I’ve never been to a speed-dating event although the thought has crossed my mind for the past few years, most recently in the past few months. See, as a single 30-something year old, never been married, no children, you start to seek out opportunities to “meet people”, men in particular.
Now to some people, the idea of signing up for an event with the goal of meeting another single person may seem absurd. I mean, after all don’t they say “you’ll meet the right one when you stop looking”, and isn’t it supposed to happen naturally?
That’s how my mom met my dad, and my brother met his wife, and my other brother met his wife, and my sister met her husband, and my other sister met her husband. You know naturally, chance, fate, circumstances… and as much as I’d like to believe I’ll meet someone ‘naturally’ too, the reality is, I’ve been dating for over 20 years now, and have no prospects in sight.
The closest I ever got to marriage was in a 5 year relationship during college, we lived together for 2 of those years. That ended around 1996, and I can’t say that even a mutual thought of marriage has come up with anyone since.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had romance, I’ve had love, heartbreak, intense connections, spontaneous adventures, one-night stands, soul-mate type connections, you name it.. But back to the story at hand…
I received a free ticket to www.speeddatephiladelphia.com ‘s event “Single In The City”. I checked my calendar, I had nothing planned. Free? Why not! Okay, I rsvpd.
I woke today feeling fine, but as the hours got closer, I started to feel a little queasy. Were those butterflies? Just get dressed. Just get dressed and GO. I started to second guess myself, and get a little melancholy thinking about the events that have led me to the point in my life where I feel the need to attend an event to meet eligible bachelors.
I started to wonder what people think about someone like me, someone that is willing to sit in a room with strangers for the chance of what? A spark, a connection, or maybe just a kinship.
It’s funny really. As a teenager I had my fair share of heartaches, but I was never single for long. I liked having a boyfriend. I loved having a boyfriend. I’ve always been a romantic. I’ve had my fair share of wild boys and wild times too. I’ve dated internationally known musicians, successful producers, recognizable actors and award winning directors. In fact I’ve had intimate relationships with not one, but two men who have graced the cover of PLAYGIRL Magazine. Yep, that’s right, two of my past lovers have not just been IN Playgirl, but have bared it all on the cover.
Needless to say my qualifications of “interesting” and “adventurous” may be a bit higher than your average gal. Yet here I am, talking myself into putting makeup and jewelry on to venture out into the world of speed-dating. What the hell happened, how have I not found my one and only yet?!
I arrived at my destination about 10 minutes into the registration/mingle portion of the “Single in the City”, speed-dating event. As I entered the bar I was greeted instantly by the team. They explained the drink/food specials, handed me my table-card which I would use later to take notes on each of the speed-dates, and an ice-breaker game to play before-hand.
I looked around and saw a crowd that at first glance appeared to be very much *not* the social circle that I frequent, however, I had signed up for this and was going to experience it 100%.
I jumped right in with the ice-breaker game (the object was to fill in the entire graph with the initials of ppl in the room that had done said object on paper ), by approaching the very first guy(s) at the end of the bar closest to the entrance. I figured, I might as well go straight down the bar.
What I noticed, besides the fact that most of these guys seemed 50x more nervous being approached by a woman than your typical comic-con attendee, was that no one expanded on their answer. I would approach each guy or guys in most cases, they seemed to turn around in groups, and after I introduced myself and asked them if they could fill in any empty spots on my graph, they were done with our interaction. There was SO much room to take this ice-breaker further, but in 100% of my interactions they initialed the square and were done. It was a great idea, but the men seemed way more interested in the appetizers than playing the game with us ladies.
Hello. My name is Leah C.
I am: A Taurus, Free-Spirit, and Spiritual.
I enjoy: Yoga, Road-Trips, and Thunderstorms.
That is what I put on my “table-card” that they handed me when I walked into the event. 3 blanks for “I am” and 3 blanks for “I enjoy”. It is this card that you place in front of you on your table, and is the topic starter of each 5 1/2 minute speed date. On the back of our “table card” is a place to take notes on each ‘date’ as well as circle yes/no for a match. (A match = Yes give this guy my contact info)
There were 11 guys, 11 girls. They sat each of us ladies at a numbered table, I got my favorite number 4, and then every 5 1/2 minutes time is up and the gent at your table, dismisses himself and heads to the next table in the sequence. Easy enough.
