In Loving Service…

Erin Schaden
5 min readFeb 15, 2024

We had our first official speed dating event in Santa Barbara! We had a great turn out and everyone said they had a good time! I have several observations…

The men showed up early or on time and were all super nice. Only two guys bailed, compared to seven women who did.

The women were fun and all seemed to have a good sense of themselves.

Everyone seemed happy to be there and didn’t feel badly about themselves for attending an event like this, on Valentine’s Day, no less.

It was great to see so many 50–60 year olds show up, be present and while not taking things too seriously, not blowing it off either.

Cece did a GREAT job and I was grateful to her and for her. She has found her calling…and I was happy to be the Robin to her Batman last night. She was responsible for making the event what it was: fun, safe, engaging and making 15 loving connections a possibility.

Cece and I didn’t partake in the event. We were too busy running it to be participants. So it was kind of cool to be so close to others intimate dating lives but not be engaged myself.

I like the whole concept of speed dating, even though I don’t really like the term. So much better than online dating! You get to actually meet the person and in four minutes or less, you can see if you have any real interest in the other person, instead of being in a endless text thread that usually leaves at least one person disappointed once you actually meet in person. I cannot tell you how many times I have had a good screen chemistry with someone only to meet them in person and have that fall completely, totally flat.

Last night I watched a whole bar full of people, grown ass adults push themselves outside their comfort zones and show up to whatever the fuck this whole speed dating thing was going to be! And not one person said that they had a bad time. And many lingered long after the event was officially over.

For me, it was interesting to be dating adjacent. So close and involved but separate and apart. I was somewhat surprised to find myself in this mental place where I was super grateful to have the role I had and not have to be one of the brave souls orbiting around the room. I kept checking in with myself and found myself ridiculously happy to be in loving service to my comrades at arms in the delicate position of being single later in life.

I didn’t see any desperate people. I didn’t find one creeper. And no one was bitchy or a dick. It was such a lovely collection of humans making the effort to connect with other humans. One lady gave me the idea to hold an annual first timer’s event for all the people that showed up last night. How cool would it be to get to know the people who took the time to show up last night, and get to know how their dating life goes over time? Pretty fucking cool I think.

I have sat for so long at love’s demise. My own, and others. It was nice last night to be involved in the possibility phase, the beginning, the igniting phase. I felt that there was a great balancing of my efforts last night. I spent all day helping people get out of toxic, unhealthy and very unhappy unions, and then I got to spend the evening providing an opportunity, a venue and a chance for love to ignite and catch fire. Full circle living, which you know how much I love.

Cece and I spent some time recapping last night all that transpired and what we loved and didn’t about the evening. And we will be hosting more events. Next month we will host two events: 20/30s and then 30/40s. I think it would be fun to even have just mixer nights where everyone who has ever attended one of our events gets an invite. I mean, who the hell knows how and when something will ignite? Love, as it comes, really knows no bounds, and our insistence that it be the right kind, in the right age group, in the right moment is at least part of what fucks it all up to begin with.

In the end, for love to flourish all you really need is a chance encounter and a willingness to open yourself up to another person. Biology and chemistry pretty much handle the rest. And I know, from my own experience as well as bearing witness to others experience, love cannot be stopped or thwarted or redirected. Because when we humans love each other, great things come to pass for us and countless others. I mean the very idea of family in our culture is born of the notion that two people met, fell in love and made a decision to build a life with each other.

Last night it was cool to see people my own age dare to try again. Most of us flaming out in some small or large way earlier in our attempts at loving unions. To find ourselves on the back slope of life, showing up and risking it one more time for a chance to experience the magic that only love can produce.

And for me, I loved being in loving service to others, helping them navigate this somewhat dicey sea of fish. I mean, there are always other fish in the sea but often we are too busy swimming and trying not drown, to notice. I loved being love adjacent last night and was truly touched at one couple’s instant and clear connection. It provided me hope. For us as a species, for love, for dating, for myself and for all of you. Last night was a love confirmation. Proving to me one more time that in love and service, my life expands exponentially.





Erin Schaden

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