Monday, October 25, 2010
Speed Dating, Round 2
After realizing that Speed Dating, Part 1 has been my most popular blog entry thus far, I decided to take on the project for a second time. Why? Because clearly my readers enjoy watching me torture myself!
Speed Dating, Part 2 took place uptown at a swanky "fast food" joint which only one week previously boasted clients such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Matt Dillon (no clue if they were there at the same time but this is New York...I wouldn't put it past them!) PopBurger has many locations and VERY good food (more on that in a minute). As I entered the building, there were signs saying "Event Upstairs" so I climbed the institutional staircase to the second floor which was labelled "Private Party". Judging by the loud disco music and number of happy hour drunk people dancing, I guessed that this was not my scene. I continued climbing the ever frightening staircase of doom to the third floor, pulled open a very heavy metal door and discovered what was almost certainly where I'd spend my evening. An equal mixture of single men and women, awkwardly milling about the room, completely unsure what to do with themselves. It looked like a junior high school dance twenty year reunion! The overpowering smells of too much cologne, french fries and nervousness mingled in the air, creating the signature scent of speed dating everywhere.
I approach the bar and see a very pretty blonde girl standing there handing out name tags. I check in and scan the pile for my own. While running my eyes over the men's name badges, I stop dead in my tracks and grab the girl's arm. "What's the matter???" she asked me. "OLEG!" I practically cry. "What's wrong with Oleg?" she pondered obliviously. "He's an asshole!" I exclaim. I then recount the entire story to her of my previous experience with speed dating and what a jack ass this guy was. *Please refer to Speed Dating blog 1 for more details.* I simply stated that should he actually show up tonight, I would excuse myself to the Ladies room for our 6 minutes together. And if he said ANYTHING even remotely rude to me, I would walk out of the entire event immediately and demand my money back. She wrote on the back of her program in big, bold, block letters: "OLEG = ASSHOLE!!!" and assured me she'd keep him away from me at all costs.
What I should also probably mention is that this poor girl was dealing with three catastrophes at once. Oleg the asshole being the least of her problems, the people at PopBurger had triple booked the room! There was a corporate meeting and a happy hour ladies event going on at the exact same time our speed dating was set to occur. There were not enough tables and chairs for everyone to sit at and some people wound up standing. Others wound up at the bar. Still others were forced to meet in the awkwardest position of all: at / on the pool table in the middle of the room! I swear that had I been forced into dating at the pool table, all hell would've broken loose but the event coordinator already sensed that I was no one to be trifled with so I got the first available table and a cushy seat. I did feel several stabs of guilt throughout the night watching these women attempting to position themselves as "casually sexy" leaning against the billiards balls. Normally I do quite well against felt but tonight didn't seem like a great time to try it. I was wearing 4 inch heels with a mini skirt and did not dare risk toppling over for all the young, single, professional world to see. My dress was far more low cut that the last event and I'd applied night-time makeup, although I kept my signature ponytail. Can't conform totally, right?
Alright, on to the dates! The bell rang and the hostess announced it was time for everyone to take their seats (or loosely interpreted version of the word.) Here we go!
Date 1: Ted - fact or fiction? His name tag read Ted E and when he introduced himself, he told me that Ted was not his real name. It's Theodore. Theodore Edwin. Theodore Edwin Bear. But his friends call him Teddy Bear. Cute. (Barf noises.) I asked Ted E Bear what he does for a living. He told me that it was top secret government work which he'd love to discuss with me but "they might be listening." The perks of his job include international travel. I asked where are his favorite places to travel to. He replied "Couldn't tell you that. I only really spend time in the airports wherever I go." Uh huh... So what does Ted like to do when not working? He's big into sports "especially water skiing." I'm sorry, I don't think that's really a sport. DING! Oh well, time to move on.
