Thursday, September 14, 2006

A tale of speed dating -- HurryDate on U Street, or, Hurry Up and Get Me Out of Here!

"So, I went speed dating last night."

That statement has provoked several reactions: amusement, confusion, laughter, and most of all the question, Why??? Well, I went because I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to meet some people in real life as opposed to just clicking through them listlessly on I wanted to dip my toe in the Dating Waters. I guess -- if you wanna look deeper -- I wanted to find a Soulmate.

What I found was more like a Krispy Kreme donut: a creamy center of 2 or 3 genuinely nice girls, surrounded by a boring and pedestrian cushion of cardboard cutouts with no personality to speak of, and covered with a sprinkling of Total Bitches.

Speed dating is supposed to let you figure out in 4 minutes whether you're interested in seeing someone again. Although it does perform that function, I'm not sure that's how I would phrase it. Let's try this: Speed dating lets you figure out, within 1 minute, who you absolutely NEVER want to see again.

I know that's rather a negative construction, but it's accurate. The girls for whom I circled yes, I can't say for sure whether they're a "match." All I can say is that I wouldn't mind hanging out with them to find out. But it takes a lot longer than 4 minutes to open up, lose the nervousness, ignore the absurdity of the 4-minute date, and really start to get to know someone.

But 4 minutes is PLENTY for figuring out who you never ever for the rest of time ever want to talk to or see again, ever. Period. Ever. Some people are so humourless, so devoid of spirit and playfulness, so fundamentally evil and bitchy, that their very existence is an affront to all that is Fun and Just and Good. These are the kinds of people who could scare a puppy simply by looking at it, or who kill plants and drain all the color out of flowers just by walking past them.

It's time for some examples! And for help recounting the evening, I hereby introduce everyone's favorite ne'er-do-well, the jolliest man you'll ever sit next to on the Metro, it's none other than the Earl of Gweepshire, the El Senor Gweepay himself, in the flesh!

Dave, why don't you get us started.

Thanks Matt. Direct from Alabama was the woman I like to call the Stealth Bitch. I give her this moniker due to her initially sweet, fun demeanor that evaporates upon any sort of male contact. But don’t just think this girl is a man-hating feminazi; oh no, it goes much deeper than that. Nay, this particular female falls into that rare but seemingly all too frequent category of individuals who possess the uncanny and likely diabolical ability to suck all of the energy, fun, and goodness out of a person, situation, or room. It’s the Midas touch with a twist, and to say it’s not pleasant would be an insult to unpleasantries.

Unfortunately for me, Stealthy was my last “speed-date” of the evening, meaning I had to end things on a bad note. I had high hopes for the Stealth One --- she appeared relatively cute from afar and seemed fun if a bit demure. As Ursula the Sexy Sea Witch blew her whistle-of-sorts, indicating that it was time to move to the next table, I happily took my seat across from Stealth. I introduced myself and shook her hand. She smiled. Then she dropped the bitch bomb.

“So, what do you do for a living?” said I.
“Oh, I’m a math teacher,” she said.

I then attempted to impress her by telling her all about the magnet program that they had for smart kids in the crappy part of the crappy state which I hail from, and how I was placed into that magnet program in high school, and how I was good at math, but I ended up hating it. Naturally, I thought this story would accomplish two objectives. First, it would allow us to develop a connection based on a shared experience: she teaches math; I had a neat story about being taught math. Secondly, it allowed her to learn more about me, where I’m from, and so forth.

Bitchy’s response? A look. A sort of bitchy look that communicated to me: “Stop trying to pretend we have things in common.” She then moved on to another topic. I tried to soften her up by pointing out that I could read her subtle accent, and that she was obviously from somewhere down south. For a moment, she let her guard down. She was from Alabama, she reported. I told her I was from Michigan.

“Yeah, you have a northwestern accent,” she replied.
“Northwestern? You mean like Washington and Oregon?” I said, knowing that she misspoke and really meant “midwestern,” and trying to add some joviality to the situation.
“No! NORTHWESTERN!” she said, defensively.
“So…Washington and Oregon?” I asked again.
“Oh, I meant midwestern,” she said dismissively, almost offended that I dared to point out her mistake, even in a fun way.

