Speed Dating

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a speed dating event, so I was kinda nervous about this one.  It was actually a pretty big event.

My sister emailed me a groupon for the World’s Largest Singles Event held at Slate on 21st St & Broadway in Manhattan.  Apparently, they attempted to break a Guinness Book of World Records for the largest singles event? Something like that. Anyway, I figured it would be fun. I convinced my friend Laryssa from work to go with me.

As we walk up to Slate, there are girls waiting outside, looking through their purses, and bouncer guys checking that we have a confirmation to the event. When we walk in, there is already a line formed and a small table with two girls checking people in. There is also a girl with a clipboard writing name tags for people. (And thank goodness, I have atrocious handwriting.)

We both go up to check-in together because when we registered, I was able to go in the general registration, while Laryssa couldn’t find it and registered for the 30-something. She didn’t want to do a speed dating thing (you could just hang out, play pool, ping pong, foozball, etc.), but I convinced her to give it a try. “It’ll be fun!”

At check-in, we are given a map of the venue and a IceBreakers card. The map gives the floor layout of the two level venue. In the top level are three speed dating areas, with a long bar and lots of seating. Downstairs is one speed dating area and lots of pool tables, ping pong tables, foozball and two smaller bars as well as lots of couches and comfy chairs. It’s already super crowded on the first level, so we get a couple drinks (rum & coke for me, gin & tonic for Laryssa) and head down to the lower level.

So what is the IceBreakers card? On the card are several questions and five lines for each questions. The idea is to meet new people and ask them these questions and get them to initial it. Once you fill up your card, you turn it it and get a chance to win something, I think. Anyway, I wasn’t into it. Some samples of questions: Someone who is not from New York/New Jersey; someone who owns a pet; etc.

Anyway, so our session starts at 7pm (yeah, right) and it’s 6:56pm.  I am almost finished with my drink and ready to down another, but Laryssa isn’t there yet. We stand in a semi-open area and do a little people watching. At one point, a women walks over to us and acts as though she is going to ask us a question, then apparently thinks better of it and turns around. Ok….. We then decide it’s time for another drink. I go for switching to beer because it’s easier to manage and we want to be seen as beer-drinking girls, not girly-drink girls.  Laryssa goes for Sam Adams, I go for the cheapest beer, Coors Light and quickly regret it realizing that now I look like a cheap date. *sigh* Oh, well.

We make our way over to the entrance of our speed dating event on the lower level. There is a big sign and  it says GA. “Well, it’s either General Admission or Georgia, I hope it’s not Georgia!” (Ok, bad joke, but I thought it was funny at the time.)

At the entrance there are also two small pit stops. One is a Tarot/Psychic Reading and the other is flirting tips. There didn’t seem to be a line, but it was really crowded, so we just skipped it.

At the door, we tell the hostess about our late registration and she seats us as #1 and #2. Laryssa is #1 and her first date is not seated yet, but mine is. He’s Tomasz and he’s very hyper. His hyperness is contagious because at one point of the 20 minutes we waited for the event to start, we attempted to start a wave.  With no success. We both have our feet up and are laughing and making jokes non-stop. “More cowbell!” Laryssa’s first date is Phil. He is the first of three Phils of the evening. He had a lead on them since everyone one after is “the other Phil” or “the other other Phil.”

As the event starts, we are given 3 minutes with 20 dates. It’s just as fast as you would imagine, but sometimes is the longest 3 minutes I’ve ever experienced.

The best dates are ones that start out about naturally talking about the event itself. “Who did you come with?” “Are you having a good time?” All the guys seem quite intrigued that I came from such a small town in the midwest. Since I get the date after Laryssa, it saves me time because I don’t have to explain what I do, I just say, “I work with Laryssa, the girl next to me.” Question answered, next?

One guy after I tell him my name, Melissa H, says he knew a girl with that name once. He then gets a look on his face that is so sweet. He tells me she was the babysitter of the boys of the head counselor at the Boy Scout Camp he went to as a kid. You could see he hadn’t thought of her in a long while and it made him smile.

