Twenty first dates


This past Friday night, single graduate students from across the University’s divisions and schools gathered at the GSB Hyde Park Center for speed dating: 20 three-minute encounters conducted across 75 small tables in a crowded room. The ground rules? Wear your speed-dating identification number in plain sight; don’t exchange personal information; if you click with someone, write his or her ID number on your yellow date card; and “what happens at speed dating stays at speed dating.” After the event, the organizers would collate the yellow cards and put mutually interested parties in touch.

The morning of the event, all 75 slots reserved for women were filled while several slots were still available for men. But sometime between morning and evening, an epidemic of either last-minute cold feet or love by other means had befallen the women of Chicago—at 9 p.m. the shortfall was on their side, and the organizers were scouring the premises for willing female participants. They had some success, but a handful of men were still relegated to wallflower status during each three-minute session.

At evening’s end, some participants bolted. “I’d rather stay home and study than do that again,” one woman exclaimed, drawing her companion’s emphatic agreement. But many lingered, resuming conversations that had been curtailed by the clock and, when the lights went down, migrating to Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap. The festivities benefited more than simply social life on a campus where fun allegedly comes to die: the evening’s $12 entry proceeds went to REMEDY, a group of Pritzker Medical School students that cosponsored the event with the Graduate Student Council and that sends medical supplies to the Dominican Republic.

Laura Demanski, AM’94

Photos: A GSB room fills with speed daters.

January 30, 2006