Seven 21 and 22 year olds rolled up to a practically empty bar on the night before Valentine’s Day looking for dates, or at the very least looking to create mayhem at the first speed-dating event any of us had heard about actually happening in real life. I wasn’t expecting to get much out of it, but I did. Here are my major takeaways:
1. Advice on how to launch my own home brew
Sippin’ Singles, the speed-dating event, was hosted at Concrete Beach Brewery in Wynwood. The biggest win of the night was that Kyle, the head brewer there, decided to take part in speed dating (probably because not enough men showed up despite the event having completely booked registration). On our three minute date, we talked about the appreciation of beer we both gained from traveling in Central Europe. After, he gave all of us recommendations for how to make a great, inexpensive home brew. We’re now ordering his favorite extract kit, and we have a new weekend project.
2. Deeper connection with a friend
My friends were the vast majority of the speed daters at the event, so I already knew two of the dudes in my lineup. But one of them I met more recently, and we never really had a one-on-one conversation. Even though it was three minutes, the pressure of the event steered our conversation toward things we might never have learned about each other. We found out we’re reading the same Ta-Nehisi Coates book right now, a mutual favorite author. Don’t always expect this though, because when it came to his turn to talk to one of our other friends, he ditched her to go buy another beer.
3. A beach buddy
By the end of speed dating, conversations kind of deteriorated into a group chat with our neighbors at the table. One dater, Eddie, talked to us about our plans for a beach day on Friday. He’s just traveling in Miami for the week on business. Eddie needed someone to hang out with at the beach, and we needed a fourth player for our beach game, spike ball. Win win.
The biggest tragedy of speed dating was that Hot Brian, the guy facilitating the whole event, had a girlfriend and refused to participate. We’ll miss you, Hot Brian.
5. Annoyance at heteronormativity
Where are the speed-dating events for my LGBTQ fam?
6. Good, ole fashioned conversation
I’ve never been in a relationship because of what is probably a toxic combination of loving being single, booking every hour of my day with work and serially being drawn to emotionally unavailable people. But I absolutely love dating. I’m a writer, so there’s nothing more enjoyable to me than hearing and telling stories. Interviewing people has given me an ability to find the most interesting nuggets of a person’s story and that makes dating and getting to know someone really engaging, without journalistic pressures. Although, I have to confess, I did take out my notebook more than once during speed dating, but hey, that’s just another talking point. And I had to take down the details of Kyle’s brewing recommendations!
As I write this, wearing the smudged remnants of last night’s special occasion makeup (I rarely wear makeup, so I also don’t own makeup remover), I am as single and dateless on Valentine’s Day as ever. But having so many three-minute conversations with men right in a row made me realize how ridiculously simple it is to find beauty in and commonality with another person.
Even if today is more Pal-entine’s than it is Valentine’s, I’m going to focus on strengthening my relationships with those pals and finding out something new about them. You never know where a connection will take you.
Annie Cappetta is a senior studying political science and ecosystem science and policy. She is the managing editor of The Miami Hurricane.