Another first question is a guessing game as to your last initial. I heard a story from a guy who said that a girl got so excited when he guessed the correct initial, she took out her driver’s license to prove he was right. Hmm….

One guy sat down and I noticed he had only 1/2 a name tag as if he’d ripped off the rest of his name. He told me that when he sat down with a girl, she didn’t have a name tag and she felt self-conscience about it, so he ripped of 1/2 of his and gave it to her. Very sweet.

Another guy, Steve, told me he worked for an alumni association at a university and has been planning an event. He was excited because that day he had spoken with the President’s secretary.

I spoke with one guy in-length about his golden retriever, Shadow. What was he named after….darn it, can’t remember. I remember immediately thinking of the Alec Baldwin movie and giggling to myself knowing that totally wasn’t it.

Intermittently throughout the event, the waiters brought appetizers: chicken nuggets, pigs-in-a-blanket, mozzarella quesadillas, and chicken skewers. I also caught a waitress and was able to order a couple of drinks. Woo!

The most annoying of the night was a guy who after Laryssa’s date, asked me if he could leave to go to the bathroom (thanks guy). From what I saw, he never came back.

The event ends and there is sort of a pandemonium. Tomasz hears about an open bar and is anxious to get out there. The hostess had told us that we could write down our name with last initial and our email address on our sheet, and they would scan it in and post our matches for us. Great, done! We turn in our sheets and are unable to leave because of the next group coming in. We hang out and meet a couple girls, one of which is filling out the IceBreaker card. She only has one question left and it’s someone who has a pet. Bingo. Laryssa lives with two cats.

We then decide to make our way to the other entrance. The next thought in my head is BATHROOM. I had spotted where it was when we had got our drinks, so I made a bee line. Or is it B line? Anyway, there were already several people waiting in the line. One of which was the first Phil. We chat and decide to try to get a pool table after.

Our mission to find a pool table is at first unsuccessful. Everyone by this time has gotten very comfortable (including the mustached guy in tight jeans sprawled out on the couch with his shirt open).

I wanted to talk to Tomasz (my first date) again. He was really fun and by this time I was feeling pretty loopy. He was no where to be found. Erg.

We find a table with some people playing and they let us play couples. A guy and a girl against Laryssa and I. They have set up in the corner and those two have become quite cozy together. Jose, Kara and her friend, MJ. We proceed to play the WORST game in the HISTORY of the game. I at one point actually hit the cue ball in. That doesn’t sound as bad until you find out that I somehow switched in my head which ball to hit and used the striped ball as my cue ball and hit it in. I wish I could blame the alcohol, but honestly, I think it probably would have occurred if I were sober.

We lose interest when the other team accidentally hits the 8 ball in. Oops. Oh well. Such a tragedy.

By this time, Tomasz had came over once and then went to get a drink. He never came back. I decided to do a little recon and see if I can possible run into him. I walk around and find him deep in conversation with his friends and a couple girls. Erg. Oh well.

I go back to the table and Laryssa suggests we play ping pong. Great! On the way over, I remember I need to get my purse and by the time I go back to get it, the table is gone. BOO.

Ok, what next? Bathroom, take two. As we wait in line, we meet a girl who I’m not sure if she’s just really energetic or if she’s drunk. Maybe a little of both. She introduces herself to everyone in the line and just when it starts to get awkward, I get lucky and a bathroom opens up. WHEW.

After the bathroom, Laryssa and I decide it’s probably time to call it a night. We meet up with Phil again and tell him we’re going to head out. Laryssa needs to close out her tab.

As I wait for her, I people watch. Lots of people chatting and some weirdos stalking around.

We make our way upstairs and head out. As we walk down the street and head to the train, I remember where we are. Madison Square Park. Shake Shack. HELL YES. Tons of people, but no line at all. ROCK.

I get a pint of Chocolate for Roxxan and some deliciousness concrete for myself. Unfortunately, I have to stand on the 1000 degree subway platform and it is all completely melted by the time I get home. (STILL DELICIOUS.)

Not a bad night.

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