#1- This guy was total Revenge of the Nerds, with a very high-pitched shrill voice. He read my table-card out-loud, I read his, and then we both fumbled to fill up the next 5 minutes and 15 seconds. I resorted to grabbing one of the cards on the table with suggested topic starters, and randomly chose a #, asking him “if you were an animal what would you be”. His answer was “a fox”, which believe it or not, fit this gentlemen’s physical appearance, we laughed, he loosened up a tad, and pretty soon he was off to the next table.
#2- This guy, appearance wise, was the only one that I had approached during the ice-breaker that struck me as somewhat-attractive (in my opinion), but had come off a little snotty and disinterested. He sat down, and the conversation flowed pretty nicely. We got on the topic of outdoors adventures and he told me of some great places not far away where he’s gone hiking that have waterfalls.
#3 This gentleman was handsome in an at least 12years older if not more way, a silver fox I suppose you’d call him. I was intrigued at first, we chatted about travel, and then he made a distasteful lesbian joke, and lost me completely.
*It was somewhere around this point that I had to hold back my tears, and convince myself not to make a quick get-away to my car*.
#4 Was what one would call a “South Philly guido”, however he is the only one that sat down and immediately asked ME a question, and a good one. He simply said, with deep blue eyes, “Why are you here?” I answered honestly. His reasons were somewhat similar, basically he said he wanted to get out of the club scene, and move on to a real relationship. Mr. Guido was starting to win me over, and then I found out he had a 10yr old daughter, who in his own words, “If I’m not busy doing something else, I’ll pick her up and go to a movie.” Wrong answer.
#6 He’s one of only two that asked me what I did for a living, and talked a little bit about the entertainment community.
*At this point we took a break. 6 down. 5 to go. I went up to the bar with the girl at the table next to me, to order some appetizers and we found out that the appetizers that the men were chowing down on during the ice-breaker portion was actually provided by the event organizers for all of us to share.*
#7 was my first non-white dater, and the only one that asked me what I meant by “spiritual”, which allowed me to talk about my journey from Catholicism to where I am today. He considered himself spiritual as well, and explained that his parents were Catholic and Muslim, but didn’t go much into his own beliefs. We talked mainly about yoga, which was something he wanted to try.
#8 sat down at the table with a completely BLANK table-card. He didn’t fill in anything. I don’t even think he put his name. When I asked him to verbally fill in the blanks for me, he acted as if I was making him do a chore he really didn’t want to do. I was pretty much completely turned off by this dude, and then upon finding out I was an actor, he asked the question that is simply a big pet-peeve of mine, “Oh what have you done? Anything I would know? Have I seen you in anything?” I told him I had worked on some great projects, and when he balked at my non-response, I asked him what were some of the names of the sexually abused children he worked with, were there any cases that he worked on that I would have heard about on the news?” That pretty much shut him up.
#9 was the only person that listed his occupation in the “I am” spot of course, that’s because he was a singer. But not the rock n roll kind that I go weak in the knees for, his project, turns poetry, famous and non, into songs and perform them live in a theatrical kinda way. Interesting, but there was just something about this guy… he was a little off.
#10 reminded me of the Centaur from The Chronicles of Narnia. He was an Indian guy (East Indian, not Native), and had a mischievous grin, yet still very shy and unsure of himself. He recently had a relationship end with a “you’re not my type”, and he asked me to explain what that meant when a girl said that. He also asked me how quickly during this 5 1/2 minute date did I make up my mind. I didn’t really have an answer to that, but he said he knew within 30 seconds, and he added, that he’s rarely wrong on his matches. It was just enough confidence to put him in that, okay, you’re cute column.
#11 also sat down with a blank table-card. We were at the very last round, and how the other 10 women let him get away w/out filling out his card I don’t know, but when I expressed my interest in his answers, he filled it out for me. We talked a little bit about yoga, he had just started it, but mostly he talked about his job as a College Recruiter and the fun antics he and his co-worker have as they travel around, all-expenses paid, recruiting.
70% of the men read my table-card and decided to ask about Thunderstorms. Meaning, 70% of the time my conversation started off with me talking about how after living on the West Coast for 12 yrs I realized the only thing I like about the East Coast weather is thunderstorms.
Only 2 asked what my occupation was.
Only 3 shared their occupation with me.
No one asked if I’d been previously married or about children.
All in all, there was no one I was physically attracted to, there was no one that made my heart go pitter-patter, or sit up and take extreme interest in, BUT, each guy, (except for maybe #8), was there with a very open-heart, hoping to share a piece of themselves in their quest to give and receive romantic love, and that made it an enjoyable experience.