Woke up this morning with the age old dilemma – what does a girl wear to a singles mixer at a computer store? Since it was freezing, dresses were ixnayed. Instead I opted for casual chic. Skinny jeans, boots, blazer and sheer-type white shirt. Hello fellas, you get a peek but not the whole goose. Oh and the hair – recently learned how to maneuver my hair to be one of my girlish charms…long with a voluminous wave. Yah. It was a great hair day.
Anyways. My work mates (aka the conspirators who hooked me into this thing) were beyond excited and honestly, it was very endearing. My enthusiasm was not up to those standards. Been to too many of these shenanigans and while I’m game, hope is also not high on the list.
By the time it rolled around to go downtown, I truly had no idea what to expect. And yes, I prepared ahead of time with said co-workers by imbibing a few shots of brown liquor before I ran into the lion’s den. What’s the name of this blog? I try to stay true to my moniker.
I’m not sure how to exactly quantify my attitude. Not quite cynical. Fairly realistic. Hopeful in some dimension cuz you always gotta be hopeful but more curious and just open to the experience, whatever it may be.
When I arrive, the place is buzzing. I’m greeted by a gent who asks me if I’m here for the event. Maybe it’s due to the warmth I’m feeling from the yummy bourbon but I feel a bit like Cinderella being announced at the ball. And soon enough I meet my evil step-sister. More on that later.
I get checked in and get my coupon/computer store credit. Alas, it has to be used THAT night so I figure at the very worst, I get to shop while drunk. Win/Win people. Win. Win.
First stop – need to tinkle. Off I go to the naturally unisex bathrooms. There are weird little holograms on the bathroom doors. I whip my head over and around trying to see what each of the holograms do. The lady hologram reflects the typical lady in a dress but from another angle, it’s a compact and lipstick. Hmmm…sexist? Maybe. The guy’s hologram is just a shiny version of the bathroom guy symbol. That’s it? Lame. Little did I know it was a signifier of things to come!
Naturally the bathroom is occupied at the moment (hence my time was wasted gazing at holograms). Outside, I see a gaggle of ladies. Actually, there are a lot of ladies. But I digress. The gaggle I was near was chatting about other single events one of them went to. Me (being drunken me) barged in on their chat and started gabbing away. Why waste precious moments when you can annoy your fellow singletons I say! There were three ladies and two seemed amused by my musings. The third all but turned and gave me the hand. She seemed utterly uncharmed by my boldness and joie de vivre. Suck it! She should be the guy hologram – no surprises.
Whatever. Bathroom opened up and in I went. Once I finished my lovely lady business, I went straight to the bar. As anyone in their right mind should. Since I had started with brown liquor I wanted to continue the streak. Alas, it was a wine and beer type event so I opted for white wine. Guzzle guzzle and perusing I shall go.
Oh did I forget to mention? There is an itinerary. And on the agenda were drinks, flirting and two lectures about online dating profiles and the avoiding the horrors of online dating. I plead the fifth.
At the front of the store, a bunch of chairs were set up and most of them were filled at this point. There was about 10 minutes before the lecture began. I grabbed the closest one near me, which was naturally closest to the door. My coat stayed on. Damn winter weather.
I’m sitting next to a fairly quiet fellow. Nice looking but let’s face it, I’m more interested in my drink. There’s an empty seat in front of me and soon enough, that is filled by my newly deemed mortal enemy (the girl who wouldn’t laugh at my jokes). I decide I’m bored and need to win her over. In my boozy haze, we start to chat and now instead of my mortal enemy I am renaming her my fre-nemy. During our chat, she somehow wrangles the fellow next to me into the chat. Apparently fre-nemy has many an idea about online dating profiles and what men should and should not put on there. The extent of my criticism – men, please stop taking bathroom selfies. Just. Stop. It’s not cute. It’s not flattering. Stop.
But she has many words beyond that. Wear a suit. Take a pic with an animal. Do not take a pic with other girls or babies. And on and on.
When I listen to that, I bitchily think…I am fairly certain I know why you are single. But then I look at myself in the mirror and smell the booze on my breath and realize the same thing. Except, I know I’m having a good time. Natch!
