I must confess to my readers: I a member of a dating website. Go ahead and mock me, but there are more and more of us these days. This particular dating website provides scheduled get togethers for subscribers to meet a group of other singles in the right age range. These events are anything from scavenger hunt to a mixology class to a night at the improv. These events also vary in price. Recently, I went to a free happy hour event at a club.
First mistake: I went by myself. Although this can also be seen as a benefit. On one hand, I didn’t have anyone familiar to make me feel slightly more comfortable. On the other hand, being alone would force me to talk to other people instead of talking to the person who accompanied me all night.
The event reminder stated that the happy hour would be from 7pm to 10pm. I arrived at 7:15pm thinking that would be “fashionably late” enough so I wouldn’t be the only one there. Wrong. Out of the 350 people the hostess told me had RSVP’d, I was one of 20 people, and the only woman. Commence with the awkward feelings. When I posted my feelings about the circumstances to my Facebook page, the most common response was that the odds were definitely in my favor. Ok maybe, but being in a club full of men who aren’t making eye contact with anyone didn’t really inspire me to turn on meet-and-greet mode.
So I did what anyone would do: I headed to the bar. As it turned out, the bartender and the barback were incredibly friendly. I had a glass of wine, chatted about Game of Thrones, and waited for more people to show up. The barback even jokingly hit on me with a few clichés like “come here often?” According to him, this club had held several similar events with identical results, awkward and all. After a while, more women showed up and I was able to strike up a conversation with a couple of them about the awkwardness of the situation. Then I noticed one man in the corner, seemingly entranced with his cell phone. I decided I would go save him from boredom. It worked out. We talked for a bit about working in the retail industry and the fascinating people-watching opportunity this event was providing.
From that point, I felt more comfortable approaching men and introducing myself. If nothing else, I got to talk to new people, which I enjoy. I met a financial analyst, a man whose invention had been picked up by Boeing (supposedly), a store manager, and a student. All of whom were at least able to hold a decent conversation. Then it got strange.
As I turned to exit a conversation, I saw a man I recognized. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
“Yes, but I don’t know from where.”
After a few minutes of discussion, we discovered that we shared a Spanish class in high school 13 years ago. He then made a few cryptic remarks about having been to these sorts of events before and told me he’d “check in” with me later in an oddly militaristic way. It was as if he was expecting a full report on my success or failure at the event.
Next, I approached a table of three men who appeared to be surveying the room, but not actually talking to women. One of them was a member of the website, the other two were his guests. Boy was he fascinating. Not only did he give me some sage advice (not to sleep with a guy on the first date), he also informed me that his biggest problem with the website is that all the women he meets want to get married after the second date. I suspect it may be his wit and charm, and maybe his tendency to sleep with them. When I questioned him about his inability to restrain himself…well his response is not repeatable here, but he intimated that if I had his anatomy, I would understand that saying ‘no’ is impossible. Lovely.
I then listened to him complain about how irritating it is when he meets women, especially older women, who don’t seem to have their lives in order or any goals. “I’ve achieved my business goals, you know?” he said.
“Oh, really? What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a UPS driver.” Seriously. Now, I’m not judging him for being a UPS driver. I’ve heard they make pretty good money. I’m just saying he may not want to judge others based on their employment status or level.
My former high school classmate did indeed check back in with me, wanting to know how many numbers I’d gotten so far. Upon hearing my response, began strolling (or trolling) the room once more.
At that point, I was nearly ready to leave, when I was stopped by a hand on my wrist. One man wanted to tell me he liked my dress. Although it was an unorthodox approach–the touching, not the flattery–we started a rather pleasant conversation. Communication became somewhat of an issue, since English seemed not to be his first language, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to pronounce his name.
After that encounter, I decided it was time to leave and made a quick trip to the restroom before closing out my tab. That proved to be my worst mistake of the evening. As I was signing for my tab, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A man who had just entered the club leaned in to inform me that my dress was caught up in the back. Where’s a rock to climb under when you need one? I was mortified, absolutely humiliated. Thank goodness I was wearing shorts under my dress, or I would have died of shame right then and there.
I left that evening shaking my head in embarrassment and with no better a dating life than when I arrived. This doesn’t mean I won’t give other events a try, but I’ll certainly take precautions to make sure it’s a bit less awkward.