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The Week — Feb. 14: Speed dating for seniors

Devon Tatton believes everyone can find love, or at least a good book, during Literacy Speed Dating. - Danielle Pope
Devon Tatton believes everyone can find love, or at least a good book, during Literacy Speed Dating.
— image credit: Danielle Pope

Every once in a while, you get that rare chance at a second first time. For a handful of lucky  seniors and singles this Valentine’s season, that opportunity will be provided by our very own library system.

Literary Speed Dating kicks off its second year this week with a special singles (25-40) event on Feb. 14, followed by two rounds on Feb. 16 geared for more seasoned daters: singles 40-60, then singles 60+. And on March 8, a special all-ages single lesbians event will excite library halls.

“It’s so hard to meet people in Victoria, and I always loved reading the ‘missed connections’ in the paper and seeing who was trying to reach out,” says Devon Tatton, Children and Family Literacy librarian and creator of the Greater Victoria Public Library’s speed-dating program. “Once you retire, where do you really go?”

Last year, at the first event, a nervous 10 ladies and 5 gentlemen, all over 60, showed up to retest the waters. Some had been married, divorced or widowed and were looking for various things, but none had tried speed dating. “Everyone was super nervous, and it was cute because they all start on the same playing field,” says Tatton. “All of them left with a smile on their faces, laughing and saying what a good time they had, even if they didn’t meet anyone.”

The rules are simple: women fill up to 15 allotted tables, and men rotate from table to table every four minutes as the chime tolls. Once all the rounds are over, all participants fill out a form saying who, if anyone, they would be interested in hearing from. If two parties list each other, organizers send out respective contact info. If only one expresses interest, organizers let the sought after party know someone is looking, but it’s up to them to make the move.

While the structure is meant to keep things lighthearted and quick-paced, there is break time for daters to mingle over heart-shaped cookies, and for those who would struggle to know how to start a four-minute conversation, what better conversation starter than a good book? “We often tell people to bring something that’s really important to them, like a favourite book, pictures of kids, collections, etc. which can be fun conversation starters,” says Tatton.

While she has not had the opportunity to participate herself, Tatton agrees that fitting your life story into four minutes is a challenge. Lists of clever questions can help — whether the date is four minutes or four hours. “My favourite question is, ‘What do you like to do on Sunday morning?’” she says. “You can tell a lot about a person with that one ... And once you’ve broken the ice, the rest is fun.”

Try Literary Speed dating (singles 25-40) Thurs., Feb. 14, 7-8:30pm at Saanich Cenntenial Branch (3110 Tillicum). Singles 40-60: Sat., Feb. 16, 2-4pm at Central Branch (735 Broughton). Singles 60+: Sat., Feb. 16, 1-3pm at Oak Bay Branch (1442 Monterey).

A Canoe of dating magic

Picking up your next date at a bar may not be that original, but for those who want to play the speed dating game at a faster pace this Valentine’s, Canoe Brewpub (    450 Swift) is hosting its own Singles Night Out Speed Dating event, starting at 8pm on Thurs., Feb. 14, until the beer runs dry.

“First dates are not about deciding — or even thinking about — if this is the person with whom you will want to spend the rest of your life,” says organizer Ryan McGregor. “First dates are opportunities to meet people and to consider whether or not you want to go on a second date.”

Singles can sign up in the pub, with no cover charge. Live music by The Adults and specially priced cocktails will help grease those dating treads. More info: 250-361-1940.

The science of sugar

With all the heart candy floating around, it’s the perfect time to think about what sweets do to the brain. Turns out many animals, including humans, are hard-wired to crave sweet tastes.

Dr. Dianne Lattemann, a neurobiologist and researcher at the University of Washington, is the upcoming speaker for UVic’s Café Scientifique seminar series. Lattemann says that, in humans, the brain is “literally a cookie monster.” Her research has found that highly processed foods laden with sugar and fat alter the brain chemistry, making us repeatedly seek out these foods, even though we know they’re bad for us.

Learn more about Lattemann’s research and plans to deal with the obesity epidemic at the free seminar: “From fat to sweet and back again — a scientist’s journey into hormones, sugar and the choices we make” Tues., Feb. 19, 6:30pm at Hermann’s Jazz Club (753 View) Register: 250-472-4067. M

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