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He first tried speed dating five years ago, at Atlanta’s Dragon Con. He estimates he is the third or fourth fastest assembler of bicycles in the Walmart corporation.

“It was like twenty guys and five girls,” he recalls. Later that year, he emailed the organizers of Stars Wars Celebration V to suggest they try speed dating. He says his friend and speed-dating collaborator Jeff Hubbard is the best assembler in the world. Hubbard has been assisting Sci-Fi Speed-Dating setup and ticket sales since the beginning.

Slightly bedraggled and rain-soaked, I take my place in line and pull out a book, hoping Pikachu and a swipe of red lipstick will be enough to get me into this session. I crack Star Wars jokes and paint my nails with Doctor Who stuff, but I’ve never seen Firefly.

I love Miyazaki and debate over who the best X-Men are (Rogue and Gambit, anyone? When I was a teenager, I attempted to learn Elvish — mostly because I liked Tolkien, and partly due to my (still-standing) crush on Orlando Bloom.

If we felt uncomfortable or unsafe during a date, we were to stretch our arms and arch our back.