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Short Encounters for the Long Haul 

Wednesday, Jan 26 2011
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Any gay or bisexual man will tell you that finding a quick hookup with another man in San Francisco (or anywhere in the world, really) is so easy it runs right through comical and stops somewhere in the middle of scary. But what if you want more than the Anonymous Shuffle? Like a guy who can talk about things that matter to you both, who'll be good with a night at the opera (or a day at the ballpark) as well as the unshaven, ruffled, half-smiling, half-dozing coffee at the neighborhood diner the next day? Or next year? It's pretty difficult. And that fact (like the hookup) is also comical and a little scary. Gay Speed Dating — even though it includes the words “gay” and “speed” right next to each other — aims to help. Organizer and host Craig Sabol says he started the events in 2010 for those seeking long-term involvement (and put this one in early February in preparation for Valentine's Day). Several times a year he gathers about 20 men who all get to meet each other in three-to-four-minute intervals. Each one records his potential matches on a card, and the next day Sabol sends names and contact information to the ones who liked each other. He goes out of his way to put people at ease, but some find the experience jarring at first. He says one participant looked okay when he came through the door, but by the time he sat down he was shaking so hard he couldn't hold onto his complimentary glass of wine. “You're pitching yourself 20 times, and I can see how that's a little stressful,” Sabol says. The man calmed down, though, and despite his initial apprehension, he ended up with a decent number of matches. Like most things in life, he says, "it's really what you make of it.”
Tue., Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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Keith Bowers

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