Yesterday evening, I went to an event at HousingWorks Bookstore called, “I Like Your Glasses,” a literary speed-dating event. I heard about the event via their Twitter a while back and decided, why not? After buying my ticket and signing up, we had to email the lovely coordinators our favorite book and the book we are currently reading.
How this worked: We showed up with a book (any book! I brought what I am currently reading - The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying), and were given a nametag with a fictional name. Since I listed “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig as my favorite book, I was “Zen” for the night. I was given a card to jot down notes on all my dates. My system was: two checks if I definitely wanted to meet the person again for more than four minutes, one check if maybe, and a scribbly “maybe” if it was super iffy. It was more or less all I had time to do in the minute we had between dates.
(I love-love-love the concept of using a library card! Such a nice touch. Can anyone tell me what Howard’s End is a literary reference to?)
I was told that there were 94 people total. Initially, everyone was assigned to a station. The women remained seated, and all the gentlemen moved one seat to their left at the end of each date. In total, we all met fourteen people for four minutes each. I had a date with a “Gregor,” as well as “Holden.” (“Gregor” listed “The Metamorphosis” as his favorite book, and “Holden” “Catcher in the Rye” — he told me only ONE person couldn’t guess that correctly.) As for matches, we could email people who we’d want to follow up with to the coordinator.
All in all, I had a blast! I really think books bring people together (sometimes I make conversation with next to me at bookstores about whatever book they decided to pick up, or talk to people who are reading things I’ve read / want to read on the subway). I don’t find meeting people stressful at all, although by the end, my throat was sore (it was hard talking over 45+ other conversations) and I was a little sleepy (it ended at around 9, which is only an hour and a half shy of my normal, granny bedtime). I feel like literary speed dating attracted a certain group of people, that is - there was a high concentration of very well-read individuals in a room (not a bad thing since my ideal partner should be excited about reading).
Compared to my experiences with online/real world dating, I feel like I have a much better idea of a person by the end of an entire date. Four minutes of harried conversation with a person is not too reflective in my opinion, but it is certainly way better than browsing through OKCupid profiles that start off the same exact way. Will I do something like this again? Most likely, once I regain my voice and energy to socialize.