Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tiny, bite-sized pockets of KILL ME.

For all you nay-sayers who think I’m not adventurous. Not brave. Not daring. Not “Putting myself out there!” I give you:


Oh yes, yes, I totally did so! Last night I put on my fancy-pants clothes, popped a handful of mints into my mouth and braved the wacky world of 6-minute power-judging. Come, I will tell you about it!

Firstly I was able to find an age group this time into which I actually fit, and there was no obligation that I be able to touch my toes or climb Mt. Anything, so these were both good things. The location was one I’d been to before – a low-key jazzy bar attached to a nice restaurant, decorated in black and blue shades, all sorts of mellow and hip – so that seemed like a helpful atmosphere. I got to the restaurant part a little early (because that’s what they SAID to do! And I follow directions, people!) and registered there with the tremendously, fabulously, possibly radioactively bubbly host lady.

A note: I know I normally change names to protect the innocent, but I’m bending that rule this time for two reasons. One: the name is just too excellent to change and Two: No host of speed dating can be considered innocent.

Host lady’s name was Porsche, but she very specifically pronounced it “Por-Shay.” It was SO HARD not correct her every time she introduced herself. “you’re saying that wrong. I don’t care who’s name it is, you are saying it WRONG.” Porshay didn’t stop smiling the entire 2 hours we were there, and was about 4000% more excited about the idea of an evening of speed dating than any of we attendees. And let me tell you, she REALLY wanted to thank us for coming. Like 5 or 6 times. She was so very, very appreciative. (I really want to make a sexual joke here, but I’m resisting. For now.)

I hit the ladies room before things started and then went into the bar-part where the actual speed dating was to happen and oh hey, look at that! My nice, simple jazzy club is now a North African bar/club/place/thing/deal. And it’s also full of pillows, pillows, pillows! And there are gauzy curtain/drape things hanging everywhere, including places not so curtainy/drapey! And bar-ware with sequins and fancy colors, because apparently that’s how things are in North Africa? And it’s BRIGHT! With lights of COLORS! And there are THINGS EVERYWHERE.

No sooner had I made peace with the fabu new décor I noticed that the place was full of tables. And the tables each had a number. And each numbered table had a dude sitting there. Each one. Had a dude. One dude. That’s it.

Tables with dudes. Dudes all staring at me. Is it. Doooooooods.


I wasn’t early anymore (what with the precautionary tinkle I took) and there were 7 tables full of guys and, counting me, there was a girl-total of ME. So I did the only reasonable thing.

I turned around and walked out.

And by the way, in the time it took me to count all the dude-heads and all the lack of dame-heads and make my classy escape I assure you that all the dudes noticed me too. And noticed my classy escape. So I’m off to a great start here, what with my entrance, panic and retreat. Yeah, right off the bat I was LOVING this speed-dating thing.

I walk back into the restaurant and I’m thinking “ok, so did I get this wrong? Is this maybe the all-dude gay speed dating night? Didn’t the registration lady notice that I’m not a dude? Maybe she couldn’t see me over the glare of her scary white toothy smile? What if I’m the only woman who signed up? What if they want me to go from table to table all night? Just me? What if I spontaneously explode from the hating of a single moment? THERE MUST BE OTHER WOMEN AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE!!”

Sure enough, when I went to the bar in the adjacent restaurant there were a whole BUNCH of women! Drinking and chatting and enjoying that last cigarette, and with Porshay begging them to haul their big butts into the room full of waiting men! I have no idea what the deal was with the various women, or why it is that it took another 10 minutes after I bit the bullet and returned to the little corner of Africa for any of them to wander in! But I can say that sitting there, at table number four, with Dude number four, and with an entire room of ladyless tables and ladyless other dudes staring at me, I developed a significant hatred for every single one of those women.

OK, moving on...

For those of you who have never done speed dating I first say GOOD CALL!!! And then I explain to you how it works:
  • There are tables with numbers, and each dude gets a number, and each dame gets a number. Numbers are crucial in this system. You also get a scorecard where you keep track of the numbers and names of the people you meet, as well as any notes that can fit into a line about 3 inches long.
  • Everyone starts at the table corresponding to their number.
  • You chat or flirt or whatever with your table-mate for 6 minutes. At that point super-bubbly Porshay rings a bell and the dudes all move one table up the list. (so for example the dude at my table moved to table five, and I was joined at my table by dude number three. Get it?) The women don’t move, which is lucky given how DAMNED LONG it took to get these betches to move in from the other bar!!!
  • When the dude moves on, and before the next one sits down, you’re supposed to circle one of two responses on your scorecard: “Let’s Talk!” or “No Thanks!” (or as I preferred to see them, “Seriously?” or “tag and release back into the wild for research”)
I won’t go through every interaction because it would take too long. And be too painful. And also shudder. I can tell you what I wrote in my 2 inch “Notes” section:

Dude 1: “really shy, really nervous, may burst into flames before end of night.”
Dude 2: “lawyer/politician, huge head, tiny teeth, maybe no eyes at all?”
Dude 3: “Navy guy, has possible crush on Dude 2?”
Dude 4: “Network guy, has never been out of Hippyville, probably for the best.”
Dude 5: “real estate lobbyist, thinks this is a competition, VELOUR SHIRT? REALLY?”
Dude 6: “QA for Yahoo. Movie snob. Shiny, shiny, oh-so-shiny head.”
Dude 7: “sports fan, possibly CIA operative, super-cool dude. Just ask him.”

I started with Dude 4, and found it really hard to pay attention to him because over his shoulder, up on a decorative ledge, was a big, stuffed goat. Wearing a gauzy scarf. STARING AT ME. Like he was saying “I have to be here, it’s too late for me. What’s your excuse?” At least once I actually wondered what would happen if, while the guys were shuffling around between bell-rings, I just walked out and went home? But I stuck it out to the bitter (seriously, bitter) end!

It took me only a few minutes to realize the massive flaw in this whole concept, which is this: The worst part of a date, in my experience, is the beginning when you’re just figuring out what to say or how to sit or even if this person has a funny smell or maybe is actually a trained monkey. Speed dating takes that most uncomfortable first few minutes and makes you repeat those, and only those, over and over! You never get past the awkward beginning part to find out if the other person might be worthwhile at all! It’s pretty much “stiff, uncomfortable, awkward, yucky, am I sitting up straight?, wow at least he’s stopped tapping his toe, maybe I could ask him- DONE!” and repeat till crazy! What could there be to rave about in the 1 inch notes section?

When I came home I jumped onto the speed dating website and entered my scores (7 “No Thanks!”, 0 “Let’s Talk!”) and in the next few days I’m supposed to get an email telling me who, if anyone, thought I was awesome. I sure hope I can sleep in the meantime from the excitement. And just in case anybody is still wondering, I will NOT be doing another speed dating night. EEEEVVVVVEEERRR. But I totally get “putting myself out there” points for this one!

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