Date #2: Joe - Wow. That's literally what I wrote down next to his name on my program. WOW! He's a sales manager from New Jersey who moved up here from Florida to pursue his career dreams. He's climbed the corporate ladder faster in six months of NYC life than almost ten years down south. When I asked him what sorts of sales he managed, he hung his head, no joke, and practically whispered "Cigarettes." Before I could give him an inquisitive glance, he implored "But please don't judge me! I have to do what I have to do to pay the bills and they pay really well. I don't smoke and I don't agree with smoking. In fact, I hate it, I think it's disgusting. That said, the company puts food on my table and a roof over my head and I can't argue with that, can I?" Yes, I see, your logic is impermeable. Changing topics quickly, he asked what I do for a living. I smiled and said that I was a writer. He said "That's fantastic! Pitch your book idea to me." Alright...why the hell not? So I pitched him my idea for Hello Single, Goodbye Waistline: a breakup memoir with recipes. He loved it. Said that he's never heard of anything like it. Thought it was a brilliant idea. He then said "I just know it'll be a big hit because you simply radiate success!" Did I mention that he was the best looking guy in the room? Just as an added bonus... DING
Date #3: Alec - stares a lot. You know all that construction work they're doing at Penn Station on the 8th Avenue side? This guy (supposedly) manages that project. Frankly, he seems a bit young for the task but ok, I'll bite. He made pretty intense eye contact throughout our entire conversation to the point that I'm not really sure what he was saying. I was too busy contemplating whether this was a date or an interrogation. DING
Date # 4: Nick - Strong Island. Yeah, yeah, we've all heard it. People make fun of Long Island all the time and that's ok. I can give it right back. What surprised me was that this guy is actually FROM Long Island and insisted on dissing my hometown right to my face. Excuse me, you grew up ten minutes away from my house! You lived two stops away on the Babylon branch of the LIRR until eight months ago. But suddenly you move into an apartment on the Upper West Side and think your shit doesn't stink? Really??? Ok smart ass. I'm going to sit here uncomfortably silent until you figure out to shut your stupid mouth. One minute...two minutes...three minutes... DING
Date # 5: Kenny - best line ever. Me: "So, Kenny, what do you do for a living?" Kenny: "I'm not a computer nerd, I just work in the industry." Best. Line. Ever. DING
Date # 6: Sai It - don't say it. Steering clear of the "what do you do?" line of questioning (as I knew I'd never get a better answer than Kenny's) I asked Sai It what he was looking for in a woman. He replied, "An upstanding citizen." Excuse me? "I want a woman with good morals, good values, an excellent sense of self, someone who understands the importance of family, has good friends, a great career, is well maintained, doesn't cause a lot of drama, does the right thing, always know what to say, makes nice meals, would be a good wife and is really good in bed." DING
Date # 7: Jeff - really, really drunk. Alright, so how this works is that all the girls are given numbers and the guys migrate to those positions every time the bell rings (it's very Pavlovian.) So if you were at Table 2 and the bell rings, you'd move to Table 3. Get it? Well Jeff had just finished at Table 14 and I was seated at Table 1. Somehow, he got lost. The event space is smaller than my childhood bedroom and yet he managed to get lost. I'm sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for a guy to approach me and there is no one walking this way. I pull out my phone and start texting a friend something along the lines of "this is bull shit..." when he wanders over holding a fresh drink in his hand. He stopped at the bar before coming to see me. ARE YOU KIDDING??? We only have six minutes together and you wasted four of them getting a whisky sour? I shall sit here for the remaining two minutes ignoring you because you are clearly not worth 120 seconds of my time. Yes, it's a temper tantrum move but he absolutely deserved it. Then, instead of attempting to be polite and apologize, Jeff does not take up the chair across the cocktail table from me. He smushes in next to me on the comfy bench! "You mind scutching over, love?" OMG you soooo do not get to call me "love" you rude moron! Toasting me with his already half empty glass, he slurs "I didn't plan on getting this drunk but I'm already mostly there so I'm just gonna go with it. Can I take you home?" DING DING DING DING DING
The break comes just in time. I was about to commit murder.
