I’m not sure what my expectations were for speed dating beyond being incredibly low. Did I believe my “person” was going to find me by moving clockwise from table to table, casually pull up a stool and blow my mind with his intelligence, wit, charm in seven minutes? No. Did I think I might find a few men that were comparative to the dates I had been on in recent times – polite, nice, a little boring, incompatible? Possibly. Did I insist that my mate who I went with match me just as I would him? Absolutely. Did I think the two men who I did end up matching with would turn out to be a dungeon master and a Scout leader? My imagination didn’t even extend to that.
And by dungeon master I don’t mean the kinky kind that might lock me up and make me his little sex slave to use as he pleases. No, I mean the Dungeons and Dragons kind. I will wait while you lose your shit.
No, speed dating did not meet my expectations in many ways. The one I was least prepared for was how utterly exhausted I would be at the end of it. As my mate drove us home, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I was drained. My cheeks hurt from the smile I had plastered on as I made 70 minutes of small talk. Small talk has never been my strong suit but this, this was next level. As each man approached me, I sized him up, just as I imagine he did me. I knew immediately I felt no physical attraction to eight of the nine (for ease of writing, I am excluding my mate from this analysis). Only one I felt mild interest in, and I think mostly it was because we had made some small talk prior to the timer starting. But still I sat, smile wide, teeth showing, eyes on theirs, listening and listening and listening.
I always ask a lot of questions and these introverts were no match for my overbearing nature and journalist instincts. Within two men, a theme started to emerge. As it eventuated, five of the nine worked in IT. One was military, the Scout leader, and a vet nurse. One was a full-time carer for his mother. All defined themselves by what they did for a job. It was their opening and usually only question of me.
“What do you do?”
I was bored and my IT Crowd jokes were falling flat. I decided to mix it up. The next guy’s arse wasn’t even on the stool when I said “Don’t tell me what you do. Tell me who you are”.
Well, that stumped him. He reached for the list of conversation starters on the table between us, the 56 questions to fall in love.
“Tell me about your relationship with your mother?” he asked. I actually laughed out loud and laughed harder at his stunned expression. This was not going well.
On the whole, seven minutes felt like seven years. I waited patiently until they had moved two women on before I ticked the “no” box next to their name. I had a list of “nos” and only two names with a “yes” and my mate doesn’t count. One other guy made the cut only because I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was nice and the conversation didn’t have me swivelling my ears for the tinkle of the bell that would make them move on. But at a physical level, there was nothing there for me. Later that night, I realised he had contacted me about two weeks earlier on RSVP and I had declined his wink. Fuck’s sake.
The next evening, an email came through with my matches and their phone numbers. I debated whether I should initiate the first contact and checked in with my mate, whose experience with speed dating was at least triple mine.
“It could go either way. Some men feel intimidated by women who make the first move. On the other hand, if you wait, and he got lots of matches, he might contact another woman first and you’ll never hear from him.”
The advice was not helpful. I decided to wait. If vet nurse and IT guy really liked me, they would message.
Yesterday, they did. First up, vet nurse.
“Hey A, it’s [name], how you going? How’s your baby” (the baby being my dog).
“Hey, I’m glad you messaged. I’m great, just having breakfast with my sister. Left my girl laying on my bed. How’s your weekend looking?”
“At the moment, it’s looking incredibly fun if somewhat challenging. I’m up in Brisbane until Monday babysitting my D&D group. What are you up to?”
D&D? What the fuck is D&D? While I replied to ask, my sister furiously googled and then started laughing, loudly.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It’s Dungeons and Dragons,” she said between gasping for air.
She nodded furiously, tears running down her face.
“Fuck me,” I muttered as his reply slid into my inbox.
“Think of a bunch of the nerdiest nerds you could possibly imagine sitting around a table pretending to be hobbits and rolling dice at each other. It’s a fairly accurate description.”
No. No, no no, no, no. My sister had meanwhile fallen off her chair at the café.
Yesterday afternoon, IT guy pinged me.
“Hey A, it’s [insert name] from speed dating. Glad we matched, I enjoyed our conversation. Having a good weekend? Would you like to grab a coffee sometime soon? I’m unfortunately unavailable the next two weekends but can do weeknights if you can.”
“Hey [insert name], how are you? Sure I can do coffee soon. My weeknights are pretty free except Wednesdays when I have yoga.”
“My Wednesday nights are usually unavailable as well with Scouts.”
Scouts. Oh no. It couldn’t be. You see I made the rookie error of not making notes when each guy spoke to me, as I learned was a thing. So, after four or five conversations with four or five IT guys, they all blend into one. This guy, I now belatedly recalled, was the Scout leader to whom I had suggestively remarked that he must be good at knots. The kink in my suggestion had been lost on him. Fuck’s sake.
This is where I have landed, matched to a dungeon master and a Scout leader. How did this happen? I thought speed dating might my boost my confidence, prove that there are some decent men out there not just looking for a girl to give a good dicking to. Instead I feel more despondent than ever. Am I a loser? A has been? A washed up wannabe whose primary target group now is the cast of the Big Bang Theory.
No, speed dating has not met my expectations and I expect my past won’t meet the moral expectations of a babysitter of hobbits and the man who is always prepared to go camping.