Love at Any Age
Speed dating for seniors
The daytime event with its 23 participants (a few more women than men) were dressed to the nines, fit and very spry. The location was The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien and it was hosted by Tony Savino of WGCH-1490. Savino thought the idea for the event was great and added “things don’t change no matter how old we are. We all want love and to connect. That doesn’t change with age.”
The idea for the event came from the movie “The Age of Love” which documents a senior speed dating event in Rochester, NY. The movie was shown at the Stamford Senior Center the week prior to their event.
“Speed dating makes meeting people quick and easy. Participants don’t feel pressure and won’t be ‘stuck’ on a bad date because each date only lasts a few minutes,” said Christina Crain, Executive Director of the Stamford Senior Center.
“Single older adults especially value companionship,” said Kathleen Bordelon, Executive Director of SilverSource. “As we get older we lose spouses, friends and it’s not always easy to meet new people.”
When asked why they decided to attend, participant Harry responded “What do I have to lose?”
Caroline said, “I thought it might be fun and I might make new friends.”
“I might not find love but it would be nice to meet someone to go to the movies with,” commented Carol.
Other comments included: “It seemed harmless, no risk”,“I thought I’d give it a shot” and Linda added “It would be nice just to find someone to have pizza with.”
Despite the optimistic outlook people had when signing up, one could feel the nerves while standing there in the room prior to the event.
Barbara whispered to me about how nervous she was feeling, so much so, her hands were shaking. And Caroline pointed out it was like a high school dance with all the women on one side of the room and all the men gathered together on the other side of the room. She was right.
None of the participants had done speed dating before. Savino explained the procedure. Everyone has a name tag with only their first name and a number—last names are not used for anonymity.
To begin, man #1 sits at a table with woman #1 and man #2 sits with woman #2 etc. The timer is started and the pairs of men and women start their “dates.” After five minutes a bell rings and the men move to the next table in numerical order. This process continues until everyone has met.
Afterwards, participants secretly check off on a form who they would like to see again. If two people are both interested in each other, the event organizers send a letter to each of them with the other person’s contact information so they may now get together on their own.
As the event progressed, one would feel the nerves give way to smiles, good humor and even laughter.
The first question most people asked was, “What do you like to do for fun?”
The event turned out to be a huge success. Everyone said they had fun and many said they would “absolutely” do it again.
Barbara winked and said, “we’ll see, I might be attached by the next one.”
Linda did end up meeting “someone” to have pizza with, and in fact, they were headed out together after the event to do just that.
Caroline didn’t meet a man she was interested in seeing again, but was thrilled to have met a woman she described as a “kindred spirit.” They discovered their mutual love of travel and were already planning to take a trip together. They explained it can be quite expensive to travel alone as most excursions are priced for double occupancy and having a partner makes it so much more affordable.
In addition to these connections, there turned out to be four “official” date matches.
The Senior Centers of Fairfield, Westport and Stratford are thinking of holding senior speed dating events in the future. Based on the Stamford event leaving everyone with the sense of it's never too late to live one’s life to the fullest, hopefully they will.