On Wednesday night, over a hundred undergraduates braved the blizzard conditions and made their way to Silliman dining hall in search of true love. Or if not true love, at least someone with whom to share five minutes of awkward conversation.
The speed dating event was organized by the Ivy Council and sponsored by GoodCrush, a Web site which allows Yalies to identify their “crushes” in the hopes that their interest is reciprocated. A featured Sex Week event, it operated as a typical speed dating service: Two people shared a five minute conversation, swapped e-mail addresses and then moved on to the next partner. At the end, students indicated whether they were interested in any partners, and they will be notified if there are any mutual matches.
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The awkwardness commences. The “date” hasn’t officially started yet, so he uncomfortably averts his eyes, taking in the scenery until it is clear that some conversation has to occur. “So … uh … what’s your major?” Somewhat stilted conversation follows, punctuated by gaps of silence. He seems to sense a connection and issues an invitation to “listen to him play the piano sometime.” Somewhere in the distance, a man shouts, “TIME’S UP!”
After introductions, it’s clear that no “spark” is there. However, he’s quite capable of keeping the conversation flowing, and the date passes without too many “ums” or “wells.” He shares information about his activities and asks sincere questions. Perhaps a friendship in the fut— “TIME’S UP!”
It seems impossible to finish a “date” without resorting to academic discussion. This go-getter explains how difficult it is to convey his academic program on a resume. He has what seems like the most complicated major possible at Yale: political science with a focus on economic policy and a concentration in international — “TIME’S UP!”
Oh no. The “uhs,” “ums” and “wells” have reached a whole new level. Finally, he comes up with something original: “Would you rather be Santa Claus or a pirate for the rest of your life?” Enough said. Two minutes later someone yells for time.
The date begins normally — name, college, year, hometown … he’s from Singapore. Discussing his background takes up most of the allotted time, and generates by far the most interesting date of the night. Once again, no sparks, but at least he’s entertaining to talk to. “TIME’S UP!”
This efficiency expert suggests getting the “interview questions” out of the way. Well, sure, good idea, but unfortunately that cuts off any opportunity to use the boring questions to lead to more exciting discussion. Unsurprisingly, by the time the date is over, no inspiring dialogue has blossomed.
So this table yielded no love. But speed daters had the opportunity to move to another table once they’d sampled all the offerings at the first. And while this reporter went home alone, maybe some other Yalies found a Valentine’s date. If not, there’s always GoodCrush.