Anyways, the quiet fellow starts to chat a bit more, admitting to his more subdued nature. He knows one of the lecturers and is interested to see what will conspire. He even shows us his profile pictures to which we give our honest opinions. Fun times. Fre-nemy takes it upon herself to ask quiet fellow what his mate preferences are – male or female. Bold move! Also, can’t blame her. He seemed like he could go either way. Quiet fellow is apparently one that never says no to anything and likes both genders. OOOOOOOHHHHHH is what my head secretly said. But calm and cool my face did remain.
Fre-nemy was most definitely on the prowl whereas I was still happily in my stupor. She examined the room and made the astute observation that all the men were on their phones and as such, were unable to make eye contact. Whoa! Didn’t even think about that. (Gawd, I’m such a shitty flirt! But booze is sooooo good!) Hmmm…still, looking around…didn’t really care if my eyes ever met any of theirs. Win. Win.
What I found hysterical about fre-nemy was how willing she seemed to make herself available but only within the boundaries she felt secure in. Here’s some context. Fre-nemy, while outside the bathroom in my earlier encounter with her, noticed someone when she walked in but she wasn’t willing to make any gesture since he might just be a “customer” and not someone who was part of the event. After all, they’re not in a bar. This is her logic. My take – WHO FUCKING CARES?!? If you like him, talk to him. WHAT. FUCKING. EVER. This is how I got greeted with side eye. Oh fre-nemy – how you make my blood boil!
And now, the lecture begins. I put my phone away and try to be a dutiful event person. I fail. Why? Cuz her lecture blows. Why does it blow? Cuz it’s boring and the advice is for those who are absolutely hopeless and completely new to any sort of male/female interaction. To be fair, she based it on the fact she went on 72 first dates in the span of 6 months. In her geekdom, I believe she compiled various spreadsheets of analysis to come to her common sense principles. Am I being harsh? Let’s see – her first slide essentially said if you do not love yourself you will not be loved. Or something like that. I tried keep my eyes from rolling back. Not sure I succeeded.
More slides ensued and out came my phone. Texting my pals about fre-nemy and all my quirky observations that keep my mind occupied. Oh and I was still sipping my wine. A refill needed to happen soon but I played the cool customer for the time being.
Oh, lecture lady did give us one interesting fact – there were double the amount of women at the event than men. Shocker! And sigh.
Looking around the room, the clientele can be summed up as geeky chic. THe men weren’t as hopeless looking as usual but some definitely fell into the category of well-dressed creepers. The ladies, on the whole, were really attractive geek girls. Some had higher fashion sensibility but honestly, they all had that approachable nerdy NYC vibe to them. Prickly, picky and cute. You would think I would fit in.
Alas, these were not my people. Why, do you ask? Simple. As lecture lady started, fre-nemy and hipster pixie girl in my row whipped out NOTEBOOKS. TO TAKE NOTES IN. I guzzled more wine cuz I was in disbelief. NOTES!!! And the lecture was nothing worth noting!!! Do I really need to write down that I need to be myself and enjoy and be open to dating a lot of people?!?!? NO, I DON”T! Cuz it’s just dating. It’s just supposed to be fun! It’s also common sense!!!
Ugh. Who was lecture lady? Well, based upon her expertise (see above re: her 72 dates), she created some online dating blog. She said to always have an arsenal of questions to keep a conversation going. Lady, sometimes, chats don’t go anywhere, not due to lack of questions, but lack of interest. She has some other tip too for keeping interest up but I was too busy texting.
Oh and why should we listen to her? She has a boyfriend. Right there, while I am happy for her, I wanted to gag. Fuck off and fuck you. 72 dates did not enable you to get a boyfriend. Not even your techniques and massive analysis. It’s called timing. But whatever. I greatly dislike this type of logic. I also dislike people who insist on stats to create a theory in which they’re comfortable to operate in.
