Sunday, April 5, 2015

I survived speed dating

And I know you want to hear ALL about it.

Since my long absence from this blog, I have a few posts elsewhere that I'll be adding and updating here as I am able. This story is from July 2014.
I've long been frustrated at Internet dating and wanted to give something new a try out of curiosity. The event was called "Speed Dating Event For All Active/Fit Lifestyle Single Professionals Ages 26-39," which ought to have been right up my alley.
I'm told that the organization frequently used that restaurant location, but they did not bother to tell participants that it was across the street from the same restaurant's former location, now an empty building, and that Google maps only recognizes the empty one. Minorly irritating, but I found the right place and walked in the door right at 7:30, when the event was scheduled to start.
And the coordinator first thing instead of greeting me, aggressively stated, "You're late." So, instead of welcoming me as a participant and putting me at ease in a traditionally stressful situation, I was briefly panicking and believed I'd be turned away entirely after I'd already paid for the event, the information for which was very clear to say that it wouldn't begin until everyone arrived. "It's 7:30 RIGHT NOW," I retorted, not about to take that shit. One woman and several men arrived later than me; two women and three men were no-shows altogether.
The coordinator led me to my table and then told me not to follow him (presumably because it was a small space?). He had info for me and to explain how things worked, so I stood beside him waiting for him to tell me eye-to-eye before I sat down and he told me to sit down because he didn't want to talk to me face to face, instead standing over me to tell me how things worked. It's obvious bullshit macho posturing, and I do not have patience for that crap.
This was all in the first five minutes of my arrival, and the event hadn't even begun.
It was held in a loud restaurant with the tables too-close together, and after four meets, I was exhausted at yelling across the table but had five more men to meet. It was a lot of sensory overload, and I was uncomfortable and jittery the whole time. Our waitress was brand new and had no idea what to do with our group and was equally uncomfortable.
Each meeting was six minutes, which was not long enough for me to be impressed or determine whether I wanted to date anyone again, but I had a good attitude and checked "yes" for the five who were OK-ish. Hot paramedic wouldn't even look at me the whole time we spoke. (Wtf, dude?) A couple men seemed much too old for me, or maybe just old for their age.
There quickly developed a pattern that the men wanted to dominate or lead the conversation, which I found dull and difficult to let them do. Had I known what to expect, I'd have been prepared to take the lead myself. I did have a nice time chatting up the woman next to me before and after the event though, and she recommended some groups to check out that might be better for meeting people, since we were both underwhelmed by the event.
Only one man out of the nine "chose" me, and I hadn't even had the chance to tell any of them I'm an unshaven feminist to give them a reason for being put off. I did not find the one interesting but might drop him a line because six minutes doesn't count for much. I was vaguely disappointed but mostly relieved that the ordeal was over. I'd only felt lukewarm about anyone in attendance.
I had no idea what to expect going in-- whether the type of people who did this were brave, crazy, or desperate. And I guess I can cross it off my bucket list now, but it was an uncomfortable event, and I can usually handle myself well in social stuff that I choose to attend.

Unless I find an organization that offers these events for bi/gay/queer folk, I'm pretty sure I won't be doing this again for some years at least, unless maybe I lose a bet or something.

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