You know me — I’ve never really been shy to try any firsts. There’s just something so scary, adventurous and exciting about trying things for the first time.
Yesterday, I once again moved away from my comfort zone and tried another first.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, after holding out for N years, I’ve finally told myself, “Sure, why the hell not?”
On the upside, I get to make new friends especially in the Philippines where I have just arrived. And it’s also in support of the Grand Family Association which my family is part of. They need participants because most Filipino-Chinese are just shy people.
On the downside, well, there’s something taboo about speed dating. It can be nerve-wracking even for this extrovert but hey, at least I’d have stories to tell, right?
When I got there, I was surprised to see that there were over 100 people in the event. Around 45 guys and 45 girls sitting along four long rows.
The format is simple: Guys move around while the women sit. Everyone gets three minutes to make a first impression. If the reaction is positive, you’d tick “Yes,” and if not, just tick “No.”
Anyone with a matching “Yes” will be reconnected via email.
To prevent stalkers, you are not supposed to give out your surname or contact details (Note: My surname is kinda unique so it’s easily searchable via Facebook.
I did notice one thing — out of the 45 women, I am probably one of the three women who actually wore a dress and didn’t come in jeans and a shirt. My dress was of course, pink, and I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb.
Secondly, I was one of the taller women there, towering over even most men. Haha, that’s what you get when you wear heels. I don’t know how guys perceive women taller than them. Good thing I sat down most of the time.
Most people were looking around, scouring for the best-looking targets. I was simply nervous, and almost didn’t want to be there. I hated the superficiality of it all. As if you can find your mate by searching for the best looking person. Then again, who can blame them?
In my mind, I had several goals in mind.
- Find someone who can potentially be a business contact. We are renovating a unit and a building so we need contractors, engineers, architects, and real estate agents.
- Find someone who I can do stuff with. Top of mind, I am looking for a fellow wall-climber and someone who is interested to hike up Mount Pinatubo. I already feel sorry for dragging my brother around.
- Find someone I can have a mental connection with. Intellectual stimulation in the Philippines please! Woman or man, I’d like friends who are interested in the world. Who are happy to read and learn. Someone I can talk to and just “gets” it instead of worrying what his parents or what his people around him say.
- Find someone who is plain interesting. That means, he actually has interests. I don’t care if they are the same as mine so long as he has his own. He has his own thoughts and is willing to say it. Someone who actually has a personality. Someone who is his own person and isn’t shy to show it
“Ugh, guys here are so boring,” one lady number 11 said. She was prettier than most of the women here and maybe that’s why she has an attitude. I know this type of woman — she will probably only date guys she is physically attracted to. All other guys are then boring.
For the women, there were tons of lawyers, older women in their 30s, principals, and homebodies. Some also helped out with the family business but did NOT like working for the family. It was as if they didn’t have a choice.
And there was me.
Someone tall who is newly arrived, didn’t know her way around, observant, interested and in a pink dress.
“How do you describe yourself in one word?” one guy asked.
“Active,” I said.
It was true. Though physically, I wasn’t too active — for example, I’m not the person who would camp outdoors for a week straight as I still love my AC, thank you very much — my mind was. My heart was. And my spirit was.
I loved moving around, discovering things, trying things out for the first time.
I loved thinking about things, worrying about the world, and not really worrying about life.
It doesn’t make me laid back as I can be the most hard working person you’d ever see, but I have my head and priorities straight.
“How about you?” I asked.
“A homebody. I don’t like to do anything out of my comfort zone.”
Most of these guys are simple people with simple needs.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“My parents signed me up. They think I’m getting older and want me married,” was one reply.
“Eh, you’re like 30. You still have tons of time right?” I consoled him.
“Well, my dad is weird,” he answered. “All my friends think that my dad is weird.”
And here I was thinking that his dad is weirdly retarded or crazy. But I asked him why.
“I have a curfew,” he admitted.
“Hell, I have a curfew too!” I said. “That’s not weird…”
“Well, my curfew is at 5pm,” he clarified.
