We sat down with Justin Lerner, director of the Kurlander Program for Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement to talk about their first-ever same-sex speed dating event, which was held last Saturday night.
How many people attended the first “You Had Me at Shalom — An Evening of Same-Sex Jewish Speed Dating“?
126 people plus 25 volunteers.
So how many dates is that?
Each person had 8 dates. So that’s 1000 dates in one evening. Plus some “improvised” dates.
How did you match people up?
There was a registration form where people gave their characteristics: their age, what they were looking for, their level of Jewish observance, who else they already knew, if they were a non-smoker or a vegetarian or a hiking enthusiast, etc. They also told us who they had already dated so we could avoid putting them with their exes. We put them all in an Excel spreadsheet and after about 10 hours we had everyone matched-up.
What were some of the reactions?
People were thrilled that this event was being held. There wasn’t anything like this for the GLBTQ community. They liked that it was an alternative to the bar scene and it felt safe.
Know of any second dates as a result?
At the end of the evening people circled which of their dates they wanted to be put in-touch with again, and if both people said “yes” we matched them up via email. There was also a spot if someone who they hadn’t been matched with “caught their eye.” I just emailed all the matches out and the majority of people had matches to follow-up with, or had caught someones eye.
What was the funniest story you heard from someone that night?
Despite our best efforts, for one woman’s first date, she was set-up with her ex. It ended up turning out well, because they had 8 minutes to sort out some of their issues. It was actually good for them. She wished that another of exes had been there so she could get closure on that relationship as well.
For those of you who attended the event, let us know how your second dates went — either in the comments or via email (joshf [at] washingtondcjcc.org). And remember, any children that result from a GLOE Speed Dating Match must have “Washington DCJCC” as their legal middle name. Lastly, you can become a “Fan” of GLOE on Facebook!