Speed dating on Martha’s Vineyard: October 14

— File photo by Illustration by CK Wolfson

Are you single and looking to meet someone but have become frustrated with going online, sifting through pictures of people that were most likely taken sometime during the Clinton administration, only to wind up in a date with a person who had seemed like your perfect virtual match, but in the real world not so much?

Does the loud music at bars seem to ruin any chance of having a conversation, or have you sworn off blind dates for fear of being stuck with someone for the evening who you realized that you didn’t like within the first five minutes?

There may now be a solution to these kinds of problems. A local business, Plan-It Martha’s Vineyard, already known on the Island for organizing weddings, rehearsal dinners, conferences, catering, and parties, among other things, has announced the first in a series of speed dating events at Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown on Friday night, Oct. 14.

For those who may not have heard of it before, speed dating is where men and women are rotated to meet each other over a series of short “dates.” Each date will last five minutes, and at the end of this time a new date with a new person will begin. After all the men and women have had a chance for a date, they will each submit a list to the Plan-It MV organizers of whom they would be interested in getting to know further. If two participants end up being on each other’s lists, Plan-It MV will send them each other’s email addresses.

Using just email addresses helps maintain the privacy of those involved, and participants also are not allowed to exchange information such as phone numbers during the date. This also helps with privacy and eliminates the pressure some might feel of having to directly reject someone in whom they are not interested.

Speed dating has been gaining attention as of late, partly due to its portrayal in various television programs such as “Sex in the City.” One humorous scene from the series showed the character, Miranda, participating in a speed-dating event. After noticing that her first few dates had lost interest when she told them that she was a powerful lawyer, she switched tactics and began telling her dates she was a stewardess, at which point they took a keen interest in her.

The benefits to speed dating seem promising compared to the more traditional ways of meeting people. Unlike being at a bar or some other social event, everyone participating is looking to meet someone. Also, the dates are short enough that, even if you are with someone in whom you’re not particularly interested, you will soon be on to another date. Instead of awkwardly telling someone that you aren’t interested in them, you just have to wait a bit and say, “Wow. Was that five minutes already?”

The ultimate goal though is to make connections. “We believe that there are tons of smart, funny, successful men and women on Martha’s Vineyard,” says Doriana Klumick of Plan-It M.V. “The objective is to bring all of these people together in one room and make some connections.”

She also offered some tips and instructions for those who want to attend.

“Treat this as a first date; take time to get ready before the event. Remember, you just get one chance to make a first impression, so put your best foot forward. Also, we strongly suggest that everyone pre-registers. This helps us make sure that we can have an equal number of men and women. Anyone with questions is encouraged to email planitmarthasvineyard@gmail.com.”

Pre-registering involves going to Speed Dating Martha’s Vineyard’s website, speeddatingmv.com, and filling out a short form with some basic information. There is also a $25 fee, which is due the night of the event. This is to ensure only serious candidates are participating, and new potential matches can be met at each event.

While there may be upcoming speed-dating events with different formats, the age recommendation for this event is 30 to 45 years old. It should be a fun night, and who knows what kind of connection might be made?

Speed Dating, Friday, Oct. 14, 7 pm, Sharky’s Cantina, Edgartown. $25, ages 30-45, For more information, see speeddatingmv.com or email planitmarthasvineyard@gmail.com.

Jason Roth is from Scranton, Penn. where he worked for the Scranton Post and the Stroud Courier. He now lives in Oak Bluffs.