This past weekend I tried speed dating for the first time. Before I got married I had never really done the whole dating thing - I just sat around my living room and eventually ended up makin' out with someone I was already friends with (or at least well acquainted with). This was a polyamory specific speed dating scenario thankfully, as speed dating in a normal pool of people would be pretty hopeless.
It turns out speed dating in a pool of polyamorous people wasn't particularly successful either!
Signing up was actually a bit tricky because the organizers, wanting to be inclusive and mindful of wildly varying preferences, set it up so people could specify what they would be interested in. You could specify kinky or not, looking for a primary relationship or not, and what gender(s) you would want your dates to be and what gender(s) you wanted them to be into.
In years gone by this would have been trivial for me. I am a man, into women. Done.
But that didn't reflect the diversity of the real world and now I know that. Given this, I needed to figure out what to say about trans men, trans women, and non binary people as well as men and women. In theory I am open to dating absolutely anyone but I can't ignore that my primary sexual attraction pings for female bodies. Cis women are definitely the most likely group to ping me, cis men are the least, and all the others are in the middle somewhere, not especially well defined. I can tell you what I respond to visually, but that doesn't necessarily correspond well to gender.
At any rate I decided that listing myself as open to dating men was silly. The chances of real sexual attraction are tiny and I would feel like I was wasting the time of any gay/bi man who I ended up on a date with. Everyone else I was open to meeting.
When I actually got to the event it didn't go quite the way I had planned. My first date was with someone I already know so while it was fine it certainly didn't accomplish much.
My second date was with someone who looked very much like a cis man. He liked me, and the conversation was fine so I liked him well enough, but there unsurprisingly no ping. I wasn't sure what to say, because directly asking for gender identity doesn't seem like the right choice. At any rate I figured I had a reasonable conversation with someone I had no sexual attraction to, so no great loss, that's gonna happen.
My next date was with a person who also sure looked like a cis man. He decided that the way the speed date would go was him endlessly peppering me with questions and asking a new question before I even finished properly answering the first. It was not great, so sexual attraction was irrelevant.
The next date was a date with two people... who sure looked like a cis man / cis woman couple. I was only supposed to date groups if they were both people I was into (unlikely, but possible) so this was like the first date. I liked them well enough but they were dating together and that isn't for me.
On my fifth outing I finally talked to someone who pinged for me. A cis woman, to nobody's great shock. Our conversation was fun, and we ended up liking each other on the form at the end. Score one in the win column.
My sixth date was with a gay man. We had a good conversation and it seemed like he sensed that I am straight (my vibes were probably shouting that out loud) and I apologized. It was abundantly clear by this point that the computer had just decided to give me dates with five bi or gay men and one with a single woman. Afterwards I confirmed that yes, it was part of a series of computer errors giving people dates they were not compatible with.
I was not pleased.
On the other hand I did meet some fun people, had good conversations, and generally enjoyed myself, but it wasn't at all fun being on the spot. It was not enjoyable thinking that my pairing was a computer glitch but not knowing how to address that, especially when the man in question seemed like he was really into me. It made me feel shitty and deceptive. I don't want to reject people, particularly when I get along with them!
Thing is, I actually did better than the average straight man at this event. There were only 67 matches for well over 100 people, and the conventionally attractive women mostly got as many dates as they could handle and tons of matches. The spread, as best as I can guess, looks something like this: Half the people got no matches, a quarter got one match, and a quarter got an average of three matches. So since straight men made up well over half the crowd I did pretty well with a single match. Now whether that match ends up turning into anything is anybody's guess, but it certainly can't be considered a really strong lead.
I guess the result of this is going to follow the normal pattern of poly dating - the attractive cis women will get more offers than they know what to do with and will ignore most of them. I bet at least half of the matches come to exactly nothing, not even a coffee date. The rest of the crowd (both cis men and all the trans folks of various stripes, and also the women that aren't so conventionally attractive) end up chasing the pieces with mixed success.
This is basically the online dating story, just in a different format. While it was nice to try something new and I did have some good chats I am not particularly optimistic for doing this again. Even if they fixed the computer problems and I got more dates with people I have a better chance of being attracted to my odds of finding anything lasting out of it are slim at best. Speed dating isn't that much fun for me, poly or not, glitches or not. I want to be able to actually talk about stuff.
Live and learn I suppose. Onward!