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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    High-speed dating catching on


    The Javelina Room in the Park Student Union erupted in a cacophony of voices last night at 6:42 as 40 graduate students kicked off the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s fourth speed-dating event.

    Many in attendance sought merely to meet people.

    “”It’s just a lot of fun,”” said Ravyn Jokerst, a graduate student in classical archeology who was attending her third GPSC speed-dating event. “”I like meeting all the different people.””

    Within 24 hours of sending out the e-mail invitation, GPSC received responses from more than 100 graduate students, said Anne Murdaugh, a physics doctoral student and at-large GPSC representative who organized last night’s event.

    To accommodate the large interest from romance-seekers, GPSC scheduled a second event to immediately follow the first.

    Seated at two long tables in the sweltering, second-story conference room – men along one side, women along the other – the players shouted at each other, exchanging standard information including field of study, hometown, propensity for debauchery and the like. This went on for three minutes before Murdaugh blew a whistle and the daters exchanged “”nice to meet yous”” and then made cryptic notes to remind themselves whether they’d like to see that person again.

    The men then got up and moved over one seat, and for two hours this cycle continued until all 20 women had engaged in a three-minute conversation with every man.

    “”I wound up with like 12 guys that I’d actually like to talk to again,”” Jokerst said as she left the room to take a break before the start of the second two-hour session.

    “”They’re all beautiful,”” said Jesse Showalter, a law student, of the women participants.

    Showalter said he attended so he could meet new people and take his mind off of his studies.

    “”Law school’s a drag, and I thought I’d come out and have a good time,”” he said.

    This was the second GPSC dating session open to gay and lesbian individuals, although less than five signed up and none attended, said Catherine Neish, president of the GPSC and a doctoral student in optical sciences.

    Another event, coordinated with the LGBT, will probably be held in November to cater to gay and lesbian students who would like to meet other graduate students of the same persuasion, Neish said.

    At least one couple found lasting romance at the GPSC’s first high-speed courtship experience at the beginning of last year.

    “”They met on the first one, got matched, hung out, decided they like each other and, I guess, eventually decided to get married,”” Murdaugh said.

    Speed-dating emerged in California in the early 1990s, when religious communities set up 3-5 minute periods for young people to meet each other, said Valerie Young, a doctoral student in communication studies who has researched speed-dating.

    “”Once it kind of caught on, it spread like wildfire down the coast, and now it’s gradually making its way inland.””

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