story by Sheba Arifullah | photos by Kevan Kase and Sheba Arifullah 

You read that correct, I attended speed dating at Fan Expo, and truthfully, it wasn’t that bad!  I’ve always had an adventurous and curious nature and when I see something I haven’t done before that makes me think, “I wonder what that would be like?” I usually just go and try it out!  Plus, I figured, at the very least, I’d have an amusing story to tell people, which is always entertaining for me.  So with that mindset, plus being #perpetuallysingle, I thought I’d give it a shot. Many couples find each other through their interests right? Let geeky love flourish!

Before I go into the speed dating event, and how that all unfolded, let me start by explaining a little bit about Fan Expo, for those who have never been before.  It is the largest event promoting comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming.  It is also one of the third largest pop culture events in North America.  This year, it celebrated its 22nd year, and has grown from a small convention, with 1500 people in attendance to a four day event with about 129 000 people attending from all around the world!  

At the Expo, you find people from all walks of life with some who are dressed in costume,(aka the cosplayers). There, you can attend panels of your favourite fandoms. "Fandom" means things of which you are a fan, but Wikipedia states that it is “a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.”  Seeing artists or making purchases at the bazaar are also really fun parts of conventions like Fan Expo.  There are also opportunities to meet your favourite celebrities, and get their autograph, or take a photo with them.  It is probably filled with the most amazing, talented, and passionate individuals. If you think I get excited easily, you have never seen me at Fan Expo; I’m in my element!  Sometimes, I legit think I’m at home with my people!  Now, let’s talk about my speed dating adventure because you know it’s going to be entertaining, and really, the reason that you opened this article to begin with!

So here’s a little #honestyhour for you, I actually knew about the event prior to going to Fan Expo.  Being the nerd that I am, and being super excited, I had downloaded the schedule app to see who would be there, and what events would be happening the Sunday that I’d be going.  I came across the speed dating event, and was curious. I didn't know if I'd find Mr.Right there to be honest. I am legit starting to think that poor man is stuck somewhere, and requires me to go and save him. Sigh, but I figured it would be a fun experience, and of course, would make for an interesting article, because apparently, that’s how I make decisions now!

 I arrived at the event, looking for the registration area (because the signs all said to register, and I didn’t want to get in trouble, but for the life of me, I could not seem to find it!

I was greeted by a girl who asked if I wanted to participate, and I told her I did, but I had not registered.  She told me not to worry because registration was mainly for the guys (finally, a benefit of being a girl!) 

 I joined the line, and was planning on quietly waiting (pfft, yeah right, I talk to anyone), but the girls I was standing with were so sweet.  We discussed that this was our first time attending a speed dating event at Fan Expo; there was a feeling of excitement in the air (at least I felt it).  We were all herded in, and then given the low down, the host was hilarious, and made so many geeky references, that I was instantly put at ease.  From there, the men entered and were also given a similar set of rules, with some more geeky references thrown in for good measure.  Once all the trivialities were out of the way, the event began.  

We had about a minute to talk with each person, and when the time was up, the men would move to the right, while the women waited for the next person (pretty standard procedure for speed dating, from what I’ve been told *cough*).  I wondered how nervous I was going to be.  I’ve never really had an issue talking with guys (unless I liked them, in which case, my brain turns to mush, and I don’t know what to say.  I know, shocking!)  I suppose I felt there was nothing to lose, particularly since there were no Muslim guys, I wasn’t expecting anything.  As a result, there was no need to be nervous, and was extremely calm.  Plus, being at Fan Expo, there were not shortage of conversations to be had.  In fact, there were instances where the time seemed extremely short!  Of course, there were a couple of guys who I did not find interesting at all - the one guy who essentially asked why I’d be good for him...nope, we’re done here! There were a few guys whom I had found interesting and jotted down their badge numbers.  I forgot to mention, each person had a number, and if you liked them, or found them interesting, you wrote down their number on a piece of paper.  One of the rules was that we were not to use our real names.  Though one guy sat down, said his name, and without thinking, I said mine, then realized that was against the rules.  I ended up making a joke, telling him that he had tried to trick me (which I thought was funny, but I’m a nerd who thinks I’m hilarious!)

