Travel Lovers Speed Dating

That time I went speed dating…

I went to a travel lovers speed dating event...and...

Speed dating is still a thing. Apparently.

I mean, I know it was a big thing in 2003, maybe, before all this internet dating came about. But in an age of OK Cupid and Tinder, where you don’t even have to leave your couch to meet a man, where all you have to do to find someone interested in you is swipe one little index finger right, actually having forced conversations with a room full of strangers in a public place just seems like an anomaly.

But these are the kind of men I find on Tinder.

I matched with no one on the Tinder.

And these are the kind of men I meet in real life.









(See what I’m doing here?)









And so, I guess I’ll try anything.

Even if that anything involves dragging myself to a dank basement bar with moody music and seven men waiting to have micro-conversations with me.


When I agreed to this speed dating thing I kind of imagined some bright river north bar with lines of tables and man upon man waiting to be micro-interrogated.

But, no. There were seven men. Which I guess is OK, because, really, I can only say the same thing about myself so many times before wanting to crawl in a hole.

But it was also kind of weird because there were also seven women and, including me, I knew five of them.

Did I mention that was weird?


Travel Lovers Speed Dating


Speed dating might not have been my first choice for finding a date. I mean, I didn’t even know people did speed dating anymore. But a coworker was telling me about this event she was signed up for — speed dating for travel lovers — and I thought, “I travel!” And, “I want to meet men!” And so I invited myself along. And then panicked.

I mean, small talk isn’t exactly my favorite thing. But, hey, if there’s one thing I can talk about, it’s travel. Or, at least, if there’s one thing I can talk about more than most other things, it’s travel.

And, really, all I had to do was sit there drinking a rum and coke while the men went in a circle meeting us.

Easy. Kind of.


Travel Lovers Speed Dating

A rum and coke for the number one girl.


All of the guys were nice. Some, more attractive than others. Some, easier to talk to than others. Some, more my type than others.

Sometimes conversations flowed. Sometimes, it stifled. Sometimes I was bombarded with so many questions that my mind went blank. When one of them asked what my favorite food was you’d think I’d never had seen a morsel of anything edible before in my life. When another asked what I do for fun I had to scramble to think of anything other than “watch Netflix in bed.”

And when I heard a question wrong from a non-native English speaker I accidentally told him I’d never left the country before and, too embarrassed to back track, went with it.

But sometimes it was easier. After all, all those answers to all those famous backpacker questions are second nature to me now: where do you come from? Where have you been? Where are you going? Oh yeah, what’s your name?

And, in the end, I talked to seven men and survived. And even had fun.

The next day I went onto the website to choose my matches. I chose four of the seven guys. Only one I was kind of actually interested in, but the other three I at least felt were nice and that we could have a good conversation. So, what the heck, right?

And then I went back to the homepage where it showed me my matches.

And then I checked again the next day.

And then I checked again every day until the window of opportunity to pick closed.

And every time it was the same: zero. I got zero matches at speed dating.


I got zero matches at speed dating. Zero.


So I guess I just need to become a polygamist. Or a sub. Or a mistress.

One of those.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Ed Rex
    March 13, 2015at2:19 am

    I’d speed date you anytime., Maybe we can have #baddecisions along the way? 😉

  • Julia
    March 13, 2015at5:10 am

    Oh Lord. I’m just wondering what “head” the first Tinder guy is referring to….

  • Lindsay
    March 13, 2015at6:58 am

    I’ve seen some pretty horrific yet funny and ridiculous crap on Tinder. LOL!

  • Ali
    March 20, 2015at8:06 am

    Yikes! I don’t think I could handle speed dating. Or Tinder. You’re braver than me!

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