Eeeehhh… how are you going to get married if your curfew is at 5pm when everyone else gets off work from 6pm, and if you still listen to your parents at the age of 30?!
Anyway, there were tons of kids with controlling family backgrounds in the group. Guys who signed up because they were forced by their parents, or who want kids by any girl who says yes.
The problem is: Filipino-Chinese women, regardless of looks or stature, have a high opinion of themselves.
The overachievers, usually the lawyers and principals, who were usually not that hot-looking wanted to find someone who can blow their mind, highly successful and loves them too.
If they looked like models, that would’ve been been a reasonable request. Unfortunately, they weren’t. My brother said one was overweight that she needed a chair and a half. Sigh.
There were also the homebodies, who were highly dependent on their parents.
“God, they were boring,” my brother said. “Just say that you do sports. Anything! You’d be fine!”
Most of these women just love watching films, going to the mall. “What do you do in the mall?” my brother asked.
“Strolling,” they answered.
What the hell?
Where are the interesting people? The ones who have personalities?!
But all was not lost.
In the end, I was able to find 15 acceptable candidates out of the 45. A third isn’t bad.
The guys I didn’t check were:
- The guys who loves going to speed dating events because there’s nothing better to do. Whaaat? I’m so busy and you have nothing better to do than to go to these events?! Hearing that you like to do this for fun is a turn-off!
- The guys who checked every girl. I’m sorry but you should at least have standards.
- The guy who keeps on checking me out. Lustfully. My brother said one businessman from Binondo kept on getting distracted because of my dress. Uh, never seen a woman before?!
- The guy who seemed disinterested and didn’t want to be there. I know you are bored, but I am graciously giving you my time even if it’s only for three minutes. Can’t you give me yours too?
- The guys who can’t even look at me. Uh, where is the eye contact?! Can’t you even look at me straight?!
- The guys who tried too hard. It makes things kinda awkward and stalkerish.
I didn’t particularly tick the guys I was physically attracted to. In actuality, I’ve probably met cuter guys in London and Hong Kong than back in the event. But I did tick the guys who potentially were interesting, as follows:
One guy was a cook at a restaurant. He loved cooking. His signature dish was lamb shank. I told him I loved steak. Check!
The other guy loved everything outdoors. He wore a bright yellow shirt sort of like tweety bird. He was buffed and at least was smiling. He’s been everywhere and what intrigued me was he wall climbs! Check!
The other guy spent time abroad in Taiwan. Worked for a common friend of ours. Check!
The other guy had his own family business, but also took the leap and opened his own. He had smart ideas on business. Check!
The other guy was in events, had a bubbly personality, and knows how to dress better than just a tee and jeans. Check!
There was this guy who worked in sales for his dad’s hardware business. He LOVES to read. Reads all the DIY books. Can repair stuff. Looks quite young but I think he would be super interesting to talk to. Check!
Admittedly, I don’t think any of them as a romantic interest. Truth be told, I’ve met so many people, girls and guys alike, that in the end, all the names and faces just got blurred. I didn’t really care who I can keep in touch with.
However, I ticked them because it would be great to at least keep in touch and be friends with them. Which was the original reason I joined in the first place. 🙂
I felt that they were all interesting in their own way. So why not?
Anyway, it was a great experience.
At the very least, I have stories to tell on how my first speed dating event went. Worse case scenario, I’ve made a few good friends. Hopefully, I’ve made a lasting positive impression on some of the gentlemen too.
But would I ever join another speed dating event?
I would hate to meet guys I’ve seen yesterday AGAIN on the next event. That would be embarrassing. It’s okay to try it once but to do it again? Uh… no.
Secondly, I think that love is best left to blossom on its own time.
Sure, I did this event for the friendship. But if I was truly looking for a mate, I think that he would just come when the time is right.
Most of the married people I’ve met said that love is a force to be reckoned with. When it hits, there is nothing else that can stop it. “When it’s for you,” they said, “It’s really for you.”
And you know what?
I just can’t wait for the time that it happens. 🙂
C’est la vie! Seize the day!