If you’ve never heard of or experienced speed dating, it is an activity done at a bar, coffee shop or community center with lots of people that want to date or meet new friends. Some haven’t had any luck meeting people conventionally due to work or school schedules, moving to a new area, hatred of dating apps, or even feeling socially awkward. There are facilitators at these events to keep things going smoothly, the crowd pumped up and everyone having a good time. That also means that participants are paired up with the right people. Most participants pay some sort of fee to join in, then they play a game of musical chairs to go on a couple of dozen mini-dates usually lasting about five minutes each. Some facilitators even use apps and suggested icebreaker questions. Sunday afternoon, Seattle Dyke March, hosted a speed dating event fundraiser at The Lounge by AT&T, to earn funds for the upcoming Pride weekend march and rally, including the Dykes on Bikes parade. AT&T generously provided the space for the event and a raffle prize for one of the speed dating attendees.
According to their mission statement, Seattle Dyke March is a non-profit organization that “creates space to highlight and honor the experiences, pleasures, activism, and identities of queer women and dyke-identified people across the gender spectrum.” Relying on speed dating events for fundraisers has been a successful part of the Dyke March tradition, allowing dyke-identified persons to socialize, make new friends -and maybe even find love- all while donating to a cause designed to recharge their community while they survive and thrive. In the past, the event has been held at The Wild Rose, Seattle’s only lesbian bar. This time, Dyke March advisors thought to move the event to a location that wasn’t centered around alcohol, although the event was still 21+ for logistical reasons. While some participants mentioned they wished they were able to grab a drink to take the edge off, nothing does the trick like getting something for free. Ada’s Discovery Cafe, located inside The Lounge, was providing a complimentary non-alcoholic coffee or tea beverage if participants were willing to download the AT&T app. The cafe served up some exciting offerings like a Cardamom Shakerato, an Iced Coffee Old Fashioned, and even Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The evening was an all-around success. The event was sold out, earning $360 to put towards this summer’s Dyke March event. The funds will be used to pay dyke-identified performers, musicians, poets, and drag kings as well as for securing permits for the march and rally this summer. Some people may have found love, others may have found friends. There may have only been one truly disappointed person that evening. A straight man showed up looking very confused at the fish-bowl of queer women buzzing about the room. “I’m here for the speed dating event…?” he said with some hesitation. After a good chuckle, event organizers quickly issued him a refund. He grabbed a coffee and went on his way. Hopefully, there will be a speed dating event in his future that has what he’s looking for.
If you’re interested in learning more about upcoming Dyke March Seattle events, how to become a performer at the rally this summer, or how to get involved, check them out online and get on their mailing list. Also, keep your eyes open for some exciting things at The Lounge by AT&T, located just blocks from Seattle Central, as they may be offering student discounts for coffee on specified days and times.