Let’s put it this way: There were definitely no Mavericks at speed dating. To be honest, there were no Gooses either. But what I did find was a night full of adventure! Buckle your seat belts, everyone. You’re in for a bumpy ride.
My friend Emily and I arrived at a Capitol Hill bar named Wisdom a couple nights ago for our first stab at speed dating. The neighborhood was somewhat sketchy, but the bar had a cool vibe—artsy and low key. We armed ourselves with cocktails (hers tasted like peaches, mine like gasoline), and found our spots.
If you’re not familiar with speed dating, here’s how it works. The ladies sit down at numbered tables, or in our case at pairs of chairs around the room. Then the gentlemen each sit with one lady to share in seven minutes of delightful or uncomfortable conversation. There are even little coasters on the tables that list conversation starters like “What trash TV program or gossip rag are you guilty of indulging in?” or “What is the most hideous article of clothing you own but refuse to toss out?” After the bell rings or the organizer comes around to give the signal, the men get up and move on to the next lady. Everyone has a scorecard to keep track of likes and dislikes. Then at the end of the night, you hand the scorecard in. If both the girl and the guy express interest in each other, then the next day they are given each other’s e-mail addresses. Sounds simple, right?
I went into this experience a little nervous. What were the guys gonna be like? Is it possible that I’d meet someone fun and normal at one of these things? Would I only meet creeps and stalkers? On the Metro ride over, Emily and I made a pact to just have fun, meet new people and laugh a little. Well, the laughing started early.
Before the event started, a guy came up to Emily and I. We introduced ourselves.
I said, “That’s an interesting name. Where are you from?”
“Well, it’s a nickname.”
“So what’s your real name?” I asked.
“Well, you wouldn’t remember it anyway.”
Okay, this night was off to a great start. And lucky for me, Gax was my first date. I took a deep breath, took a sip of gasoline and dove in. He was tall and lanky, like Sheldon Cooper. Originally from Ethiopia, he apparently hadn’t yet learned American customs like responding to questions and making eye contact. The conversation was forced and the only takeaway was that he was unemployed and didn’t know how he was going to pay his bills. Bazinga!
Next I met Craig, an attorney with terrible posture. (Sit up straight already!) Craig was cute, though. Clearly Jewish and cute. (I actually checked twice for a yarmulke.) He was a great conversationalist and I felt a burst of hope! Some of these guys might actually be normal! I mentioned I was a writer and that I love reading crime stories. Well, Craig had a whopper of a story for me. He had once worked a narcotics case where the defendant’s wife (while he was in jail) was assassinated point blank while getting her hair done in a beauty parlor. I was pretty intrigued by the story, but it was a little Debbie Downer. How do you follow that? Oy vey.
Next up: John. Sweet John. Cute, sweet John. I say this because I could literally fit John into my shirt pocket. He was all of 5’5” and 108 pounds, and had the sweetest little smile. Very cute kid man guy boy, in fact. But so little. It was hard to concentrate on his words, though I’m sure they were funny, witty and insightful. I was too busy figuring out how many of his teeny tiny feet could fit into my ballet flat. (Answer: 2.3)
Let’s face it: no dating event could be complete without the resident Fabio. On this night, the part of Spanish heart throb goes to Marcos. He sat down and immediately locked eyes with me. His dark, smoldering eyes didn’t move the entire conversation. No matter what I did or said, he just stared, luring me by his Julio Iglesias powers. It was hard to resist, but I somehow survived without ripping my clothes off. On my scorecard, I wrote: Marcos. Stop staring!
So, did I mention that there was a dog in the bar? It was completely random, but apparently it was the owner’s dog and he just lets him roam around looking for martini glasses to lick. The dog decided to crash my next date with Michael #1, a super nerdy, conservative student. Michael’s story was so exciting. He was an accountant and now is going to school to be a nurse. Excited yet? Somewhere in between him crunching numbers and hitting the books, the dog wanders over and starts smelling my leg. Incessantly. I tried to shoo him away, but this dog was persistent. Perhaps he likes Aveeno lotion? Anyway, the dog was clearly more interested in me than Nurse Boy.
Next date was Michael #2, who had a comb-over and looked 47. He worked in the publishing industry. You’d think working around words all day would give him conversational skills, right? He mentioned he like movies, so I asked him a simple question: “Have you seen any good films lately?” For the next three minutes, literally, he started listing every movie he’s ever seen. “The Descendants… War Horse… Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with Tom Cruise… The Debt… Dolphin Tale… The Muppets… Rocky IV… Karate Kid… Grease… Ben Hur…”
My last date was Jason. Maybe it was that list of films lulling me to sleep, but I don’t remember anything about him. Scorecard just says: Jason. No.
Emily and I turned in our scorecards and walked back to the Metro, sharing stories and laughing the whole time. We curbed our midnight munchies with breakfast food at Silver Diner, and agreed that this was a great experience. Neither of us met our husbands, but we had a great time.
I’d try it again. Who knows? Maybe a young, pre-Scientology Tom Cruise would fancy speed dating. It’s quick and (mostly) painless. And could be a great way to get back that loving feeling that’s gone… gone… gone… whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh.
Status: I got a mutual “match” with Michael #2, the 47-year-old publisher and lover of movies. You see, I ended up writing down several guys’ names, because I was completely curious to see if they’d pick me (and the only way to really know is if you pick them, right?). The one guy I would have liked to go on a date with was Craig, the Jewish attorney with great war stories. I put down a few others in an attempt to play Sherlock Holmes. Well, I learned that, as much as my mom thinks I’m a great catch, lots of guys don’t like me. Craig passed. Nerdy Michael passed. And even little Johnny passed, although I admit I put him down as an experiment to see if I scare away little boys. The answer is yes, unless they’re Mexican. Then they love me and call me “amor.”
**This post is part one of a speed dating series. Click here to read what happened after the speed dating event!