The Second Lap
So, here it is…a brand new year and we are kicking things off with a major bang.
After being absent for a few weeks from the dating world due to spending time with friends and family for the holidays it was time to get back to work and start this new year with new adventures, new possibilities and meeting new people.
Based on a previous entry here on the blog, I told a story of my first Speed Dating experience that took place about 8 years ago in the city with my friend, Feathers and how I was going to give it another whirl once I came back from the holidays.
By the time I came back from New Years after spending it with an amazing group of friends in Pennsylvania, I was forced to put back on my dating gear and hit the pavement at full speed. I barely had enough time to process how I was going to answer questions, sell myself or what I was even going to wear to this event and before I knew it…It was the day of the event.
I worked all day and left a little early to squeeze in time for a quick workout and proceeded to get ready. Luckily, for me there was no travel time that I needed to allot for because this particular event was being held at a bar that was literally five blocks away.
The instructions on the reminder email that was sent the day of the event were very specific as to what time to be there and that any late arrivals would be turned away. I got to the bar right on time for I did have that fear of being turned away and my chance at meeting this “Great Guy” would be forever ruined.
I arrived and quickly checked-in where I immediately received the ever so fashionable sticker with “Hello My Name Is” and I was given a number along with my name written on it. As I put my coat on a hanger, I wanted to use the restroom one more time to check myself for I knew once the festivities began that I probably would have no time to do so again.
As I was in the bathroom making sure that my shirt was tucked in properly, it dawned on me that I was a tad nervous this time, I didn’t have my friend with me and it was 8 years later and here I was doing this again. I didn’t know if it was going to be different or what exactly I was going to expect. Suffice to say, I had no idea how much time had passed while I was in the bathroom for when I got out, the host of the event had apparently been yelling my name for a bit. I was the last to announce myself and so now the spotlight was on me. I raised my hand as if I was back in second grade to do role call.
The host proceeded to welcome us and as he began his speech that is when I took the time to observe the room. There were so many men. It was said by the host that this was a very impressive turn out, so impressive that it was sold out completely and that those that were in a waiting queue had to leave. I immediately got excited for in my head, I thought, “the more men, the better the chances are of meeting a descent guy.”
There were so many attendees that the room was split up into two different sides and that we were told that you will not get to meet everyone and will actually only be going on a total of eight dates which will last six minutes each. We were than handed a form that we were to fill out with our information and a checklist that consisted of three categories. The categories were for “Business” “Second Date” and “Friendship.” Based on how the date went, you were to check off what category you wanted your date to fall under.
Before we were set off to go on our dates, we were able to grab a cocktail and before the host could even finish the sentence I was in line ordering my first glass of red wine. Now that we had the rules understood, we had our forms and now our cocktails the bell was hit, DING, and we were off to begin dating.
First date was a guy named Pong, he is a therapist and so began the very typical questions that everyone asks on a first date except this time it is as if someone hit the fast forward button and you knew that your time was precious so you had to go as quickly as possible or else you hear the bell ring and than you were off to the next date. Once Pong found out that I wrote he expressed to me how nervous he is about writing and wants to get back into writing again for himself. So than the date went from finding out things about each other, to me helping him with his phobia of writing and I offered to help him if he needed anything in the future. DING. Next date. Shake hands and move on.
Second date was with a guy named May or so that is what I thought his name was, but it actually is Max. So I helped him fix the spelling on his nametag. He was in finance and lived in Queens. I explained to him that I recently went to Astoria, trying to make conversation but he was not impressed and I knew that these six minutes was going to feel like an hour. So, as I have learned when you struggle with conversation on dates, you just change the focus off of you and focus on the other person. So I complimented his eyewear, asked how he got into finance and if this was his first speed dating experience. By the time he answered all my questions (which none were rhetorical to me) the bell had gone off. DING. Shake hands, wish them well and onto the next one.
Third date, well the third date, by now I have drunk my first glass of red wine and was craving more. So I rushed quickly to the bar and once I received my second glass I rushed to sit down and wouldn’t luck have it, I saw a really cute guy so I didn’t even bother to see if that was where I was supposed to go. Turns out, I tried to spark up conversation but was quickly told I was sitting in the wrong seat. So I went to my third date and needless to say, I was already a few minutes late to the date. How can a person be late to a date when you are in the same room is beyond me but it happened. Seeing I was late we didn’t get a chance to really get into any details but there wasn’t any chemistry anyhow, so me being late really wasn’t all entirely a bad thing. DING. Happy New Year to this man and off to the next one.
