Set your BlackBerry to end your dates

By Katelyn Stanis

Guest Columnist

I waited in line for 15 minutes at Subway in the Pioneer Food Court in the Oakland Center today. I then waited another five minutes in a separate line to pay. At this point, I had 15 minutes left to eat. But after taking into account the 10-minute walk I still had back to class, I realized I really had only five minutes to scarf down the $5 footlong I had just purchased.

As college students, we’re constantly busy — bustling our business from school to work, separating our social lives from study time, and flipping out over finances.

In the midst of all the mayhem, there appears to be little time for dating. So when my girlfriends thought that speed dating would be both fun and fast, I decided to join.

Traditional speed dating is when a woman sits alone as the single men take turns talking to her every eight minutes. We, however, were able to endure this rapid review session with a partner during a double speed dating event.

The sidekick scenario turned out to be beneficial for all parties involved. Whenever there was an awkward lull in conversation, you had a nearby buddy to bail you out.

This was especially convenient when bachelors one and two who spoke mostly of the medical industry, sat before my friend Sarah. With her knowledge and interest of medicine, my partner took the floor and kept the two ER doctors talking while I, on the other hand nodded my head and smiled — while knowing nothing about what they discussed.

Now, I know what you are thinking. There are ER doctors at speed dating?  Sign me up!

Not so fast, ladies. Let me introduce you to bachelors three and four.

The duo worked from a checklist. They frequently took notes on me and Sarah during our eight-minute date while we answered very specific questions like, “If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?” and “What is your dream car?”

Answering “Travis Tritt: It’s a Great Day to be Alive” and “Um, a Jeep Wrangler?” put my score in the negatives. But I think what really earned me an “F” was refusing to answer

No. 4’s final question: “And what is your cup size?”

At this point, I leaned back and finished my second glass of wine. I waited and hoped to hear the infamous bell ring that would ultimately end this eight-minute date and queue the next one.

As I sat in the middle of the pub and men took turns talking to us at the ring of a bell, I realized this was not the cliché many would believe. Instead, it was just another avenue to what could be your next great date or kiss.

Bachelor No. 2 talked about being new to the area, working a lot, being overwhelmed by people at his job, and wanting to experience new things.

Soon, it became apparent that we are all functioning to the set schedule of a bell.

Alarm clocks beep to signal the start to our day, and BlackBerries ring to trigger calendar pop-ups and the fate of our future. Now, a simple bell ring was determining the ending point of a date. Was this a more convenient way for busy singles to meet people? Or are we all just so determined to meet someone that we add it to our “to do list” and chalk up finding love as another task?

As we walk through our daily lives, we run on routine. And without breaking the mundane mold, how are we supposed to meet anyone new?

I didn’t meet anyone special that night but I realized that sometimes we need to stop programming our plans. Because when we do, we just may have time to hear something other than the bell ring, or at the very least a little more time to enjoy a $5 footlong.