Let's back track a moment, shall we? Isn't the reason that we all signed up for internet dating pretty much because we weren't meeting people at the bar?!?! I mean, how many times have you read the phrase "I'm over the bar and club scene, you don't meet any quality people out there anyway." Honestly, the whole point of going online is that I can see your picture, read a little bit about you, decide if I want to get to know you better and THEN we meet up in person. Meeting in person (while you can sense an immediate chemistry...or not) does save time by skipping the part where you have to do lots of legwork (reading and replying) and it does cut out the middle man in a sense. It also breaks down the protective barrier between me and the millions (ok, thousands... maybe hundreds) of potential suitors out there.
Point being, this event had its pro's and con's and I wasn't sure whether or not I was really looking forward to it. To some extent, I enjoy the privacy and comfort of hiding behind my computer while looking at guys online. There is a level of security I retain while responding to people in my pajamas. If I send a message to a guy and he doesn't reply back, I can look at 15 other profiles and know that someone else will write to me soon. If I'm at a bar and I smile at a cute guy and he doesn't respond with a smile or start a conversation, I feel rejected. My entire world collapses around me. It's like junior high all over again!
*Note, I was actually pretty cute in junior high despite the triangle bangs and flower print dresses. My first boyfriend kissed me in the stairwell between English class and lunch. It was only on the cheek but hey, I was 12! I knew then that I was in love. I scribbled my first name with his last name on every scrap of paper I could get my hands on. I circled our initials in hearts with arrows through them. Alas, we broke up 3 days later via note in the cafeteria (which was passed to me by him through at least 4 other people) but that was my first taste of love. He now reads this blog!!!*
As I was saying, it's comfortable in the protective bubble of online dating. You don't have to wear make up or blow out your hair until the meeting part occurs. You can take your time getting to know someone over a period of a few days, weeks or even months before seeing them in person. You can discuss details of your lives without actually having to intertwine them in any way. And you decide who you meet, when and where it will happen, knowing that there won't be some cuter / taller / skinner / nicer / smarter girl also vying for his attention and flirting with him from across the bar, making eyes over her fruity pink cocktail!
Just to be clear, I AM a tall, cute, nice, smart, fit woman which means that I should not be threatened by these other girls. But I can't help it. A hot guy walks into the room and I feel like he's gonna be attracted to the Amazonian ditz wearing Prada instead of educated, sweet, wonderful me. Online, I'm only dealing with myself. Out there, it's a fight to the death and these bitches were prepared to throw down! Which is of course how I wound up talking to the web designers and law students and not the muscle-y tattooed guy with the too tight t shirt.
Of course, I couldn't just show up at this crazy shindig alone. I knew that I needed reinforcements, thus I talked my fashionable, successful, amazing girlfriend into coming with me. She's bright, cheerful and doesn't take shit from anyone. We also want completely different things in a guy so I knew she'd be there as moral support, and not to steal a man out from under me should I tell her I think he's gorgeous. Nope, she's the one you want by your side, saying awesome things about you, then excusing herself politely while you're left there chatting away with a man you hardly know. As soon as we walked in, she stated that it was pretty much like a frat party that had aged ten years. While there were no Solo cups or beer pong in sight, I knew she was onto something. Girls huddled in corners, whispering to their friends. Guys scoping out the place, pretending to look for someone they lost while actually checking for hotties to talk to. Everyone dressed in their best casually sexy outfits. Looking nice but not like they tried too hard. Nobody wants you to think they made an effort.
I "effortlessly" threw on a white t-shirt (very casual) with a super short black and white striped skirt (very sexy), paired it with flip flops and a ponytail (very casual) and lots of makeup (very sexy). It was undeniably risque for me, way out of my comfort zone. I am not someone who owns a glittery dress or killer heels for going out at night. I have never teased my hair and only wore false eyelashes two Halloween's ago when I dressed up as Minnie Mouse (true story). There are women who take ownership of looking slutty on a Saturday night. I looked approachable on a Wednesday and that's the best it's gonna get!
