On Tuesday night I went to a free session of Speak Easy during FIAF’s open house. Speak Easy is essentially speed dating, but instead of swapping potential romantic partners every ten minutes, you swap language partners and spend five minutes speaking French and five minutes speaking English with each one. Speak Easy started in Paris, I think, and came Stateside just recently. I have tried to sign up a few times but never jumped on it fast enough – tickets for native English speakers sell out in like five minutes (though that’s never the case for native French speakers. They practically have to give those tickets away, because English speakers are to French speakers in speak dating as women are to men in speed dating).
Well, I got lucky and heard about this special Speak Easy event early enough to nab a spot. And I got lucky again when two of the four people I was paired up with offered to have our conversation 100% in French because they speak English all day and don’t need to practice.
It was really fun. An MC gave us conversation prompts each time we switched languages, and sometimes we followed them and sometimes we didn’t. I met a photo editor, a French teacher, a techie and a woman who works in a bank (Virginie, above). All very nice people and all sparkling conversationalists.
The next Speak Easy in New York is on September 28th, and as per usual it’s already sold out for native English speakers (unless you’re under 30; I guess they are trying to skew younger). It’s co-hosted by French Morning and Fluent City so get on their lists and act fast if you want to try it out!