11 December 2012

Speed Dating. For Real.

Once again, I come to you to report the unbelievable.

I went speed dating.

For real. It happened.
And now I'm going to tell you about it.

Naturally the following tale has to be told with a bevy of qualifiers.

  1. The speed dating was not my idea. Anne The Reporter found a coupon through Living Social and suggested it to a large group of ladies. Of that group, one person replied, then flaked. I replied as well, entirely out of support. If you figure it takes two women to go to the restroom, it must take a small army to go through rounds of speed dating.
  2. I was not excited for said speed dating. I dreaded it almost as soon as I purchased my ticket. I operate on the practical end of almost everything. The probability of the stars aligning in a way that allows two people to be their most captivating selves within a shared five minutes is, well, literally incalculable. But even if it weren't, the odds would be so high my best bet would be a lottery ticket. Essentially, I saw it as pointless.
  3. The affair had to be kept quiet. The people who were invited knew. I told literally 3 other people, and didn't even bother offering details. I agreed to do it. And that was enough. 


And now, I take you to 27 November 2012

I had already had a massage scheduled for that afternoon. I think that timing was what truly convinced me the ordeal would be okay. I typically ride the post-massage high for days. I was sure it would last me through a few hours of forced intimacy. I scheduled 80 minutes - so that any angst could be pre-dissolved. Once my post-spa glow was achieved, I met Anne The Reporter for a cocktail. 

It must be noted that Anne The Reporter was stoked. She was excited to have the experience. I think she was hopeful. I think she had faith in the process. Anne was ready to put herself out there and let all comers do the same. 

In other words, I had no idea how to deal with her. 

Thank heaven for Ms Kerry D. She arrived and was more on my level. Ms Kerry D had played through the same "what-ifs." Where Anne The Reporter had hope, Ms Kerry D and I had reality-based trepidation. 
What if we didn't like anyone? What if we liked men who didn't like us? What if we had nothing to discuss? What if all the other candidates were in their early 20's and we were lonely spinsters who paid and still couldn't get dates? 
It may seem counterintuitive, but those shared thoughts soothed me. I wasn't alone in thinking them. I wasn't the odd (wo)man out. It was a relief. We drank. 

Miss Kerry D, Anne The Reporter, Our Heroine
moments before "the event."
We also got to talking. The conversation turned from what we didn't want, to what we did. We discussed our hopes and our standards. It's always interesting to me what shapes women. I feel like we all have experiences that make us say "never again." And we tilt our heads in confusion to other women who say "that doesn't bother me." We talked ourselves well into the future, only to reign ourselves in from kids and daycare. We had to set our sights significantly lower, for the hour of our reckoning was upon us. 

I went speed dating and it wasn't bad. I would even go again. 

I'm not going to describe the event or the venue, because neither were relevant. I walked in feeling nervous. I maintained that throughout the explainer and the first stop at the bar. I was nervous, until I wasn't. 

It turns out I can turn on the charm with a flick of my neck. I can talk to anyone and enjoy myself. I can laugh and bring laughter. I can easily go on for 3 - 5 minutes and not reveal anything personal. Speed dating was kind of my zone - one in which I could be social and learn about people. I had fun - because I never once had faith in the process. I didn't allow myself the possibility of being disappointed. I neither put myself out there nor asked any  potential suitor to do so.  No, that's not how it's supposed to work. Yes, my father was disappointed in my behavior. But we have to stay grounded in reality. 

It takes time to strike up a relationship. I'm not at a place where I am willing to give that time. I have goals for myself. There are things I want to do before I will consider myself ready for a partnership. I've seen a lot of mistakes made. I absolutely recognize I'll make (more of) my own. Still, I know I'm not ready right now. I'm okay with that.