Last week, my friend thought it would be a good idea to invite me to a speed dating event. She slid the invitation in my DMs with no explanation. Did she think I would benefit from such an outing? What was her end game? I became suspicious when her husband hit me up the next day with the same invitation to embarrass myself. After realizing he had sent me an invite to a completely different event, I felt a conspiracy coming on. I asked him if they really wanted to see me happy, to which he responded “I’m interested in you finding happiness…if in your quest for said happiness you experience moments that inspire you to provide me with comedic happiness then so be it.” What a nice couple.
I wanted to try to speed dating a few years ago, but the event was cancelled the day of, due to low ticket sales. I cannot say I’m surprised – who in their right mind would want to do this? I assume speed dating of today is not the affair that it was once was when an LA rabbi founded the idea in the late 90s. It’s no longer a plethora of men in suits, advertising their MDs and JDs to beautiful coeds. No it’s more the “40-Year-Old Virgin” version, where a masculine woman named “Gina”, pronounced “jy-na”, wants her date to put on a little rouge. I decide to conduct some research, reluctantly deciding to attend at least one, as it would give me built-in material for the upcoming week. Speed Dating Party #1 was on a Thursday, only $10 bucks, and sponsored by a reputable magazine. It was also on South Beach. Being the crabby old lady I am, I immediately thought of traffic and decided against it. Speed Dating Party #2 was further south, being held at a brewery, and FREE. Oh, and it was being put on by a group of people who got together monthly to trade vintage video games and sell handmade scrunchies. And the winner is… the group with the Sega Genesis console for sale!
I sent a message to the event organizer and inquired on sign up. There was an application I needed to fill out, which is detailed below, in its long-form glory:
First Name: Michelle Bee (I’m in the process of a rebranding)
Sexual Orientation: It took me a while to figure out what to write, as usually it’s a bubble you fill out. And with people being so sensitive, I couldn’t remember if I could still say “Straight.” Is that offensive? Does the term imply that others are crooked? Was I supposed to put “heterosexual”, or did I not want to sound like a ancient artifact?
Interests: Sports, concerts, and lemondade
Dislikes: Being late, rudeness, and hair gel
Oh, and did I mention the event was on Valentine’s Day? I asked my friend to join me, and she immediately asks if any lesbians would be there. How was I supposed to know? Wasn’t she supposed to be aware of the gay agenda that everyone keeps talking about- shouldn’t you know the social calendar? I told her about the application, and suggested she also might meet someone there. She refuses, but says she’ll come along for moral support. In her words, “If other lesbians are there, we’ll find each other.”
Fast forward to V-Day night, and I start to get ready. I plan to not get too dressed up, but enough that I shaved my leg slightly above the knee (just in case). I also have this thing where I want to wear my contacts when I go out, but the universe decided that wasn’t going to happen because they proceed to fall in the toilet. I become slightly more enraged than expected, and contemplated fishing it out the bowl. Ok, I totally did, then realized that this is my life, and flushed it and washed my hands for 5 minutes. I put on a dab of clown makeup, danlgy earrings, and polished up my glasses as best I could. Alright, let’s go humiliate ourselves in the name of love!
The place was buzzing when I arrived, but mostly because of the vintage vinyl records and t-shirts for sale. I spot my friend, who immediately said we needed beer. After getting our drinks at the bar, I scanned the room, not seeing anyone who appeared to be ready for speed dating. After playing some Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt like a gangster (directly on the tv screen, of course), we run into the organizer. I find out that my application means nothing, and speed dating would go as follows: there was a long picnic table where the ladies would sit on one side, and the men would rotate on the other, with each of “date” lasting three minutes. I scanned the room and wondered where the men were, because I swore I was at a youth group party night. My friend was also right, as the lesbians swooped in on us, with the organizer being part of the clan. I told her my friend was hesitant to sign up, and she said “oh yeah, there’s only like 4 of us here, so that would’ve been awkward.” I was then approached by a woman I’m pretty was named Criss Angel, who went into detail as to how I could make a good impression on my impending dates. She said that if she was a “straight woman” ( yes, I can still say it!) with eyes like mine, I should take a sip of my beer, look down but somehow still keep eye contact and wink. It seemed like a pretty solid plan.