Insert the most amazing burgers, fries and onion rings I've ever tasted in my life. Totally makes up for the rest of the evening. Oh wait, we're only half done. Crap! Better eat another burger to even out the pros and cons...
Date # 8: Brian - aka Sammy Davis Jr. This kid looks like he fell straight out of a Rat Pack time capsule. White shirt, skinny black tie, black jacket... he's even got one of the phone sex voices belonging only to singers from the 1940's. As we ruminate on his likeness to famous crooners, we circle around topics such as 80's films, pop culture, and dating in the big city. Like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, it all comes back around to Sammy Davis Jr and just then - DING. I know nothing whatsoever about this man but those six minutes were fun!
Date # 9: Josh - funny and cute. That's all I wrote down. He was sweet, sincere, funny and cute. I have no recollection of any other details from the evening because all he did was make me laugh. I like that in a man. DING
Date # 10: John - the photographer. I tend to meet a lot of photographers and they always fascinate me. He tells me about his work, where he lives in Brooklyn, the places he likes to take pictures of best, where his favorite walking spots are... DING! Oops, I forgot to talk. Oh well...
Date # 11: Daniel - the scientist. I can't quite place his accent which is a novel dilemma for me. I lived in Europe for 4 years and could pick out just about any accent from the continent. I could even narrow down where in England a person was from. But I cannot figure his out. It's driving me mad! I finally break down and ask him which was a good idea because as it turns out, his accent is a muddled concoction of Dutch, Irish and Russian. Yeah, I never would've gotten that. I ask him about his work and he enlightens me on the inner workings of his high tech science lab in which something very boring and mathematical goes on ...Zzzzzz... DING
Date # 12; Romeo - and no I did not make that up. He smiles at me and shakes my hand, instantly putting me at ease. Romeo says, "Kimberly, nice to meet you. You're very beautiful." Awww, thanks. "Your eyes sparkle in the candlelight." Wow, that's sweet. "You have the most gorgeous long, blonde hair." Thanks, I grew it myself. "Your face is heavenly, like an angel's." Ok, now we're getting creepy. "Kimberly, how tall are you?" Um...5'8 - 5'9. "You'll probably make me feel like a small man but do you mind standing up?" Sure, why not? This can't get any weirder. He's 5'4. Ok, maybe it can get weirder. "Wow, you are so tall, you must be a model." Nope, sorry dude, so far removed from the life of a model, it's not even funny. "Kimberly, how old are you? I guess 22." I'm 29 which is older than you are, Romeo and besides, the age range for this event is 27 - 37 so why not guess something realistic?!?! "May I kiss your hand?" What the - DING
Date # 13: Dario - mi amor. Dario takes my hand (after I wiped it off from the creepy Romeo poser) and kisses it gently. Sensing the Italian moves being played on me, I let him know that I'm onto him. "Piacere, Dario." He recoils at someone speaking his language and spews a tirade of rapid fire Italian at me, only ten percent of which I understand. I'm sure I lose the majority in translation but blush, bat my lashes and say thank you without dropping his gaze. I then politely explain that I only speak a little bit of Italian but could we please spend the rest of the date in English? He tells me all about where he's from, what he's doing in New York and what he's looking for in a woman... all in Italian. Guess he didn't understand what I was saying any more than I understood him. Baptism by fire. DING
Thus brings me to the end of the evening. Drunk Jeff stumbles over again and says he's sorry for missing our date. Perhaps we could catch up more over breakfast tomorrow if I want to spend the evening at his place now. I walk away. Joe is entangled in a group of women vying for his attention and I'm better than waiting for secondhand scraps so I avoid that vulture club. I grab another burger on my way out the door and thank the hostess for a fun evening. She says "Hey, I still have Oleg's name tag here. I guess he never showed up?" So there's that!