That Time I Went Speed Dating in Ottawa

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was recently out of a 6 year relationship and just re-entering the dating scene.

A friend of mine signed up for a night of speed dating, and as an introvert she wanted some company. Naturally, as the extroverted friend who can have a conversation with a wall, I was selected. 

Newly single and ready to mingle, I decided to join her! As a “in-person” kind of gal, I was excited at the prospect of meeting people and gauging their energy from the start!

I signed up, and before we knew it we were on our way to speed dating.

Couple facing each other in front of ocean

So.. what was it like?

Well, we were late - as per my friend (let’s call her Ari) and my pattern. So Ari and I stumbled in late to a room full of men and women awaiting riveting conversation and perhaps a soulmate. 

Once we removed our coats (it was the dead of winter), we were given name tags and almost immediately we were shown to our tables. Glasses of wine were ordered and the evening began.

Woman holding a drink looking out at the city at night

This is how it worked. 

It was heterosexual speed dating, so the room was split between the women and the men. The ladies stayed seated at a table, while the men made their way around the room from table to table. There were 20 men and 20 women, so each of them was looking at a solid 20 dates. 

Most were handsome, charming, witty, bright, and accomplished. Total winners. Men I would absolutely have slid right to on a dating app, and maybe even some I would have slid left on and missed out on their energy.

Each pair had five-minutes to chat with one another. After those five-minutes, a bell would sound to let you know that your time was up. At that time, both the man and the woman mark down whether or not they want to meet with the person again!

At the end of the speed dating event, you hand in your sheet indicating who you want to exchange details with! If the people you want to meet again, also want to meet you then your email addresses will be sent to one another!   

Two women holding hands

Where else would I get to meet 20 quality men and gauge chemistry with them right off the bat? No endless texting and never meeting. Wandure didn’t exist at the time, otherwise I would have been all over it. 

What was each 5- minute date like?

Each date was totally different!

There were a few guys I was genuinely interested in chatting with. I found them attractive, and they were quite bright and engaging when we ultimately did sit down and chat. The vibe was fun, and the banter was easy. 

There were others of course, who I didn’t quite vibe with. In fact, there were some with whom the 5 minutes seemed very length - like, very lengthy. I am the less famous version of Oprah, I can literally ask anyone a question about anything, and even I struggled to keep up a conversation with some of these men. And others, I just let talk, and talk, and talk, and fill the full five-minutes with their life story. 

Woman jumping up with umbrella in front of yellow wall

One man (for whom I knew there would be no romantic interest - at all) told me he wanted to go back to school! I told him that was a beautiful thing, and attempted to fill the five-minutes as a cheerleader for education (and as a professional student, was pleased to do so). But he was having none of it, he proceeded that he couldn’t go back to school until he found a girlfriend.

Safe to say, I didn't become his girlfriend, but I did proceeded to become his life coach for the next 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Love was definitely not found, but I helped a man who really needed a listening ear! 

Ari also helped him out on her 5 minute date - so he had 10 minutes of much needed therapy that night. 

Karma points at speed dating - who knew. 

Did I meet anybody, you may ask?

So while I wish I could say that I met my Prince Charming, I didn’t.

I wasn’t in the headspace to be dating at the time (recall, just out of a 6 year relationship), but I can tell you that I walked away with a smile. The evening was fun and filled with conversation (a favourite pastime of mine). Even Ari, who defines herself as extremely introverted, had a nice time.

Plus it helped that we went together and exchange subtle signals across the room in between our 20 dates. Power in numbers ladies.

Couple looking out at nature in the fall

The following day, I received an email with the emails of the men who had also wanted to chat further with me! There were actually quite a few of them, and suddenly my inbox was flooded with emails of the men I’d met. Most were handsome, charming, witty, bright, and accomplished. Total winners. Men I would absolutely have slid right to on a dating app, and maybe even some I would have slid left on and missed out on their energy.

It would totally have been my loss.

So to summarize. Is speeding dating in Ottawa worth your while? You bet it is. If you’re looking to get your feet wet, or date for real, it’s an awesome place to start. 

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