Friday, August 27, 2010

18 dates, 55 minutes...

So, on Thursday night I went speed dating. I wasn't overly enthused about the whole event for various reasons, but in the end peer pressure got me and I was like, what's the worst that can happen? I have a really awful time for a few hours. And I thought, even if that happens, surely I will get some good stories out of it (material for the comedy tour, if you will). Also, I went with my step-sister Claire so there was someone to laugh about it with afterwards if need be.

Turns out, while there was plenty to laugh about afterwards, it was actually quite a fun time! It was clear that nearly everyone was just there for a night out and something a bit different, although there were a few rather serious people, as I shall illustrate later. It was run by the Young Lawyers Committee but hardly anyone there was actually a lawyer (although everyone was relatively young, early to late twenties I'd say). It was only advertised through the committee's members so it was all kind of 'friends told friends who told friends and workmates' rather than posters all over town.

It was at Plum Cafe in town and there were 18 guys and 18 girls. When we arrived we each got a drink and a number (I was number 15, which I took to be a good sign, being my birth date and all) and there were nibbles doing the rounds (actually one of the best parts was the amazing food. I know, with me it's always the food). On the tables along one side of the cafe there were pens and cards on which you wrote your name and the number you had been given. The girls sat along the wall side of the tables and the guys in the chairs opposite as they were the ones who had to get up and move (I remarked to Claire that this was a bit old fashioned and sexist, but at the same time I appreciated getting to just sit there; so win some, lose some with the old feminism). Each 'round' was 3 minutes long and the MC gave a question at the start of each round to start everyone off. The first question was, 'David Bain, guilty or innocent?' I guess they started with a law theme...

The first half went so quickly and was really fun and quite amusing. The bell would go to signal the end of 3 minutes and you'd be like, 'What? That can't be 3 minutes!' and then it would start all over again. After the half time break, though, I got really tired and started to feel like a broken record as everyone asked pretty much the same questions at some stage during the 3 minutes: Where are you from? What did you study at uni? Where do you work? and frequently, but not all the time, have you done much travelling? It's pretty echo-y in Plum so you ended up having to lean right in to hear some people (the classic low talkers) and say 'pardon?' more than is desirable, and talk quite loudly over all the noise. But overall the evening went pretty quickly and I wrote down a couple of numbers on my card because I figured if I'd come along then I had to at least play the game. Before you left you handed your card into the MC who was taking them away to see if any numbers matched up. If you put someone's number down on your card and they put yours down on their card, the MC would email you that person's details and email that person your details. All very mysterious and suspenseful because everyone was very secretive about their cards...

Overall, most guys were pretty nice and easy to talk to and actually not too hideous looking. But of course, the best part of the evening was the few 'unique' people (otherwise known as the source of comedy gold):

The serious guy. He started the conversation with, 'I think this is a pretty efficient way of doing things you know? Like, we all know why we're here, we're all in the same boat, so it cuts out a lot of time wasting. Are you an organised person?'

The I'm-looking-for-a-wife guy. Included questions such as, 'Do you like living in the city? I don't think I could live in a small town again'; 'Do you want kids?'; 'Have you been travelling yet? When will you go? How long for?'.

The Russian guy. Sometimes, people just don't appreciate my attempts at humour:

Me: So you're obviously not from New Zealand, where are you from?

Him: (very deadpan, almost grumpy) Guess.

Me: Umm, Germany? Or somewhere near there?

Him: Russia.

Me: Well, that's close enough!

Him: (still very deadpan, still almost grumpy) Germany is like a thousand miles away from Russia.

Me: Well, it's closer than New Zealand...

Afterwards I said to Claire, 'Someone must have dragged that Russian guy along, he seems to be hating his life' and she said, 'Nope, he told me he came on his own.' Clearly he needs to work on his speed dating skills.

The earnest guy with very gelled hair. 'I work in IT but I really want to be a writer. I used to be a fat geek, but then I discovered Ceroc dancing. Do you dance?'

The high five guy. I didn't get any high fives but oh my, Claire did. She was sitting next to me so during her 3 minutes with this guy I pretty much lost it because I could hear their conversation and see him almost hovering on his chair due to his enthusiasm, which meant I didn't actually talk much to the person I was supposed to be, but oh well, he wasn't nearly as interesting. The high five guy was SO ENTHUSIASTIC about everything. I think he'd had quite a bit to drink. When Claire said she was from Palmerston North he replied, 'I went to Massey University there! I LOVE Palmerston North! High five!' and then when she said she grew up on a farm he cried, 'A FARM? I LOVE FARMS! High five!'.

Claire also made me laugh because at one point between rounds she leaned over to me and said, 'This is so weird, it's like I'm becoming a different personality with every guy I meet, like I was all 'Yeah!' with the high five guy and then I told some sporty guy I loved tramping. I haven't been tramping in about five years!'

All in all, it was a fun time. I would definitely recommend going speed dating if you have any inclination and don't take it too seriously. If nothing else, you will get some good stories out of it. I wouldn't want to go by myself because I'm not that brave, plus going with someone else means you can both compare notes and share stories about certain people afterwards. But even if you did go by yourself it would be fine because other people would be there alone and, the way it worked on this occasion anyway, the actual dating took up most of the time.

Was number 15 lucky for me? Well, I'm not one to speed date and tell...

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