Love in paradise

Finding love.

It can be awkward, and striking out in the dating scene isn’t that uncommon. Those dud dates can be a waste of time and money and that’s why Lorraine Marshall, spokeswoman for Kauai Date Mate, is excited about their first speed dating event on the island.

 “Speed dating is an organized way of meeting everyone in the room,” Marshall said. “We allow people a five-minute introduction and we make it easy by teaching them how to offer out an icebreaker question.”

For the first five rotations, speed daters are given ice breaker questions to get them started and then they get to take it from there.

“We all know that you’re able to get a sense of a person within 30 seconds of meeting someone,” Marshall said. “If there’s a spark, then the remaining time allows you to explore that and see if it’s someone that you’d like to meet again.”

At the end of the five minutes, both parties gets to secretly vote yes or no on whether they’d like to meet that person for a later date. If both parties vote yes, Kauai Date Mate provides contact information to both of them the next day.

“Some people go through a rotation of perhaps 20 people and then they could get one match, they could get five,” Marshall said. “I’ve never been to an event where there wasn’t a match and really, it only takes one match to have a good love relationship.”

Marshall said Kauai Speed Dating is aimed at people age 35 or older.

“There’s ample opportunity for younger people, so there’s less motivation to meet a new group of people,” Marshall said. “At 35, you don’t tend to get out as much as you used to so the pool of people you meet becomes more limited.”

Part of speed dating is that it is opportunity to hone dating skills, Marshall explained, because you’re meeting a different person every five minutes. For those that experience social anxiety, it can be a way to develop confidence in the dating world.

“It becomes fun once you’ve gone through two or three rotations,” Marshall said. “Get that confidence under your belt and it’s easy.”

Another advantage to speed dating is eliminating the surprises that can come with online dating, which has a huge pool of people and ample opportunity to hide details about oneself.

“You might be surprised about your date’s height or weight, or you just might not feel that spark once you’ve actually met,” Marshall said. “With speed dating you can see that person and feel that spark.”

The first Kauai Date Mate will be at Lemongrass Grill Seafood and Bar in Kapaa from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $35. Marshall said more women are buying tickets than men and she’ll be shutting down ticket sales for women soon. Anyone who buys tickets after the cutoff will be placed on a waiting list for the next session.

Marshall ’s seen the same trend in other speed dating events she’s held — women are usually more open to the idea than men, but she said once they get there, men have a great time.

“My message to men in particular is this is the most fun you will ever have on a date,” Marshall said. “It’s so easy and a non-awkward way to meet people. Men generally come out of speed dating highly satisfied.”

The speed dating event is anticipated to be one of many on the island and is a fundraiser for Tropicbird Entertainment, a company that is producing an original musical on Kauai next year. Proceeds go toward that production, Marshall said.

“Sometimes we don’t know what’s good until it’s sitting in front of us,” Marshall said. “It’s such an adventure and you get an opportunity to meet a wide variety of people without having to spend a whole evening with someone you’re not a match with.”

Written for The Garden Island Newspaper, published on Sept. 20, 2015. Photo by Jessica Else.

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