I know I wasn’t expecting anything, but I still wrote down a few badge numbers on my slip of paper.  I hesitated, but I am overly sensitive, especially to other people’s emotions. 

I felt bad if I just sat there and wrote nothing down; like a snob.  Plus, I had some legit geeky conversations, and kind of wanted to continue those conversations.  At the end of the “dates”, the girls and guys went to a table, and wrote their names and badge numbers on a blank sheet of paper.  Then the men went to the table with the papers of the women, and vice versa.  You wrote down your name and contact information on the papers of those of whom you were interested; this point felt a little bit crazy.  Everyone grabbing papers, chatting away (trying to stay focused, and not having side conversations, which for me, can be tough.)  As expected, some guys were more popular than others, while others, not as much. I felt a bit sorry for some of these guys, but not enough to give them my contact information…I mean, I didn’t note them down for a reason!

Once all the madness was done, everyone sat back down, and waited for the rest of the group to be done.  While waiting, the host entertained us by showing us his custom made lightsabers Oh man, these things were amazing, you have no idea!  He was kind enough to let us use them, and obviously, as nerds, a lightsaber fight began.  This was so much fun to watch, and a great way to end the event!  I know, you are burning up with questions.  Did I get any numbers?  Why yes, yes I did!  I think about 5-7 numbers, some of whom I had thought were interesting as well!  Did I meet or talk to anyone after the event?  Yes, I messaged a few by email, and had dinner with one of the guys.  The dinner was nice, because we went for sushi, and spent hours just talking.  The guy did not seem a bit bothered by my overly chatty personality, or that I got passionate about certain things.  Plus, he ate anything that I didn’t want to eat, so that was perfect.

Did you ever see Culture Toronto's lightsaber battle? 

I’ve always said that the purpose of guys in my life, is so that they can eat all my leftovers.  If they are unable to do that, then I have no use for them! 

Though it wasn’t going to go anywhere because he wasn’t my faith (sometimes though, I find there are nicer regular guys than religious chaps, but since my beliefs are important to me, I could never compromise on that.  Don’t worry, I’ll have to write my thoughts about that one; there’s a lot to say, it didn’t go anywhere. Not only am I #perpetuallysingle (editor's note: for now lol), but I am also the queen of first dates.  I think they are all captivated by my winning personality that they must be knocked out after the first date.

Needless to say, nothing long-term came out of it, but the entire process was a lot of fun.  It was a great way to get out of my comfort zone, and to try something I had never done.  It was my little adventure, and nice to see the kind of guys that were out there.  I guess we’re all just trying to find that one person who helps make us a better person than we were yesterday. 

What I always think of when I meet someone is a quote from the movie, “What’s Your Number."  Listen, it’s a great movie, and Chris Evans and Anna Faris are adorable, so don’t judge me!  When Ally Darling (Anna Faris’ character) finally tells Colin (Chris Evans’ character) how she feels, she says,

“I’m happiest when I’m being myself, and myself when I’m with you.” 

I figure when I find a guy who makes me feel this way, then everything will work out.  I guess that’s why I tried the speed dating event at Fan Expo; I could be myself, so that would make things a little easier, which it did, but again, need to find a place where I could find a traditional man like that! 

Oh well, I guess I will have to continue to find my future husband. Again, I think he legit got himself lost or stuck somewhere; I’m going to have to find a way to rescue him!  Until then, I will continue to go on adventures, and cross more things off my bucket list.  I look forward to finally meeting my future husband, and finding out what he’s like!  I hope he’s out there doing the same thing, because that would make us a force to be reckoned with, or at least entertaining to those around us!  That’s all for now!  Queen Sheba out!

What did you think of my adventure? Leave a comment!

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