So I....Went Speed Dating

I'm thinking of titling a new series of posts called, "So I......" It's how I often start out conversations when sharing new things with a good friend. And this move to Reston, exploring Northern Virginia, and seeking out new friendships...well, it's leading to many new experiences. Like this past Saturday....when I went speed dating. Speed dating. Having quick, four minute conversations with a multitude of men, in hopes that there may be a "spark" with one or two that leads to.....finding Mr. Right??!?! I don't know about that. What I do know, is that I love talking to strangers. And here is an evening of strangers that ALL SIGNED UP to talk to each other. Oh glorious day. Speed dating has been on my bucket list for oh so long, especially since we now live in the age of match.com and tinder....these are not pictures, but real, breathing humans sitting down to have a nice chat. And when I found a living social deal that knocked the normal $30 price down to $13 AND it was happening at a restaurant IN Reston, well.....

So Saturday night found me walking into a bar/restaurant in nearby Lake Anne Plaza. After checking in, I had about 15 minutes of waiting/mingle time before the event kicked off. As there were a couple of open spots at the bar, I walked over to claim one. The bar stools were white leather chairs that were a bit too tall, a bit too slippery, and all my thoughts of an elegant and graceful perch turned quickly into a shuffled and shifted awkward but final landing. I shrugged it off and proudly stuck the nametag with my name and my assigned three numbers on. The woman sitting next to me turned and said, "I haven't put mine on yet." She pointed at the name tag next to her wallet on the bar. We quickly introduced ourselves and spent the next few minutes talking. Nicole works for the state department, has lived all over the world, and has tried speed dating a time or two before.  We joked that even if the night was a dud in the dating department at least we made a new friend. :o)

For the speed dating portion, we were placed at long tables, the ladies all on one side with the men sitting across from us. The men rotated from seat to seat so that everyone met everyone. There were about four less men than women which allowed the gals random, four minute breaks throughout the night. Although, with the next "date" happening in two chairs only inches away, it was difficult not to listen in on the guy who was about to be your next conversation.

To keep track of each date, we were given a piece of paper with columns to write the person's name, number, and any comments we could make to jog the memory later on. I tried to keep track of the main topics we talked about so my paper looked a lot like this:

103....... Dan........ Trader Joe's. Name tags.

As so the dates went. A man slipped into the chair across from me, we introduced ourselves, and found something to talk about until a bell was rung and the moderator called for the men to move once more. Jose sat down before the official time began, cheating the system a bit by beginning to ask me what sports teams I rooted for.....(in his defense, we were in a sports bar with the walls lined with tvs showing various games)....

There was charming, energetic Dan. Young, contractor Henry. Indian food loving Kumal. Conversations took on singular themes. Some never moving past, "What do you do?", "Where are you from?" and others straying into "What do you like to do in your free time?" or the REALLY random ones "If you were a tree, what would you be?" Mike, a bit older than the rest, quite possibly in his early fifties, sat down across from and audibly sighed, "You never know with these things," he said, "There were no age parameters on this event." I could only interpret that he had gauged my age well below my actual 30 years and that only put a wider gap in his mind than what he had hoped to find. I could only laugh as I told him I had signed up for the event knowing that there would be wide "age" range and that it was fun to have short conversations with so many different people....I then quickly asked him what were some of his favorite places and the topic turned safely to the Caribbean and cruises....

At the end of the evening, the moderator encouraged us to mingle more, enjoy the restaurant, and exchange numbers with anyone we wanted. My pre-speed date friend Nicole and I stood up and immediately found each other to compare our dates and observations. A phone number exchange, a promise to hang out soon, and a cold walk to the car in heels and the night was over.

The next day, we were sent a link in which to create a quick profile (throw in a pic and any info that might help a guy remember), and check off the guys we were interested in. If the guy checked off my name, we were a mutual match and allowed to message each other. Since no one caught my heart that night, I decided to "shotgun" it and check off everybody to see what hits I got.....and that's when old Mike came through as a match....ahhhh!!! I forget that real people are on the other side of the internet. :o) It's like Tinder all over again. Well, at least they were real people in my mind to start. A couple of other matches came through along with a dinner invitation....if anything pans out, maybe, just maybe I'll share.