Valentine's Day is creeping in with the cold, bringing with it equal parts joy and misery — depending on your relationship status.
Zach Allsup of Burlington doesn't have a significant other to dote on this year, and to be honest, that's the way he likes it. No chocolates to buy. No restaurant reservations to worry about.
Just a guy being a guy.
“I really like being single. I really like doing what I want with my time," he said.
Allsup hasn't slammed the door on love completely, though.
"Granted, it would be nice to have someone at the end of the night," he added.
Allsup was one of 12 locals brave enough to try speed dating at The Buffalo Tavern Saturday night, and had more fun than he expected.
"I'm really happy I did this, because of the people I got to meet," he said.
The speed dating event was a new fundraiser put on by the Blondes vs. Brunettes organization, which raises money throughout the year for the Alzheimer's Association. Their fundraising efforts culminate in a flag football game every summer, with teams determined by hair color.
"It's the first time Burlington has had anything like this," said fundraising chairperson Elizabeth Garr of Burlington. "Just being on Facebook, I saw lots of chatter on the public spaces that we needed a speed dating event."
Six men and six women signed up for the event, their apprehension sparking lively conversation. They talked with each other one-on-one for a set number of minutes, then filled out cards indicating if they wanted a second date, a friendship, or simply weren't interested. The cycle repeated until each man had talked with each woman.
It was kind of like having six blind dates, but without the pressure to follow-up.
“The one thing that I can say about it, there’s a lot of great conversation. I am meeting some interesting people from very different walks of life," Allsup said.
Allsup just finished a speed date with Burlington resident Linda O'Donnell, and the two struck up an immediate friendship. O'Donnell laughingly lamented being older than the rest of the speed daters.
"This guy is pretty awesome," O'Donnell said, gesturing toward Allsup. "If he was a few years older."
One of the speed daters happened to be O'Donnell's coworker, which made conversation easy — if not exactly romantic.
"He's the one guy here my age. We just chatted about work for a few minutes," O'Donnell said.
Allsup signed up for the dating event at the urging of his mother, who constantly tells him he doesn't get out enough. His flashy grin and charm suggested otherwise, and he knows one day, a special lady will capture his heart.
Just not today. Or Valentine's Day.
"It's somebody else's world, and I'm just living in it," he said.