While waiting, I heard some girls exclaiming how they’re “all about logarithms” which was basically what the next lecture was about. My interest was at a low point so I needed to refresh my drink. Fre-nemy told me to leave something on my seat to save my place but I’m fairly sure I gave a derisive grin, shrugged and stumbled back to the bar.
Something in my life I must’ve done something good cuz bartender lady gave me a HEAVY pour “by accident” and I was ready to roll for the next 30 min. By heavy pour I mean my glass was filled to the brim! Holla! This time I opted not to sit in the immediate audience and started to shop around. I figure – booze and shopping…what can go wrong? So many gadgets and so many pretty objects.
The funniest bit though, I think I ended up mindlessly flirting with the employees. They were nice enough and I was cheery enough but I also wasn’t interested enough to give them my name and so on. Also, by this time, I had a massive hankering for burger and fries so my mind was quite occupied. I did express this desire to my cashier and he gave me the idea of getting a cheeseburger. My eyes got bigger and I nodded in agreement. Brilliant you are. I also told him there needed to be flash drives in the shape of the TARDIS. Oh yes. I have some nerd cred. If only these were my type of nerds.
Regardless, I made my purchase and off I went into the night. The second lecture was still going on but I had no interest in stats and logarithms. Oh, and friendly cashier boy wished me luck on my search. For burgers or for men, I’m not quite sure but I like to believe he meant both.
Sigh. Thing is, I mock the entire scene but in truth, I understand. These men and women are merely looking for a theory, an algorithm in which love would make sense. A formula in which they can input something and boom, the intended result will occur. The thing I’ve learned is that there is no such formula. As much as a person can enjoy control, finding a person is a game not made up of logical equations but of chance and timing.
For so long, I thought that A must surely lead to B. But it doesn’t. A can lead to C and D and maybe sometimes B or never B at all. It might lead you astray to Z. It’s all unknowable. Lending yourself to that truth is what frees you up to enjoy the process and enjoy the rest of what life has to offer, mate or no mate.
I laugh at the girls who whipped out their note pads but I feel for them. We all want answers to all of life’s mysteries. We think if we go on enough dates (72) or meet enough people or go to enough activities, we will magically find the one. We are all people willing to put in the work but we want to know the work will result in what we want so we keep trying to figure out how to properly do the work. That’s simply not how life works. Some people go from one person to another with seemingly no break in between. Some never meet anyone. Some go out with the first person they ever meet and they’re together 50 years later. Some go out with one person and end up going out with 50 more.
I sympathize with all the single-tons trying to make their way in this dating landscape but my mindset is finding a brand new frontier as of late. I’m willing. I’m able. I’m open to new experiences. But I have my limits. Although tonight was a surprise in some ways, it wasn’t so very different than other single events I’ve experienced either. If anything, it’s realizing that the only factor that has changed is me.
I needed tonight and needed to physically go out there with some measure of intention again. Before heading out, I’ll admit to a little nervousness. I wasn’t going to bail but there was a sense of the great unknown. That butterfly inducing unknown. I won’t say the past year has been one of excuses but it was a year I needed to recover from recent experiences. Some people take longer than others. I’m a longer type of gal.
I’m grateful to my work buddies for encouraging me to go and wishing me so well too. That meant more than the actual event itself. It’s nice to know people are cheering for you selflessly and without agenda. To know they want you to be happy just because they want you to be happy. There’s a beauty to that.
There’s also a beauty to knowing that I feel a lot stronger and more up for being available again. There is always that period after your heart has been broken where it’s hard to imagine feeling those feelings again. And every time you go out or you meet a nice fellow, you cannot help but compare him to the person who was there right before. It’s a terrible mind fuck and one I felt I could never get past.
But time is my friend and without even realizing it, those comparison games stopped. And the men just became the men in front of me. My past will always be my past but it seems I’m also one step closer to letting my past stay in my past and not fuck up my future.
What will the future bring? Will speed dating make a comeback? Will online dating finally have some eligible bachelors who believe in monogamy and aren’t just interested in “new friends?” Will I learn to flirt properly? Does it even fucking matter if I learn to flirt properly? Who knows?! All I do know is this – I got all the time in world to find out.