After my girlfriend and I pre-gamed with peach Bellini's at a bar around the corner, we sidled up to the event an hour after the official start time. Her plan was that this would give the guys more time to show up, get bored with whoever was already there, thus making us more desirable. The staff was handing out buttons up front which I happily put on (dork that I am) and she slid hers into her bag (she's way cooler than me...I have a lot to learn.) We made our first set of rounds and didn't find anyone super appealing inside so we headed out back towards the tree-lined, fairy-lit terrace. It was hopping.
I spotted two guys and a girl with their iPhones out, each on their OkCupid app. This struck me as seriously odd because why would you need to look people up when you have 300 users live right in front of you??? Still, I used it as a conversation starter and asked if they found the app worked because I couldn't seem to get mine going. It kept telling me that I had the wrong user name and password even though they work fine on the site. This little nugget got us into a 20 minute discussion with the guys where I wound up talking to the taller one and my girlfriend wound up talking to the shorter one. They were both really nice and funny. Eventually they went to the bar for Round Two and I left her outside talking to some tall, cute boy with a button down, sunglasses and a messenger bag. She wasn't drinking any more than her one vodka tonic but I decided that any more flirting required another Sex on the Beach for me.
I maneuvered my way into a spot at the bar when a really tall guy with glasses approached behind me. I moved a bar stool out of the way to make room for him. We joked about how territorial people are of their positions at the bar and how we were prepared to throw elbows if anyone tried taking our space. He was a funny web designer who moved to New York to be with a girlfriend. The job had worked out well...the girlfriend, not so much. He was living in Brooklyn now and tried to convince me that Williamsburg was the only area of the city worth living in. I have this theory that ALL Brooklyn and Queens people are essentially the same when it comes to ethnocentrism. They believe that the universe turns around Park Slope / Sunnyside / Astoria and will look at you sideways if you prefer a different neighborhood to theirs.
For those of you who do not live in New York City and / or understand those references, consider yourselves lucky!
Funky web designer and I spent about 20 minutes getting to know each other, laughing, joking, pointing out other couples who came together and drifted apart within moments right before our eyes. It was like watching cells merge and split in a petrie dish. People mingled and we observed it all, while inserting tidbits of personal information into the conversation. I decided that he was worth getting to know better in the sort of environment that didn't require yelling over the music. We exchanged phone numbers and I excused myself to socialize further with the promise that I'd call him tomorrow to set up a time for us to meet. On my walk through the bar, a couple approached me and the man asked if I would come home with him and his girlfriend. Um, no, sorry. Next!
My friend finally had to leave as she was exhausted which left me alone in the dark, loud bar surrounded by hundreds of people I did not know. This moment was part terrifying, part exhilarating. I managed to find the shorter of the two guys we'd spoken to outside an hour earlier and I asked him where his friend was. He told me that tall guy had to leave. He asked where my friend was. She also had to leave. He smiled slyly at me and said "I'll trade you his number for hers." Well, that sounds like a deal to me! He also told me about another friend of his who I might get along with. He asked if I was Christian to which I replied "Yes, I'm Lutheran." Well that meant nothing to him cause he's Jewish but he has this friend "Matthew Smith, isn't that a gentile name if you've ever heard one? And Matthew Smith LOVES Jesus! I think you two would really hit it off!"
Now isn't that just the sort of advertisement you want your friends giving out?!?! Apparently he was also a lawyer, went to Georgetown, got his Master's at NYU and worked for a very prestigious firm in the city. Well, I was just in DC for the weekend (eating), am also going for a Master's (as a teacher) and could not name a prestigious firm if my life depended on it. Oh, and he's 24. Yup, this is gonna work out perfectly.
I decided that I had probably done enough research for one night and it was time to take my tired, 29 year old, short skirt covered ass home to bed. On the plus side, I was able to stop at Rice to Riches on my way to the train and got a container of Almond Rice Pudding for the ride. So you don't have to worry about me. I wasn't lonely at all. I had pudding. And seriously. Who doesn't love pudding???
Copyright Kimberly Spice 2010