… … … yeah. This actually happened. Reason basically boiled down to I have to do something to meet people, and stepping out of my comfort zone is something I try and do once in a while. Here is my account. I hope you find it amusing, if nothing else.
Last week: Myself and my mother visit the library to pick up essential reading material (Anne Mccaffery is essential, shut up) and she’s sees The Sign. Library Valentines Mixer. This reminds her that she has no grandchildren and she does the normal thing in my family which is to forget I have an engaged brother and start demanding to know when I’m going to pop a kid out so the family line is secured. Well, okay, she actually said something like ‘you should go! How else are you gonna meet guys?’ Apparently my very active social life of D&D every Saturday with the same group of friends I’ve had since high school just doesn’t cut it.
Saturday: I’m telling what should be very sympathetic friends during D&D that my mom thinks I should go to this thing, trying to stress in my voice what a terribly silly mummy I have. I get an immediate response of ‘Great idea! Find a book-loving sperm-donor!’ ‘Make babies!’ I’m not actually exaggeration this time.
I think about it some more and go, “Okay, besides for my dignity, my handle over my anxiety disorder and any chance I have at enjoying my Monday, what have I got to lose?” But – I ask my Audrey to come with me because there’s no way in hell I’d be able to make myself go alone. Besides, with any potential mate it’s good to get meeting Audrey over with so that they fall for her before I put any emotional investment in.
Sunday: Audrey decides that, should she come, the entire library will burn down because that’s the sort of luck she’s having. (Also, she’s an introvert and isn’t looking for anybody so going is pointless). I panic – I have already signed up and I’ve invested many hours of fretting in this so I should go and I won’t go if she doesn’t go. I call her to ask her to reconsider. After a few minutes of grovelling, offering to buy her dinner and promising to name my firstborn after her, she again agrees to go.
I tell Mum that I plan to go and that I made Audrey come with me. She’s a bit concerned over the possibility of having a grandson named Audrey until I tell her that it used to be a boys name about three hundred years ago.
Monday Morning: I do some research on what to expect or what I’m actually supposed to do at this thing. The only completely consistent piece of advice I find it “Be yourself.” I’m not sure how that’s going to work. If I’m being myself, I avoid stupid things like this.
6pm: Audrey shows up at my house, greeting me with a friendly “I am never going to forgive you for this.” I give her a hug and we rush off to get food. Unfortunately we don’t have time before 6:30 to actually eat them, arriving at the library with only a few minutes to spare. They are left in the car.
6:30pm: We arrive and sign in. We are given pseudonyms of famous authors to be for the evening. After selecting two that I’ve never heard of I finally settle on Mary Shelly. We are given bingo cards with things like ‘has bungee jumped’ or ‘is left handed’ and told to go mingle and get the names of people who have done the things on our cards.
When we arrive there are a total of four men in a group of 20 or so. Fortunately as we go about with our cards more show up.
Later: the announcer gets everyone organized for the dates, sadly taking my card away when I am one away from getting bingo. I was actually having fun, and not only because ‘has written a book’ was on there and I got to brag. The total of six men are seated at separate tables while the women sit in a circle or choose to sit with one of the guys. Me and Audrey sit in the circle. Audrey is in front of me in the order.
I am nervous, and thinking up ways that we might possibly sneak out. I am also thinking about my poor veggie burger, all alone in the car. At least there are cupcakes. Another man shows up, making the ratio closer to 2:1 in favour of the vag team.
Then: I sit down with bachelor # 1. It is a bit awkward, but it’s a decent conversation. I find out that he’s an electrician and plays the harmonica.
The bell rings. I move onto #2…
“So I hear you owe your friend big time?”
“Ah… *laugh* She actually told you that?”
“Did she tell you what I promised her?”
“First-born child, wasn’t it?”
*laughs again, plotting ways to throttle Audrey*
We have a nice conversation about education, because he’s a teacher.
#3 Thinks Audrey’s story was hilarious. Once that is out of the way, I find out that he actually brought his favourite book. It’s a fantasy novel, and I am impressed. I jot down the name of the book for future reading.
#4 Is a total introvert. I feel my introvert soul go out to him, but since I am also an introvert I do not express this. We talk about music, and we find out that we have a mutual don’t-really-know-him-but-know-of-him acquaintance.
#5 is interesting. When I ask he what he does he asks “do you mean what I do for money, or what I do for life?” I say life and he is an artist. Neat-o. He also plays piano and I am sad when the bell rings and I have to hurriedly finish my explanation of why Stravinsky is my favourite composer. He was also aware of the deal I made with Audrey.
#6 talks a lot about nothing. Though it is a funny story, I actually have time to wonder if he is aware how conceited he sounds. Maybe he was just nervous.
#7 is a musican, too. We have a pretty great conversation about it.
And then we were back at the circle. I wander over to Audrey.
“So you told everyone that I owe you my firstborn child?” I ask sweetly. She grins.
“They asked me why I came, so I told them!” she answers happily. Another woman in the circle thinks this is hilarious. We chat, and hang out. Me and Audrey finally take the time to rush out to the car and grab our sad, lonely, veggie burgers. They are cold, and not very appetizing.
I have the strange realization that I just had fun. I just talked to seven complete strangers in a row and I had fun. It is totally worth having a future son named Audrey. Even if I don’t go on any dates or make anything of it, it was totally worth it.
The last date ends and me and Audrey scamper after a quick comparison of notes. I’ve checked off most of the guys. Out in the car, Audrey admits to having had fun.
Lowdown on speed dating: it’s interesting, and having this group be preselected for the semi-literate probably made it better. For the introvert, it’s not nearly as awful as mingling at a party or similar because you don’t have to put in the effort to pick someone out to talk to and you are limited to a short conversation. It’s silly, a bit like a factory, and I can’t speak for its effectiveness in finding a long-term relationship, but it’s an okay way to spend an evening.