Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
By Elisa Russo, Staff Writer, The BiCo News
I was not too sure what to expect from this speed dating event held at Bryn Mawr. Like most people I had the view of speed dating based on movies I had seen. I arrived just a few minutes after 9:30, the time when the doors would open. To my surprise the room was quite full. Everyone was already immersed in talking to each other at their tables. Tables were all set up with simple but effective decorations for the theme of the event.
I must say that this task was not as easy as I thought, nor was it completely smooth during the whole hour in which the event lasted from the perspective of a reporter. It was relatively challenging for me to pull out some comments and opinions from those who attended this event. I feel my luckiest shot was my first one, in which I interviewed a group of girls who were willing to share their views on the event and who did not mind me asking them a few questions.
“I came here because this sounded like a different kind of party and I thought it was a different way to meet new people,” said Francesca. Most of the people I managed to interview gave me very similar reasons for coming to the event. Some came to support their friends, to have a good time and experience a different context in which they could meet new people.
“I came here because it was a different event, it sounded fun, and although I was told that it could have been a rather awkward situation, I think I disagree for I am finding it quite fun,” said David. As the event progressed however, it appeared to get harder and harder to find people willing to talk to me and share their views and reasons for attending the event. As I approached tables and sat with my papers taking notes, I somewhat felt like a Martian, getting various scared looks or people who just did not even want to be approached. My papers and pencil must have intimidated people thinking I may have been interested in their personal business when I really was only doing my job as a reporter for the event.
Because I did not have too many people willing to talk to me, I decided to rely on my perceptions and impressions while observing the many participants involved in their conversations. I also simply listened to conversations to see what the topics of discussions were. Some topics included what activities participants enjoyed, their majors, what sports they played, where they were originally from and so on.
As I had predicted, girls outnumbered the guys, although from the rough count I was able to make, there was a good 40-45 guys when the room was most full. It was nice to see various girls and guys dress up as if they were going on an actual date which I think made it more like a speed dating event.
I roamed around the room to catch glimpses of the various participants, and at least from the eyes of an “outsider” they seemed genuinely interested in hearing what the other had to say, and to get to know each other during those five minutes until the guys had to switch to a different table.
Overall, I must say that the event turned out pretty well, considering it was the first time Bryn Mawr hosted anything like this. Hopefully this will not be the last speed dating event organized at Bryn Mawr, as I feel it’s a fun and different event in which people can get to know each other better unlike in the usual college parties.