Now contrast that with the many more pleasant vixens that were present, all of whom may or may not turn out to be less than perfect for the Dynamic Duo of speed dating, but all of whom brought a certain sort of charm to the speed dating experience. Like the second grade teacher from Baltimore who was as inquisitive as she was perky, asking all sorts of interesting questions that made one pause to think and ponder.

Oh, I liked the second grade teacher. Of everyone there, she made me smile within the first ten seconds of talking to her. There was just something about her demeanor that radiated friendliness -- requisite, I suppose, when dealing with little kids all day. I can tell you this: If Bitchy McBitchBitch had to deal with 2nd graders all day, there would be no 3rd graders. The 2nd graders would all die from lack of sunshine.

Let's keep talking about the Bitch for a few more minutes. I asked her for three words to describe herself, because, you know, we've only got four minutes and I'm trying to figure out what makes people tick. Now, I've had problems in the past with this question -- a few years ago, someone's three words were "honor, duty and loyalty." Somehow I didn't think that Marine answer would go well with my "creative, musical, curious." The next few minutes were spent in near silence. Ugh!

Hoping for the best, I asked what her three words were. "Loyalty," she said. I started having flashbacks to the Marine. "Feistiness." Coming from the 2nd grade teacher, that would have been great; coming from this one, it didn't bode as well. "And I'm not going to give you a third word."

Me: "Why not? Too many to choose from?"
B-McBB: "I'm just NOT. It's just those two." No smile.
Me: "Okayyyyyy..... well, um, explain a little. How are you loyal?" I say, in my best grin-and-bear-it style.
Her: "I'm very loyal to my friends and family."
Me: "That's great. But let's test it..." I say with a mischievous grin. "Let's say your best friend got into an argument with somebody, and things got chaotic and she ended up somehow pulling out a dagger and--"
Her: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
Me: "Okay okay but let's just say--"
Her: "No, I am not going to answer your question. My friend would never pull out a dagger."
Me: "Okay, then let's say it's just a regular knife, not a dagger."
Her: "I am a mathematician," she says with an icy stare. "We don't speculate about things that would never happen." I didn't tell her that as a law student we speculate about this stuff all the time.
Me: "Well, as a mathematician surely you study probability, so what if, though it's improbable--"
Her: "I'm NOT talking about this."
Me: "Well I sure see the feistiness."
Her: Icy stare.
Me: Shudder. "Speaking of loyalty, did you hear about the homeless guy in Dupont Circle and his dog, Precious? Apparently they used to be there all the time and the dog was very friendly. Well a couple days ago he was chasing squirrels in the Circle and a cop came to the homeless guy and told him to put the dog on a leash. The homeless guy hesitated and the cop started shouting, going ballistic. So Precious is curious and runs up to see what's going on. She stops a few feet from the cop, who by this time has pulled out his GUN, and suddenly shoots the dog!" This really did happen a few days ago. I was trying to see if she was at all sensitive, or if she would feel any remorse for the dog or his bum master.
Her: "I'm not surprised," she says coldly. "It was a police officer."
Me: "I always thought police are supposed to help."
Her: "They DON'T. They just harrass. I was harrassed three times this year by police!"
Me: "Wow, what happened?"
Her: (Very angry.) "The first time, I was driving and a cop pulled me over for NO reason, and started HARASSING me. Just because my registration had lapsed or something. The second time, I turned when the sign said not to, and again a cop came up and started YELLING at me and TOTALLY harassing me. I didn't do anything! And then..."

She went on to talk about another time when another cop "harrassed" her for "not doing anything," but by this time I was so fed up with this bitchy girl and her warped sense of reality and her inability to be playful or funny or even SMILE at all, I was wondering how the laws of physics had inexplicably altered so as to turn four minutes into four YEARS, and I was wondering why I had shelled out $35 for this.

