Love on deadline: Kadena tries speed dating
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Love was in the air on Okinawa Saturday night.
Well … actually, nervous giggles — not all of them female — filled the air on Kadena Air Base, as about 40 military and civilian singles participated in Schilling Community Center’s first speed-dating event.
The idea of speed dating is that everyone meets a large number of other singles through five-minute dates and screens out those they aren’t interested in.
Participants use a list to mark their interest and organizers only provide contact information if both parties express interest.
“It’s like eBay, except you’re shopping for a girlfriend,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Antwane Thomas, 24, who wasn’t there for the dating, but had provided a friend a ride and stayed for the entertainment. He admitted he also planned to heckle his friend.
Airman 1st Class Nicole Mohlis, 18, had never been speed dating before, but had seen the concept on movies like the “40-Year-Old Virgin” and thought it looked fun.
Mohlis isn’t sure how many dates she’s made, but she did find a car one of the guys might sell her.
“That’s better than a date,” Mohlis said.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Sonny Roberts, 22, said his first glimpse of speed dating was a movie, too — “Hitch.”
He thought it looked like fun on the big screen, so he decided to try it out.
“My goal for 2007 was minimizing rejection,” he joked. “And if I get all the rejections out of the way tonight, I won’t have to go out for the rest of the year.”
Aubree Potter actually heard about speed dating from her mom.
“I expected it to be a bunch of pathetic people,” Potter said. “This is not what I expected at all; everyone has been outgoing and interesting.”
Unbeknownst to Potter, her mother and father stopped in to check up on her.
Lorain Potter said she wanted her daughter to get out and meet more people.
After all, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince,” she said.
Dad, Air Force Master Sgt. Donovan Potter, was quick to chime in, “Meet. Not kiss, meet.”
There were some bumpy spots at the start of the evening as a few more guys than gals showed up, meaning that they had more breaks while waiting their turn.
And the event definitely wasn’t what some expected as Airmen 1st Class Andy Strouse, 21, found out.
On the second rotation of the evening, his mini-date walked out on him not to return.
Strouse laughed as he told others, “I just said, ‘Hi, My name is Andy’ and she left.”
He didn’t let it dim his pleasure in the evening, and said he was confident that some of the others would put him down for a “yes.”
As the evening progressed, dates were chatting with each other and across tables and the nervous giggles had changed to genuine laughter.
Lorna Ellis, the center employee who organized the event, said she was pleased with the turnout and hopes to hold another event in May.
The participants were all enlisted or civilian and the average age range was early 20s. Two 34-year-old men showed up and the oldest woman was 30-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. April Burnett, Ellis said.
Burnett said at first she wasn’t going to come because she thought “I am going to show up and everyone is going to be like 20.”
Organizers did call her earlier Saturday to let her know most of the participants were younger then her, Burnett said. “I decided to come anyway because it seemed like it would be fun.”