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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Grad dating: faster than a locomotive

    Graduate students settle in for a round of speed dating last night in the Park Student Union. Couples had two minutes to make a good impression before the bell rang to signal the start of a new round.
    Graduate students settle in for a round of speed dating last night in the Park Student Union. Couples had two minutes to make a good impression before the bell rang to signal the start of a new round.

    Speed dating is a phenomenon popping up on college campuses across the nation, giving the hopelessly shy or insanely busy a chance to meet other people in five minutes or less.

    Although everybody meets somebody, not everybody winds up engaged – like John Weirich and Laura McCormick.

    Weirich, a graduate student in planetary sciences, met McCormick, a graduate student in musicology, at the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s first stab at a speed-dating event in March 2006.

    Although they spoke for just three minutes, the two left a lasting impression on the other.

    The March speed dating event was so successful that GPSC held another one in August and yet another last night.

    Yesterday’s event attracted 70 graduate students to pre-register, French said, a number deliberately smaller than August’s event.

    Amanda Brobbel, GPSC events coordinator, said it is amazing that so many people are interested in speed dating.

    “”It’s one of the few places you can meet people outside of a bar,”” she said. “”At a bar, you’re more intimidated by approaching someone.””

    Additionally, Brobbel said she likes that speed dating takes some of the sexism out of dating. In a bar, the woman expects the man to approach first, but speed dating eliminates that concern.

    Speed dating involves a row of men opposite a row of women. Each couple has three minutes to chat, then the men move one seat clockwise. If two people write each other’s names on their lists at the end of the night, both are sent an e-mail, said Jenny French, coordinator of campus activities and a graduate student in higher education.

    Steve Langlois, a graduate student in public health and first-time speed dater, said he wanted to meet people outside his area of study, a task that is often difficult for graduate students.

    Lindsey Morris, a first-year nursing student, said she came because it sounded fun.

    “”I just want to see what it’s all about,”” Morris said. “”It’s hard to meet people when you’re going to school all the time.””

    This event was the first at the UA to include gay and lesbian students, Brobbel said.

    Despite being only one of three gay men at the event, public health graduate student Tuan Vo said, “”It’s nice to know that they included us.””

    Shawn Steinhart, a rhetoric and composition graduate student, said that while gays have the option to attending speed-dating events, this one was the first to explicitly ask for participants’ sexual orientations.

    Joe Mora, a pharmacy graduate student, said he did not know what to expect.

    “”I thought I’d be the only gay guy here,”” he said.

    Weirich and McCormick began dating about a week after their own speed-dating experience. Eight months later, they moved their relationship to a higher level.

    In a twist on the old tradition, McCormick approached Weirich’s mother in secret over the Thanksgiving holiday and asked her permission to marry Weirich. Weirich’s mother agreed.

    While exchanging gifts Christmas Eve, Weirich opened a stack of all the e-mails the couple had sent to each other, along with a note, tied to a man’s wedding ring, that read, “”Will you marry me?””

    He said yes.

    The two plan to marry July 7 – 07/07/07.

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