What a bitch! But there were some good ones... like the spunky architect, also from Baltimore, who had a quirky temperment mixed with a no-bullshit attitude, which your humble correspondent loves, because that means she’ll do all the stuff in the relationship that requires confrontation (which I hate), but also won’t be a bitch to me personally (which I also hate). In that sort of relationship, everybody wins! And by “everybody,” I mean me.

And who could forget the Italian minx from Long Island, who now lives in Baltimore, who was sweeter than, er, something incredibly sweet, and who loved San Francisco. And then of course there was the Asian architect, and she too was from Baltimore, who was a proud INTJ. Once again, is it too early to say whether any of these girls would be even a halfway decent “match” for our Heroes? Absolutely. But were they eons and eons more pleasant to chat with for four minutes than Bitchy McBitchBitch? You better believe it.

I really liked the Asian architect. I didn't know she was an INTJ, but as a fellow INTJ, I'm not surprised we clicked. I met her by the end of the evening, and after two hours of meeting a bunch of random girls, I was done with it. I told her as much. I told her I'm an introvert and I really would rather be somewhere else. She asked why I would come to one of these speed dating things, being an introvert and all. I explained that my introversion gave me even more of a reason to sign up -- it would force me out to meet people! All in all, we had a good chat and it was a pleasant way to finish the evening. She was a definite Yes... I wonder if she said Yes to me too? But wait a sec -- even if she did say yes, she's in Baltimore! What's up with that? Am I going to have to drive all the way out to Baltimore??

Why were there so many girls from BALTIMORE present? Look, I got nothin’ against B-More. It has a certain charm to it, if charm can be measured in gunshots and drug deals, and I’m sure it’s a fine city. But come on, Hurry Date, do you know how FAR B-More is from DC??? Me? I’d have to take the Metro, and then switch lines, and THEN take the “MARC” train for an hour, and then, once in B-More, take a cab to my damsel’s place. That’s too many transfers for me to even calculate.

I don’t want a girlfriend who lives in another city. Because, as the guy, we all know that I’d be the one having to sacrifice and go up to friggin’ Baltimore every friggin’ weekend. At that point, the only way to sustain the relationship would be to talk on the phone for an hour or two a day. I run out of things to say on the phone in 7-10 minutes. This is all very upsetting.

In any event, with just hours to go until I find out which of our fine Hurry Daters selected me as a match, I am being realistically optimistic. I’m hoping for 2-3 mutual matches. I predict that the following girls will select me:

1) One of the three quirky architect girls from Baltimore. Hopefully that spunky gal, but probably not.
2) One of a) Long Island chick or b) inquisitive 2nd grade teacher, but not both.
3) One random girl who I haven’t thought much about, possibly even someone I marked “no” to, like the girl from Nigeria named after a brand of shoe.

I said no to the shoe also. Overall, I marked yes for seven of the 14 girls we met, but a few of those were pretty borderline. I am also hoping for 2-3 mutual matches -- actually, I want the same ones as you! The 2nd grade teacher or one of the architect girls. They seemed to like me. I went up to them after the event was over and said, "Now, I know you're all friends. And I just want to tell you: Please don't fight over me."

But ultimately, if no one picks me, I won't be too down about it. After all, HurryDating, SpeedDating, FrenzyDating -- whatever you wanna call it -- is fundamentally unnatural. I much prefer to meet my women the old-fashioned way: On the Internet.


Anonymous said...

I think you should change the first paragraph to read "I wanted to find a soulmate" not "my soulmate". There can be many within a lifetime.

-a soulmate

Matt said...

you're right. changing it.

Di said...

Hmm... I am struck by G's story about the mathmetician... I can tell you that I've been on her end of such conversations, whereupon someone learns of my work and launches into how much they love CSI/Law & Order/serial killer books and it is sort of a turnoff for some reason... I wish I could say why. I think because I feel like it trivializes my profession and all the consequences I deal with when someone has this interest as a hobby.... I don't know.

Cuatro said...

Great write-up, guys! I think that the tag team of Gweeps and Schwartz really works! You did an excellent job of communicating the ambiance of the entire evening so well, as well as the merits and demerits of SpeedDating, that I suggest that you revisit this format in the future, and soon!