The Perils of Speed Dating


So, after despairing about ever finding the perfect man, you’ve finally decided to show up for speed dating at your local communityPeople at a Speed Dating Event center.  You make your way to the assigned room at the appropriate time, and wait nervously as your fellow speed daters file in.  As every man walks through the door, you assess him for dating potential.  Does that immaculately groomed black-haired gentleman at the back have shelves filled with gay porn and pictures of shirtless men on his walls?  Does the man with a matching shirt and tie rely on his mother to choose his clothes for him every morning?  Is the blonde-haired bloke with a five-o-clock shadow, well-muscled arms and a plaid shirt as rugged and manly as he looks, or is he merely lazy and boorish?  Is the man in a track suit and tennis shoes in training for a marathon, or does he live in his parents’ basement?

The woman organizing the event stands up and beckons for quiet.  She tells everyone to sit at the desks scattered throughout the room.  Raising a small hand-bell, she announces that every time the bell rings, the women will get up and move one desk to the right.  Each couple will have three minutes to get to know one another.  As the woman speaks, her helper passes out sheets of paper and slaps a sticker onto each participant’s chest.  If you like the other person, the woman instructs, write their number down on your piece of paper.  At the end of the session, these papers will be handed in, and everyone will be provided with the names and telephone numbers of those people who also wrote down their number.

Woman Holding a Stop WatchGlancing down at your chest, you realize that you have been assigned the number 12.  A quick peek around the room reveals that the men’s numbers are odd while the women’s are even.  Before you have a chance to gather your thoughts, the bell rings.

“Hi, I’m Annabel.  I work as a dental assistant,” you nervously begin, eying the beefy man on the other side of the table.  His elbows have been rolled up to his sleeves, and tobacco stains mar his teeth.

“Jesus!  Not another one,” the man loudly complains, “you’re just like my ex-wife, blabbing away.”

“What’s your name?” you cautiously press, determined to salvage the situation and overlook the man’s unexpected rudeness.

“I’m Mitch.  I drive trucks for a living—got me an eighteen-wheeler.  You like trucks?  I’m looking for a woman who knows how to cook, and knows to shut up when she ain’t wanted.”

Mercifully, the bell rings and the woman shouts out, “Next!”

“It was nice to meet you, Mitch,” you say, rising quickly from the chair before fleeing to a desk containing a man in a gray pinstriped suit.

“My name’s David Spencer, I work in accounting.  I’ve worked with the same company for fifteen years, and I own my house,” the gray-suited man quickly forced out, “My mother lives down the street from me and she…”

Nodding politely as you pretend to listen to his words, you offer a few noncommittal “hmms” and “ahhs” in reply, praying for the sound of the bell.

The next candidate seems to be good boyfriend material until he reveals that he lives with his parents, while the one after that is gay and has a bet with his boyfriend to see which of them can get the most numbers by the end of the night.  The following man proudly admits his disdain for cats, and the next confesses that he’s looking to have an affair.  “The love is gone from our marriage,” he moans, “she won’t even sleep in the same bed as me anymore.”

Nodding sympathetically, you escape to the next desk, only to be serenaded by a heartfelt rendition of Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.”  The men’s faces begin to blend and merge, each man’s words and voice becoming indistinguishable from the rest.

As she rings the bell, the woman announces that this will be the final “date” of the night.

Couple at a Speed Dating Event

Collapsing into the hard plastic chair with a sigh, you stare up into the most gorgeous blue eyes that you have ever seen, perfectly offset by his chiseled cheekbones and jaw.

Reaching across the desk, the man grasps your hand.  “I’ve been waiting for you all night,” he says, his velvety voice sending shivers down your back, “Ever since I saw you, I knew.  None of these other men are good enough for you.  You deserve so much more.”  As he spoke, the man ran his thumb gently across the back your right hand before carefully opening your palm.

Closing your eyes, you enjoy the simple caress, relaxing for the first time since you walked through the door.  Breathing deeply, you become aware of the faint yet pleasing aroma of his cologne, reminiscent of the sharp scent of conifer trees.

“Come on, I’ve got a surprise for you,” the man cajoles as you open your eyes, inadvertently focusing on the hotel key sticking out of his breast pocket, “I’ve already got a room…what’d say that we get to know each other a little bit?”

“Time’s up!” the head woman cheerfully chirruped, “now, please bring your papers up to the front!  I hope that everyone felt some real chemistry here tonight!”

Rising to your feet, you glance down at the paper clutched in your hands.  Not a single number mars the white surface, the pencil’s tip still sharp and unused.  Grabbing hold of your shoulder, the man leans over and whispers in your ear, “We don’t need this whole charade—come on, I know that you want to,” his hand tightening as he spoke.

“Not tonight, bucko,” you reply, wrenching your arm from his grasp before you stride from the room, one hand crumpling up the piece of paper before you toss it in the trash.  Next time, you decide, I’ll try internet dating instead.

 


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