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Published February 9, 2005

Cupid with a clock
Pre-dating coordinator helps Lansing couples connect

Emily Smith | NOISE


(Jeremy Herliczek I NOISE)
Speed dating coordinator Lisa Tycocki oversees events in which participants meet and talk to 10 or 12 other singles in six-minute "pre-dates."
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For more information on pre-dating or to sign up for an event visit www.pre-dating.com

When Lisa Tycocki, 37, of Lansing was looking to try "speed dating" or pre-dating two years ago (think of it as an adult version of seven minutes in heaven, except you're sitting at a table, you're not really touching, and it costs $32), she discovered there were no events in Lansing, because there was no one to coordinate them. She fixed that problem by becoming the Lansing coordinator for Cupid.com/PreDating and has been helping Lansing-area singles meet ever since.

We talked with her about her matchmaking skills, who pre-dating is a good for and what happens if the guys ask her out.

Q. What are you responsible for as the coordinator?

A. For posting the events in a timely matter and deciding an age range; all customer-service issues. Most people are extremely nervous that I talk to, so I have to do a good job of sounding upbeat.

Q. When people call to sign up, what are some typical questions?

A. What to wear. What actually happens. A lot of people are interested in the caliber of people that attend. Most people just want to chitchat. I end up on long phone conversations.

Q. What's the strangest question you've been asked?

A. (When I'm ) signing a guy up and they say 'What if I want to go out with you?'

Q. What do you tell them?

A. I tell them they'll have to come to the event and see what they think.

Q. You say the popularity of pre-dating is increasing. Why do you think that is?

A. For a number of reasons. No. 1: In our busy work and social lives this is a great way to meet a lot of people, face to face, in a short amount of time, for a reasonable price. No. 2: It's a great way for people who are new to the area to meet a potential partner and/or make new friends. No. 3: It is also a great avenue to meet potential business contacts. No. 4: It provides the opportunity in six minutes to form an immediate impression of someone and whether or not you are interested in getting to know them better. No. 5: It is conducted in a fun, safe, controlled and private environment.

Q. Any disaster stories?

A. At one of my events I had just gotten done going over everything all the participants needed to know and had asked if anyone had any questions. A gentleman raised his hand and asked if he could run to the restroom. I told him yes. After a reasonable amount of time with this guy not showing back up, I asked his friend, who had come with him, to go look for him. His friend came back and said he was gone. The next day I received an apologetic e-mail from the disappearing guy saying that he had panicked. Usually when someone leaves like that or no shows, they are exempt from attending a pre-dating event in the future unless they do contact us with a reasonable excuse. Just this year I saw him at an event and he had a great time and ended up with a handful of matches.

Q. What do you think it takes to be successful at pre-dating?

A. You have to bring your positive attitude and smile. You are not the only one who is nervous. No talking about ex(es). (Don't) be overly enthusiastic and call your match five or more times the day you get your matches. That might seem a little scary.

Q. Since you usually hold the events at bars have you ever had anyone "loosen" themselves up too much?

A. I've had a few ladies get tipsy. They show up with this match sheet that's completely illegible.

Q. Any last pieces of advice to future pre-daters?

A. Don't wear jeans, don't wear jeans, don't wear jeans. It's definitely business casual.


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