Ready to get this shit show started, I start to get antsy and wonder aloud when the dating would start. No more than a few seconds later, Lesbian #3 gets on the microphone, yelling “Yo, lonely motherfuckers, keep your panties on! Speed dating will start after the band!” The band was the 305 version of Dashboard Confessional, with a nice backdrop of “Titanic”playing on the wall behind their amp. Very ominous for what was about to happen.
Finally, it’s race time! I sit down to the picnic table in front of a guy who was trying so hard not to look at me. As I studied his demeanor, I realized his nervous tick was not about me, but more about being near humans. He finally turns to me and says “I guess we should talk right?” After the nerves died down ( 1 minute gone), he said he studied the ancient art of karaoke, so my ears perked up a bit. We then realized at 2:45 minutes in that we both loved to spout Eminem lyrics in public, but he quickly let out a crazy laugh and jumped to the next girl. The next young lad was very young indeed, and I as I heard “twenteeeeeee” pass through his lips, I lost my ability to hear anything else he said.. He mumbled something about college credits, internship, psychology – it was all a blur. I am not opposed to dating a younger man, but sir, you can barely drink in Canada. A rundown of some of the other “dates” that stood out:
- Gentleman who had the handshake of a cold fish asked me what college I went to. I kindly told him I was in college 20 years ago, and his face filled with bewilderment. I’m convinced he was wondering if college existed two decades ago.
- My one and only possible match was a guy who said he was forced to come by his buddy, who thought it was hilarious. The subject of birthdays came up and I told him mine was last week. After I told him I was 40, and he just stared at me, saying I could not be serious. As I tried to explain the concept of black not cracking, our time was up. He winked at me and I said “Chris, right?”, with a smile, to which he laughed and says “Ah, no – it’s Tony.” Good job girl!
- The next guy was just as cute and funny, so of course it was Chris/Tony’s friend.
- One young man gave me a dissertation on the merits of “moshing.” He then asked me “does that interest you? Getting hurt for music? The physicality of it?” Um, what?
INTERMISSION: Just as I thought it was over, they let us know that more men signed up than the women, so we had one more round of dudes to peruse. My friend has just sat down in front of me to ask if I had met anyone when a girl blurts out “there’s a lesbian at the table, is this the lesbian table now?”, in the worst hushed tone ever. My friend agreed, and hopped up to go see what the tarot reader thought she was talking about. She should’ve stayed:
- I met a guy who wore a Freddy Krueger sweatshirt, clearly ready to find the love of his life. I tried to talk to him about horror movies and when I told him I could not watch Child’s Play to this day, he looks legitimately looked disgusted and stopped making eye contact. You would’ve thought I told him Blair Witch Project was my favorite thriller.
- This one lad didn’t even ask me any questions, and instead showed me all of the vintage vinyl he just purchased.
- After I told another I was in the marketing field, he gleefully proclaims he’s taking a CLASS right now! Am I at the MDC Friday night mixer??
- A particularly giggly man explained to me that he couldn’t believe he was there. I then asked him who told him about the event, and he couldn’t tell me. I later found him in the parking lot, friendless, leaned up against his car, and hugging himself. I hope he knows where he is now.
As the dating portion commenced, it was never clear how people would even be matched. Chris/Tony was nowhere to be found, and I was trying to hide from Freddy Krueger and Vinyl Man. Realizing I only had IPA for dinner, I decided to make my exit, since there was no clear direction on what to do next except go talk shit in the parking lot. I thanked my friend for being a real one, and promised to never put her through this again. Until next week, and any other subsequent weeks after that, until I find Chris/Tony.
-KEEP IT A HOT MESS