How to gain a guy in two minutes: speed dating at the College

Without a Goodrich party to turn to, I ventured to the Log on Valentine’s Day eve for speed dating, sponsored by All Campus Entertainment (ACE). Valentine’s Day is more like “Singles’ Awareness Day,” and for this one time during the year, all the singles that were ready to mingle congregated under one roof to bask in their freedom.

ACE President Jerusa Contee ’11 opened up the first speed dating round. She announced that one of her friends met her boyfriend of seven years at Valentine’s Day Speed Dating. What happened after those seven years, none of us know, but that didn’t matter. Immediately, I could tell the pressure was on. I had two minutes with each of Williams’ most eligible bachelors to make my mark (as if my new tacky, plastic green heart ring provided by ACE wasn’t enough).
For every potential match, ACE would provide a free coffee date at Tunnel City. One enthusiastic bachelor across the hall inquired if there was a limit to the number of dates one could go on. Apparently there wasn’t. Something makes me think this guy will end up with a special someone, or at least be hyper-caffeinated if he sadly ends up alone.

I began to ask my fellow speed-daters what brought them to this lovely event and, not surprisingly, these singles covered it up. Whether it was an entrymate who told them they should go together, a friend who ended up bailing at the last minute or a petty excuse to avoid work, these daters seemed almost afraid to strut their stuff in this setting. I informed them that in addition to looking for “the one,” I was writing this article.

My first date, Sam Rashin ’13 – also known as mystery bachelor No. 35 – exclaimed in agony, “You are using me!” Sadly, I couldn’t fully deny that statement.

Zach Padovani ’11 also was surprised to hear about my ulterior motives. “You have the excuse [for speed dating] of doing research for an article!”
Ultimately, Rashin moved past his initial dismay and proceeded to inquire about my feelings about long walks on the beach. Of course, I approve. Rashin, too, enjoys them. “Not too long though,” he said, “just 1.5 to 1.8 miles.” Rashin tempered his statement, noting, “I’m not a romantic.”

The two minutes were up and, since I remained without an instant soul mate, I had to continue my search. Chris Picardo ’13 was the next lucky guy to step up to the plate. He wanted to clarify that he was solely at speed dating in “an official capacity” as concert chair for ACE. Yet another excuse for wanting to have a good time, I’d say. “This shows there are a lot of desperate guys,” he added.

Next up were Jelani Medford ’14 and then his roommate, Rob Carnes ’14. This dynamic duo decided to tag-team in exploring the unknown territories of speed dating. Medford was first. We got through the typical small talk only to realize we went to rival high schools and he knows my cousin. If you thought the purple bubble was small, welcome to the world of New York City prep schools.
These roommates were really talkative and fun, but the time ran out as Carlos Dominguez ’13 took a seat across from me. I started our discussion by asking why he decided to speed date.

Whereas all other potential mates created an excuse, Dominguez addressed the issue bluntly. “I’m here because it is Valentine’s Day and I hate Valentine’s Day,” he said. I pressed him on this statement and we delved into his life story with the remaining 90 seconds. His best friends are all in relationships and are celebrating this classic Hallmark holiday.

I asked, “Bitter much?” Dominguez replied in the affirmative.

With that sad ending, Azd Al-Kadasi ’13 came to the rescue and immediately jumped into a serious round of questioning. It all developed from his conversation starter: He proposed, “Will you marry me?” Supposedly this topic was his go-to for all of speed dating. What a champ.

He continued to ask the hard questions, “What is your passion?” I gave a heart-felt response, explaining my love for politics and journalism. I reciprocated to find out about his personal passion. “I don’t have one. That’s why I am asking everyone,” Al-Kadasi said.

All the Ephs who attended this fantastic ACE adventure shared a defining characteristic: They were all really outgoing by nature. Stewart Stewart ’14 (yes, the same first and last name) juggles and rides a unicycle. Greg Payton ’14 is a townie and a football player. Chih McDermott ’13 took a semester off to live in a zen monastery in California. Alex Scyocurka ’14 spent his post-graduate year without Internet access after 11 p.m. None of us shared those common experiences, but somehow all Ephs have a baseline of shared values that can spark conversation for well beyond the two minutes allotted at the Log on Sunday. Some Ephs wrote down their ideal matches and we’ll see soon enough if two minutes was enough find a soul mate. While each Eph has his or her own quirks, it was promising to see that the College’s most eligible bachelors are not as few or far between as we may imagine.