Wednesday, October 24, 2007

project 365 #296: civic center parking deck

Speed Dating. Okay, I went. I saw. I didn't exactly conquer - in fact, it made me feel guilty. I had all these intentions of writing mean and funny things about speed dating and just playing it all for laughs but everyone was so nice. And earnest. And well meaning that frankly, it makes me feel mean and creepy to say rotten things about it.

But then, I am mean and creepy, so I do have a few things to say, the most important of which is NEVER AGAIN. I am never doing that again. It was like going to one of those horrible, horrible Chamber of Commerce Meet N' Greets where everyone mills around and you have to make charming small talk chit chat with people wearing nametags. "Hello, My Name is Jim and I'm a Boring Person from the Corporate Universe." "Hello, My Name is Felicity and Apparently I Have Stumbled Into Some Kind of Terrible Space/Time Rift But No Matter How Many Times I Click My Heels Together I Still Don't End Up Sitting at the Bar at Broadways, Help Me Oh God, I Do Not Speak Their Alien Language and Soon They Will Burn Me At The Stake." Nametags are just never big enough.

Speed Dating took place at the Z Lounge, where I'd never been before, a cavernous cellary space that used to be part of an antique store. When you get there, they give you a card and you're supposed to write down everyone's name on it and then check off in one of the handily labeled columns if you'd be interested in seeing them again for either Business, Friendship or, I guess, Love, although it was dark and I didn't want to fish out my glasses to see if I could possibly read that line. Sex, maybe? Hummmeta Hummeta? Who knows. Who, really, cares? Only in America, I hope, do you get the business option.

Then, if you're female, you sit at a little table with a number on it. I was number 3. I made a Prisoner joke at that point, which noone got except for J. The helpful organizers, four nice women, move you around so that noone is sitting too close to each other, although we managed it so that J & I were close enough that I could toss her a pack of cigarettes - apparently a total dealbreaker for one guy (sorry, dude. These things happen.) There were 10 women and 9 men; the men moved from table to table every seven minutes when a buzzer went off. The women were, mostly, pretty. A couple of the men were decent looking. The drinks were unholily expensive, which created a small bonding experience among everyone. Beers were $4.20, which made me make another pointless joke: "Ah, well, that's a lucky sign anyway!" and noone got that one either, which made me feel again like I'd just landed on Pluto and which made the bartender emit a weary sigh, since she has understandably heard every 420 joke in the known universe.

Then the guys began circulating. My first guy had a striped shirt and was born and raised in Asheville and I got the feeling that he was probably deeply conservative but we did not get into anything resembling meaningful conversation, thank the gods. The second guy was pretty nice and a financial something or other and I, nervous and working too long for nonprofits, hit him up for a donation to the museum. Didn't work and probably wrecked my chances but he was all, like, healthy and shit and you know that wouldn't work out anyway. There was a really, really short guy who said something about spirituality and music - eeep. There was a vaguely hippyish guy who was pretty good looking and into Michael Franti and Widespread Panic. All the women were chatting him up. There was a guy from the hospital, super nice, who was into Youtube and celebrity gossip, eeeyargh. There was a semi creepy real estate guy. There was a sad guy who lives with his parents and runs a convenience store. It all began to blur together and I started to feel like I was living in one of the bleaker Camus novels. There are only so many times you can answer the two key questions - "So, how long have you lived in Asheville?" and "What do you do?" in a chirpy, smiling manner before you just want to say, "I have always lived in the castle and all I do all day is suffer. Suffer, you fools! I suffer!"

And then there was the prize of the evening, a roofer from Hendersonville whose wife had left him 2 and a half years before. He asked me out - he said we could do anything I wanted. He asked J out. He asked everyone out. He said he worked 7 days a week and had for 32 years, which, I suppose, is why he wasn't real up on conversation. His wife took the internet with her when she left (the bitch. Imagine stealing the Internet like that.) She took the dogs too; small dogs who he did manage to describe in some detail. J gave him therapy and shot me desperate looks and finally, finally oh god, it was over and we went promptly to Broadways and drank two cheap beers and vowed, never, ever, ever again.

And now we just have to get to one of the organizers to see how we scored. You're not supposed to find this out, but we want to and we will. I suggested at the beginning that there ought to be a prize for the person who got no votes at all - at the very fucking least, free drinks - but this made the organizers a little nervous and they laughed in that shallow "I don't really think you're funny but I'm working here" way. With a little god given luck I will never see any of these people again - although the Widespread Panic guy was kind of cute and might possibly be okay to hang out with for an evening, or not - but I totally want to know if they liked me, because I am shallow like that and also I had just blown large sums of money on my hair and eyebrows, god damn it, and they better have worked.


harryhood said...

The whole speed dating concept always seemed about as awful to me as you made it out to be. Still, I have considered it. I'm glad I read your account and know better now. I still need a date, but I'll go about it another way.

zen said...

for speed-dating it seemed like it took a long time, but then again we'd have so many people to reject...

That's amerika. Semi-fun, a little embarassing and over-priced.