While preparing for this post- and attempting to arrange my thoughts- I decided to research the History of Speed-Dating. When and why did it start, and by whom?
The concept of a formalized matchmaking-process or dating-system with the sole aim of encouraging people to meet a large number of new people within a relatively short space of time seemed nothing short of genius! It couldn’t have been anything other than an invention by and for the modern time-constrained man.
Humans; we logical beings seem rather illogical at times, I find. You see, it’s either we invest our all into chasing money, in order to give us the financial wealth needed to enjoy our spare-time (that is, the little time that is left once we take a break from chasing the dream) doing the things we actually enjoy doing; or we enjoy the gift of time, but lack the luxury of filling this with memorable activities (and yes, you guessed it) due to limited resources. And although some joker once came up with the phrase Time is Money, the truthful ones among us know that the chasing of the latter- more often than not- meant the loss of the former. For the greatest part it was a zero-sum game, after-all. But did it have to be?
Relationships too are not exempt from this struggle, strife, ordeal. On the contrary! For a relationship to be successful, you need both time and ample amounts of monies. But how do you strike the balance? How do you work and love? Or even better, how do you find love while working?
(Of course there are those who simply enjoy life and love, who have managed to keep making money by simply breathing in air and letting gases out, and hence apparently enjoy satisfying relationships but for the purpose of this post we shall consider them non-humans.)
So, anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to trace the origins of SpeedDating back to Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, who found that young people simply needed a safe and purposeful environment to forge friendships and form relationships that would eventually lead to marriage. It had godly roots.
What he did was to look at your current situation (single-hood) and devise a rather fantastic short-cut to getting you out of there, right to where you’d rather be (unsingled). In a way taking you from A to Z without making you walk down the entire alphabet. Quite the nerd he must have been, you see, for the concept worked; well, works.. for the most part, that is.
Sometimes things are simply different. Don’t ask me why.
Sometimes they simply are because we make them so.
I wondered: if indeed the idea of speed-dating was to meet people and communicate with a handful of potential partners (or even the fortunate one!) why was it that- although you voluntarily decided to show up (whether your parents and/or friends convinced you to attend such an event is irrelevant)- you put stumbling blocks on your own walk down the aisle.
What say I?
Well, during my first/last speed-dating event I realized just how much I stood out. Of the 13 guys I dated, I had an amazing time laughing and joking with about 10 of them. Not very selective, you think? Well, maybe not. I was having the time of my life. I was determined to. Unless you were an outright foo*, I’d talk to you.
But, why was I the only lady having a blast? Laughing and being laughed at? Why was it that the guys were cool, nice to converse with, chilled; but the ladies seemed to be struggling? Or was it my perception? Perhaps a deception? What was it that made all those other girls frown, keep an eye on their watch, disinterested?
One of the guys was half-Russian and had just moved back to Nigeria.
Another one had schooled in Madrid and was now into film-making.
Another one, William, looked like Will.I.Am and was a physiotherapist. The Spaceship-boy, was pursuing his passion of photography.
A Philly-boy, who had schooled in London and lived in Vienna for a year shared his fondest memories of his time there with me.
A cute but short guy recognized me as being my sisters’ sister: he had never met me, yet knew my entire family!
Another tall (really bearded guy) was into teaching self-defence and selling teasers and pepper-sprays.
I felt like a kid in a candy-store. There were way too many beautiful faces, sharing exciting stories.
And so I though to myself, “Even if nothing romantic comes out of this, I’ve met some amazing people tonight!”
The other women did not seem to share my excitement.
One hissed at a guy who had wanted to borrow her pen to take a note.
Another pretended the guy seated right opposite her, wasn’t really there at al.
Yet another kept looking and smiling at her previous date, showing no concern for the gentleman whose date-time it was now.
I was bewildered..
What was it these girls had seen that I hadn’t? What was it they knew that I didn’t?
Was there perhaps a train of information that had not yet reached me?
What was it that made the women look away disinterestedly, eye rudely, speak harshly?
What was it I had failed to recognize, see, understand?
And then it hit me: the reason my conversations were flowing, were fun, exciting and always too short, were because I was simply trying to get to know the other, while staying true to being me.
No forming, no shakara-ing, no posing, no acting.. simply and purely being 100% me.
This has always perfectly worked for me.
I was involuntarily taken back to being called refreshing, a breath of fresh air; which now- more than ever before in my entire life- made sense.
I think more here in Lagos, than anywhere else, do I understand why guys might feel a bit intimidated by women. Unsure of approaching her, toasting her:
Truth is, the typical Nigerian babe has a mouth filled with double-edged swords; ready to lash out, destroy, humiliate, finish you.
Oh, and she has eyes that can literally kill (a man’s self-confidence). I think it’s even harder for fine boys, as they seem to have a bit more to loose.
I don’t know. But women, I was not impressed!
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t really until much later in the evening, upon returning home and discussing the night’s events with my sister, that I realized what had transpired.
How Nigerian women were simply not friendly! Full-stop. How there was no excusing or rationalizing it.
Seeing as speed-dating really is about little time, who has time for shakara?
This will be news to some, but believe me when I say you really don’t have to be rude just because you don’t want to date someone. No, really!
I mean, whatever happened to courtesy, manners, being friendly, treating others with respect simply because they deserve to be respected? Oh, and yes, every single human being walking the earth does.
In a society where women who walk up to guys are thought to be working, and being feisty is somewhat frowned upon, ladies, please let’s not make it too difficult for those bold men who brace themselves and holla at us! It’s called, being approachable. It’s painful enough to be rejected, let’s not make it unbearable. One can always say No with a smile.
And a No to romance must not necessarily equal a No to friendship.