Monday, November 7, 2011

NYCC 11: My quick spin on Con Speed Dating

As you may remember, I wrote about the opportunity of Speed Dating at NYCC. Well, I decided to give it a shot myself and see who I might meet.

It was a crazy scene to walk into but mostly because there were lines for multiple events in the same spot. As a woman, I was immediately registered and asked to wait with the other women. Rule 1 of Con Speed Dating: Too many boys, not enough girls. Guys, that means you should pre-register if you want a shot. Girls, you can just show up and get in. Everyone is assigned a number (I was 13), and heads in to meet their prospective geeks.

I would like to commend Lighting Fast Speed Dating on how they treated everyone there. Ryan, the head of LFSD, was very kind and understanding while being entertaining. In my group, three lesbians came to take part and rather than turn them away for lack of numbers, Ryan set them up in a small speed dating session. For all the women, he also made sure that if we felt the guys were being inappropriate, we could let him know with a secret sign. All of these things made me feel just a little more comfortable.

People of every geek persuasion were there. I talked with a Boba Fett, a Wash, and just an ordinary fanboy in a matter of minutes. There were also a few anime costumes but not being an anime person, I have no idea who they were. Even without knowing anime, I could always find common ground with the guys I was talking with. It made the whole dating thing just a little bit easier.

At the end of the dating, each group can write their number, name and email on their perspective match. If you both wrote on each others paper, you were a perfect match. If not, then your possible geek still had the opportunity to contact you.

During this whole event, we were being filmed by the documentary crew. That was kinda weird and kinda fun. It did slow down the speed dating a bit; because we were waiting on the crew, we ran out of time before we could all meet.  Still, it brought something extra special to the experience.  

I had a chance to followup with the showrunner Michael Gara after the taping to see how this experience impacted him.  As Gara put it, "It was kind of amazing for us to watch because we'd met a lot of our featured speed daters that week. Most of them said they'd be nervous, shy, etc. but then when they got into that room, they were bubbly and talkative."  

I was curious to see how this might have changed his view of doing this show.  "If anything, I'm more excited about the show than before. The shoot exceeded our expectations. People were unbelievably honest about what they were going through. It's a little scary to put yourself out there in a dating situation -- especially if you're doing it in front of cameras. Luckily, it worked out well for most of our people. That's really fun to watch. For a few people, there was some heartache unfortunately, but that's part of letting yourself be vulnerable. And we can all relate to that moment when you like someone, but they don't like you back."

I have only heard rumors about show details, and with nothing official, I have nothing to share. I promise to keep you all up to date because I will possibly be on it!

In case you are wondering, I didn't have a perfect match. (I blame having number 13.) However, for the rest of the con, I had new friends around every corner. I hung out with some fellow daters in the press room, ran into some more on the floor and even saw one at a party. It was fun to have a few new friends that I had shared a unique experience with. This is definitely something I would consider doing again.

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