My co-producer asks if we can schedule a rehearsal for 5:00 and I tell her NO: there are no showers at the studio and I’m going speed dating! (Lame, I know, but I figure we each deserve one rehearsal cop out between now and September 8th). I spend all afternoon at the coffee shop, editing our press release despite the best efforts of a daddy-daughter duo at the next table to drive me to complete distraction (don’t even get me started on my thoughts about Center City yuppies who bring their precious darlings to the coffee shop…) and I head home just in time to get dressed.
I try one half a dozen outfits (it’s that time of the month so I feel fat in everything) and finally settle on the usual purple dress… again. But not to worry: for the spring, I’ve paired it with my beige Nine West snakeskin pumps, a matching belt and earrings. I tuck the pumps into a tote bag, slip into a pair of flats for the twenty block trek to the subway and catch the Market and Frankford Line up to City Hall.
There, I proceed to amble on over to Public House and despite my attempts to arrive fashionable late, I’m early.
I like to think that I have a lot more Twitter followers than I actually do, and that all of my loyal fans are hanging on my every word, so I park myself on a bench and tweet:
6 min til speed date check in at Public House… am still 3 blocks away but one must always endeavor to be fashionably late!
In other words I’d like to limit the amount of time I have to stand around feeling awkward…
Arrived at Public House… seated outside at park across scoping out prospects but its hard to see through the trees. I’m going in!
So in I go, and this is where the trouble begins.
It’s clear from the look on the check-in girl’s face that she has no idea what she’s doing. I give her my name and she asks me to hold on a minute because two people have just checked in before me and she has to check their names off the list before she forgets.
Upon accomplishing this task, she hands my official name tag and score card and a pen.
“Do I just wait here?” I ask.
She shrugs and tells me I can go get a drink at the bar.
Right. Because I love hanging out in bars by myself. Cursing my punctuality, I order a glass of merlot and begin sizing up the competition. There’s a rather dowdy looking pair at the end of the bar but when I say “rather dowdy” I mean really dowdy, so I’m not too worried. I glance around, trying to make eye contact here and there but I have no intention of buying myself another drink so this one’s got to last until I meet someone to buy one for me; hence I’m entirely too sober to try anything truly brazen.
I text Date #7 and check my email and finally notice that a few folks have wandered over to the section of the bar that’s roped off for speed dating. Oddly, there are no men amongst them. Five minutes later, there are still no men (except for one geeky looking guy in jeans and a t-shirt and he’s already talking to the woman seated across from him which is totally cheating as far as I’m concerned).
A further five minutes later, I’m deep in conversation with the girls seated next to me when the organizer finally announces, “None of the other men have shown up.”
There are at least a dozen women sitting around waiting, all in their very finest Thursday night getups, all nursing their drinks, and this, it turns out, is all we’re going to get.
“You can reschedule on our website,” the organizer tells us. “Or you can stay and date the one guy who’s here.”
Hmm… they say “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” but in this case, I’m all for quantity over quality—or perhaps giving up on the idea of speed dating all together? Leave it to me to register for the one event in the entire city with nearly a dozen no-shows.
Just to be sure, I time my exit so it coincides with that of the token male. We walk to Market Street together but he’s not much of a conversationalist and I realize (for the first time) that I am.
On my way back to City Hall, I call Date #7. His phone goes straight to voicemail so I leave a rather discombobulated but charming message (or so I hope) to the effect of, “Don’t worry, I’ve escaped the evil clutches of Date and Dash and shall be yours and yours alone when you at last deign to grace the fine city of Philadelphia with your even finer presence.”
Okay, so I didn’t say that—not exactly. My brain works faster when I’m writing than when I’m actually speaking but I did say “See you soon,” because I will: two weeks from today.