychology professor at Queen’s who teaches a course on human sexuality, said speed-dating fits in perfectly with today’s fast-paced society.

“It’s consistent with the whole idea that everything these days has to happen quickly,” she said. “If you have a problem, there should be a quick fix, and if you’re looking for someone you should be able to find them relatively quickly.”

Speed-dating broadens the chances of meeting someone special by saving you time, Pukall said.

“You have the freedom to pick and choose,” she said. “So that aspect is a lot more time-saving than meeting people and spending a few hours with each person before deciding that it’s not really going to work.”

Although many people are skeptical that they can accurately gauge their compatibility with someone after just a few minutes, Pukall said first impressions are more telling than you might think.

“Within three to eight minutes you can essentially say whether you think this person is a match or not, and studies have come out showing that people are very good at making these kinds of decisions quickly,” she said. “I’ve heard great, great success stories from people who essentially would not meet other people if it were not for this extension of the dating venue.”

However, for Ali Charette, ArtSci ’09, the stigma of speed-dating is enough to keep her at home.

“I wouldn’t want to go out of my way to meet someone like that,” she said.

Charette said she thinks the atmosphere of speed-dating, with its forced couplings, would be more awkward than helpful.

“I don’t think I’d be very comfortable,” she said. “I’m a pretty awkward person.”

In the past, Queen’s Project for International Development (QPID) ran an annual speed-dating event. Linda Jiang, QPID’s internal fundraising co-ordinator, said this year QPID has discontinued their speed-dating fundraiser in favour of something easier—selling “Love Packages” of baked goods and flowers.

Filling the gap in Queen’s Valentine’s Day speed-dating scene is Campus Kings, an organization started this year to help introduce Queen’s students to Kingston.

Campus Kings held a speed-dating event last Wednesday evening at Alfie’s.

Ian Macdonald, Comm ’09, is the president and founder of Campus Kings. He said their speed-dating event was the first event the group has run together.

Macdonald said speed-dating is a difficult event to organize because in order to have a successful event, you need to have an even number of people so no one’s left out.

“This [was] our first event together as a team,” he said.

“Speed-dating is tough.”

Macdonald said there were about 75 people at the event, which included a talk by dating guru Zac Perrion, author of the bestselling book The Game, as well as the speed-dating rotation. He said the speed-dating lasted for about 35 minutes, with everyone getting 10 dates.

Macdonald said Perrion gave the participants some tips in conversation before the evening began. There were also bowls of questions on each table, to help out anyone who got nervous or couldn’t think of anything to say.

“It went really well,” he said. “We had a lot of people come up to us afterward and say that they had a really good time.”

According to Macdonald, the structured nature of speed-dating is what distinguishes it from other singles’ events.

“It’s a bit more formalized. Rather than just standing in a room and then approaching, you’re set up with someone,” he said.

Although Macdonald didn’t have stats on how many couples were successfully matched up, he said a lot of the speed-daters stayed around to mingle after the session was over.

Although speed-dating is generally associated with an older crowd, Macdonald said age doesn’t really matter as long as you know what you’re getting into.

“I think as long as people go into it knowing that it is speed-dating, it doesn’t matter how old you are.”

—With files from Angela Hickman

Vegan-friendly sex products

When concerned about the animal-friendliness of sex products, making a conscientious product decision can depend on your definition of vegetarian and veganism, said Sexual Health Resource Centre Director Kat Heintzman. Depending how careful you want to be, the options available can be limiting.

Questions about animal testing can also arise and can be harder to resolve. Although some products can guarantee animal testing has never been done, products such as hormonal birth control or spermicides—or parts of them—have usually been tested on animals.

“It becomes a personal values judgement,” Heintzman said.

Here are some of the vegetarian, vegan and generally animal-friendly products available.

Lubrication: If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly lube, look for one without glycerine on the ingredients list.

Animal bones are often used in filtering sugars, so some vegans will only eat raw sugars, Heintzman said. The Slippery Stuff is a lube sold at the Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC) that doesn’t contain glycerine.It is available for $5.50.

Condoms and dental dams: Heintzman said vegan condoms—which don’t contain casein, a dairy protein used in the process of making latex—can be difficult to find in North America but are available from the company Glyde. The SHRC sells Glyde dental dams for $1, Heintzman said, adding that the company’s condoms can be purchased online at condomscanada.com for $9.95 for a box of 10.

One other concern, Heintzman said, is the type of lubricant on condoms. There’s no way to know the ingredients in the lube, so if you’re looking for a vegan-friendly product, she suggested getting non-lubricated condoms.

Sex toys:

Whips are often made from animal products, such as leather and suede. Although vegan- and vegetarian-friendly materials are available—such as rubber or rope—these alternatives can often be harsher and harder to control, Heintzman said.

“You have to be very, very careful,” she said, recommending that if interested, people should shop at stores specifically for kink products where knowledgeable salespeople can help recommend safe selections.

The SHRC sells vegetarian-friendly kink products, such as the cloth and nylon under-the-bed restraint kit, sold for $35. Heintzman said the SHRC also sells a silicone, vegan-friendly alternative to a leather cock ring. They cost $15 and $6.50 respectively.

Lisa Jemison

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