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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Poly Speed Dating?

Poly Speed Dating is a social event where people meet a number of potential dating partners. This is personalized matchmaking, with people computer-selected just for you, based on the preferences you chose when you registered. Here's my schedule, okay, this is round three so I need to go to table 6. You'll go on several "dates" of about 5 minutes each; after each round you (secretly) mark your date "YES" or "NO" on your dating sheet, depending on whether you'd like to see them again. Your choices are collected at the end of the night, and every pair who mutually said "YES" will get each other's contact info by email within the next few days.

How is the event structured?

When you arrive you will go to a check-in table. We will give you a name tag with your "public name" (e.g. Jen, Mike, Kitten, Dragon Breath) and your ID number. After check-in there will be some social time, followed by announcements. We will then hand out date sheets that tell you what table to go to in which round, and who you will be meeting there. Each round lasts 5-7 minutes. There will be a break halfway through so you can catch your breath; after all the dating is complete, you will turn in your sheet so we can see who you checked off as interesting, and then email your matches to you.

How do you handle varying sexual preferences?

Everyone checks off what genders they are interested in, and what gender(s) they identify as. The Poly Speed Dating computer program will handle the rest. See What is your definition of gender? for more detail.

I am interested in dating both men and women.
Will I get dates with both?

Yes, during certain rounds the computer prioritizes same-gender matches and during others it prioritizes other-gender matches.  This ensures that bisexuals get a good mix of the genders they are looking for. This also means that a straight man may not get dates for every round, as a lot of the women who attend PSD are bisexual, and for half of the rounds they will be busy dating each other.

How will I fare as a straight man?

You will be fine. We limit registration in some demographics to make sure that those who do come to PSD have a good time. Understand that while women are interested in you, a lot of the women who come to PSD are interested in each other as well. This means we have the "Bisexual Alternation" system (see previous FAQ question). In a nutshell, you might not date on every round. We do this to ensure everyone is getting a mix of folks they are interested in.

What is your definition of gender?

While we recognize that the issues surrounding dating and gender identity are complex, we are limited by what our programmers can work out. Thus we have five gender check boxes: man, trans man, woman, trans woman and genderqueer, and we ask people to check off as many as they want to describe their own identity. We understand that this may leave some people out. We would appreciate your suggestions as to how to make this aspect of PSD better for everyone.

My partner(s) and I want to date both as individuals and as a group. Can we?

Unfortunately, not yet.

How will PSD deal with polyamorous couples or triads looking to "co-date"?

A group of folks (two or three people) can come looking to date other groups and individuals. Both group and personal preferences are taken into account when the computer sets up the dates. We do not allow groups to rule out meeting solo daters, because we usually do not have enough groups for you to only have dates with other groups.

What ages do you expect?

Events have had ages ranging from late teens to late 60s.

How many dates will I have?

The number of dates ranges from 4 to 14; it will simply depend on who comes to PSD and how many people (or groups) you can be paired with. If it looks like you will have less than 4 dates, we will let you know before the event and offer you a refund. Remember that the more flexible you are, the more people you will match with.

What if I meet someone I like who isn't on my date list?

There is lots of social time at the PSD events and chances are you will get to meet some really cool people. If you meet someone that you like but didn't get a date with them, there is still hope! At the bottom of your date sheet there is a "cruising" section. If you write their ID number down we will send them your name and email address. They don't have to write down yours, and there is no match required. We encourage you to cruise people this way since it removes the awkward social aspects of in-person come-ons. Be shy, and use our system!

What if no one picks me?

After each round you will mark "yes" on your date sheet if you liked your date and want to share your information with them. If you and your date both check yes, we will exchange your info via email. However, sometimes your special someone or someones just did not show up to PSD this time. You can always try again! We aim to have lots of new people at each event.

What if I cancel?

If you cancel at least one day (24 hours) before the event, we will refund half your registration fee. Alternatively, you can elect to use the full amount for future PSD events. If you cancel with less than one day's notice, or are a no-show, then you forfeit your entire fee.

What if I have mobility issues?

We understand that not everyone can make the crazy dash between tables after each round. As long as you let us know before the day of the event, we can make sure you change tables as few times as possible. We want you to have a good time, so let us know if there is anything we can do to make your night better.

How can I help the cause?

The most important thing is helping us cast the net wide. Bring in friends that you have kept secret until now. We love to meet new people and our daters do too!

Are there other poly/non-monogamy resources?

Why yes. Here are a few immediate places to get started.

Polyamory 101 Franklin's Poly Pages. This website is generally considered to be the best Polyamory 101 guide on the internet, especially for people who are entirely new to the concept.

Pepper's Practical Nonmonogamy Guide. This covers the ins and outs of getting into nonmonogamy, with a focus on negotiating boundaries, and is written in an easy-to-digest tip format.

Pepper's Guide to Nonmonogamy for Men. This essay talks about the frustrations people encounter while trying to date in a nonmonogamous manner, and how to actually get a date. While it is written for men attracted to women, much of the advice applies to women and queer folk.

Fetlife Poly & Kinky Forum. This is probably the best advice forum online for people who are both nonmonogamous and into BDSM.

OkCupid. Nonmonogamous people have reported lot of luck on this dating website, which is not poly-specific but does have a very good matching system which will highlight local people with matching tastes.

PolyMatchMaker A polyamory-specific dating site with a fairly active set of forums. However, the site only has about 7,000 subscribers at one time and so it can be hard to find matches outside of urban areas.

BmorePoly. This is the largest poly/alt/etc group in the Mid-Atlantic (DC/MD/VA area), with a huge and comprehensive calendar listing all sorts of events and activities of interest to this community. BmorePoly is also the MidAtlantic sponsor of Poly Speed Dating.