Our guest correspondent Mary decided to see what it was like to speed date other geeks and nerds at New York Anime Festival/Comic Con. Here’s her exclusive, firsthand report. —Mike
Advertised as a free weekend activity for convention attendees over 18, New York Comic Con brought back speed dating for the second time at this geek-filled con. Since I am single, female, and have never speed dated before, I wanted to try this activity out. So even before the convention began, I registered for the event online at New York Comic Con’s website. It was a quick sign-up where I entered my name, email, age, and the time slot when I wanted to speed date. Afterwards I received a confirmation, and thus it became part of my Comic Con agenda.
After spending an entire day at the Javits Convention Center, I went to the room where the speed dating was held. There was a check-in table, where I was assigned a number for privacy purposes, and handed a paper and pen. The paper was to be my scorecard for this “Sci-Fi” Speed Dating. There were three columns on the score card: the first column was to mark down the corresponding number for the other person, the second was a description of the person, and third was to say yes or no.
While they were setting up the room, I found myself in line outside with the other female participants, while the males were on the opposite side. It seemed like there were more guys then girls overall, but there were more females who cosplayed than males. (I was one of the few female participants not cosplaying.) The girls were ushered into the room first, where there was a banner on the wall announcing the event’s name: “Sci-Fi Speed Dating.” The chairs were arranged in rows, pairs facing each other. The host had a good sense of humor, and he told the females that if we had any problems with an individual guy to raise an arm as if yawning. That would signal the end of that particular session.
All the pairing were random, as the guys went down the line and sat in the corresponding opposite chairs to the girls. The host called through a bull horn for the guys to move to the next chair when their time was up.
I was number 35, and feeling really nervous. In all I spoke with 22 other guys, for three minute sessions apiece. It was fun, but there were also moments of awkwardness. I distinctly remember that one question I was asked repeatedly was “Why are you attending Comic Con?” Sometimes I asked them the same question back. The responses I got were interesting, though often similar. There were a couple of guys I was interested in, but the three minute “dates” were quite short and superficial. Worse, my time slot was supposed to be two hours (8 to 10 pm on Saturday), but by 9pm, my session was cut abruptly short because they had to close the facility early.
At both ends of the room there were long rectangle tables with blank sheets of loose leaf paper. They were meant for participants to exchange emails with those they were interested in enough to keep in touch, at the end of the session. But while the sessions were entertaining, there seemed to be little possibility for long term romance/relationships to be found from them. Still, having gained some experience from this year’s speed dating, perhaps I’ll be ready for another round next year.