There are times in my life when I discover something interesting about myself because of a situation I'm put in. Such is speed dating, and the strange influence it had on me. I learned a lot about myself last night, and maybe something I didn't want to know.
The other day, a colleague of mine asked me if I would want to speed date with her. She said the woman running it desperately needed guys. I turned her down, thinking that at my age I didn't need speed dating. However, I realized that if I went to speed dating, it could be an interesting blogging experience. So I asked you and overwhelmingly people said they wanted me to do it.
Yesterday, I was still reluctant to go. After reading that the event cost 40 dollars, I was against the idea altogether. I was going to back out. But my colleague cornered me, telling me they absolutely needed single men. She put me on the phone with the person who ran it. I saw a unique opportunity.
"Hi Brett. I'm told you're a single guy."
"Last time I checked."
"Um, so anyways, would you like to come?"
"Yeah, you see, it's the holidays, and forty dollars is a lot of money. If you waived the fee, I would go."
"I can't waive the fee, but how about thirty dollars."
"Okay, fine, I'll do it for fifteen, but only because it barely covers the costs of appetizers and alcohol."
"Can I bring my friend R-dogg for the same price?"
"Deal. But you can't tell anyone."
"Who would I tell?"
So apparently I was speed dating, but I was doing it wholesale, which appealed to the New York City Jew in me. I do love a bargain.
There's a lot of caution in the air as R-dogg and I walk into the bar around 6pm. I've showered and changed into something a little less formal while he has come directly from work sporting a nice looking suit. His manner suggests that he is only here for moral support, but I can tell he's as curious as I am.
Nametags are furnished, instructions given, hard alcohol ordered. I sat down at a table, which had a sign on it that read "Have you exhausted all the internet dating sites?" I panicked. The other day I wrote a diatribe against internet dating. Was speed dating for people who have already tried internet dating and failed?
R-dogg was looking around the room, hoping to see someone he was interested in. Our eyes met and in a moment of immense truth (horror), we both realized that we were by far the youngest people there by at least ten years. Sometimes you can feel that exact moment when hope tears itself out of your mind and dies a quick death on the floor. I hadn't even realized that there was any hope until the moment it left me.
But I'm a fighter, and also a talker. So I decided to be pleasant and jovial regardless of who the person was. My friend Kim the librarian had warned me that being mean was a sure sign of karma beating the hell out of me later on in life. I reached down inside myself and grabbed the social Brett. He was dragged out kicking and screaming.
In retrospect, I feel kind of bad. My coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable situations is to let whatever the hell is on my mind to crash out of my mouth. The format for speed dating is that a guy sits at a table and every five minutes the women rotate. So after introductions and handshaking, I began just talking. Those who know me realize that when I begin ranting you either better settle in or feign illness, because I don't stop. So the common speed date went something like this.
"Hi, I'm Julia."
"Hi, I'm Brett."
"Oh, so what do you do Brett?"
"Well...(insert heavily caffeinated Brett rant here.) Anyways, what about yourself?"
"Oh, uh, well..."
Ding, time to move ladies.
There were a lot of blank stares and polite "good lucks."
I learned very little about the women, but I'm sure they learned a lot about me. Almost certainly too much. I bet they've probably set up a support group for those women to recover after having to deal with me for five minutes. That's how intense I can be sometimes.
One of the more interesting things was the Journal Inquirer reporter who showed up to interview people. My hypermind began saying the strangest things about dating and interconnectedness with people. I think I quoted Marcel Proust and Plato. The actual article that comes out of it will be interesting to see. If she uses any of my quotes, she'll have to seriously format.
The evening ended with R-dogg and I meeting Kim and Langarang at another bar. Fortunately by then my energy level was sapped, so my friends didn't bear the brunt of my insane diatribes. Luckily, we spent the rest of the evening watching white collar business people badly dancing. Elaine Benes would have been so proud.