Fourth date was someone with the thickest Columbian accent that I had to have him repeat everything he said to me. I felt bad but I simply couldn’t understand what he was saying. I felt like Lucille Ball every time Ricky Ricardo would yell at her in Spanish. I learned very little from this man but turns out he was really looking for love and so instead I was giving him advice on dating in the city and he thanked me so much for the advice that once the date was over with, he gave me a hug. DING. Said adios to Mr. Columbian and this time were told by the host that we are to take a break and we can mingle with the other side of the room that was split earlier in the evening.
Turns out there was a reason why the men were separated into two different sections. Finally the men from the other side mingled with us and it was because the age bracket range was from 50-70 year olds. I was astonished at how many single men in there later years there actually were. They immediately came up to me and began to introduce themselves in the most polite way. It was rather refreshing with the level of manners that they had but again no chemistry. DING. Shake hands and back to the remaining four dates I had left. I was starting to get exhausted from all the talking but turns out I noticed that I was smiling and quite possibly was having fun.
Fifth date was with this guy named Richard. We had a few things in common like our passion for writing and going to the movies however, he did say he was not looking to date but rather for friends and felt like we could be amazing friends. Personally, I didn’t see that image of us being amazing friends but I figured to be polite and smile and listen to him go on and on about his journey to the city. DING. Next.
Sixth date…sixth date was so boring I noticed that I was drinking my wine faster just to pass the time. The only thing I do remember him telling me was that he loved to jump on trampolines. DING. Thank god.
Seventh date, I knew this was going to be interesting cause this guy had tattoos all over his body, he had his basic Williamsburg garb on, which consisted of skinny jeans, perfectly yet at the same time messy facial stubble, and piercings in his ear and nose. I knew everything about him before he could even answer the questions based on his appearance and how he handled himself. In my head, I knew he just moved here within the last year, he worked as a graphic designer and lives in Brooklyn. And wouldn’t ya know. He was all of those things. After I found all that out, he confessed that he is lonely here in New York and so I told him how great it is that I think he is out there and going to these type of events and soon I realized I was becoming his therapist and not a potential for a date. DING. Shook his hands and complimented him on his tattoos.
Last date, whew, I am beyond tired of smiling and talking but it was the last straw, it was like a marathon where you see the people and they are cheering for you waiting to cross that finish line. The eight date was with a web editor whose name I cannot remember. We were both tired, we both knew it, and he told me that he liked my smile and that I smelled good. I thanked him and while I wasn’t physically attracted to him, it still was nice for someone to be so forth right with the compliments. DING. Over. Finished.
We were asked to stay and finish filling out the forms that were then given to the coordinator of the event. As I handed my form, the coordinator told me she would be emailing each person that participated in the event, a list of responses from the men that wanted to meet with me. As I grabbed my coat I did one more overview of all the people and it made me happy to actually see so many people out there looking for the possibility of that great first date, the second date or even true love.
As I went to bed that night, I had that feeling you get as a kid on Christmas Eve. I couldn’t wait to get that email from the coordinator to see if there were any matches for me. Next day at work I get a call from the event coordinator asking me questions on my form for not only did I mark certain people I was “kind of interested in” but I took notes. She said “Mr. Johnson, I have been doing this awhile and have never seen a form with this extensive of notes” I just told her that I wanted to be as detailed as possible and to give everyone a fair chance.
And after we hung up, within the hour, the email came through. I took a deep breath and read the following words:
Unfortunately, last nights event brought you no mutual matches. Please join us for our next event; you never know when love will strike!
Not exactly the response I was expecting but all in all I told myself that it was ok and that I at least gave it great effort. However, I can say, with certainty that I will not be venturing into the Speed Dating arena again. It is great for those just coming into the city looking for friends or those that have a rather shy personality. But seeing that I have been in Manhattan for a while, have a great support system and am far from shy, I think I will leave this event for the newest hopefuls out there and wish them all the luck!
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