2 min

Forty first Dates

An experiment in speed-dating

The older I get the more disco naps start to look like beauty sleep.

Every weekend I promise myself I will go out to a bar and mingle, and every weekend at around 3 am I’m startled awake by my own snoring.

I had thought that speed-dating’s time had passed, but it is alive and kicking in Vancouver. I can see why: you meet people that you normally wouldn’t, you can actually hear the conversation, and it happens before bedtime.

Hard as it is to believe, I am a painfully shy person. I cruised my last boyfriend for 15 years before we went on a date, and then only because he asked me. So for me to introduce myself 16 times in one night is like getting Carrie to go to her high school reunion.

The way the rules were explained to me, all 40 of us would be assigned a number; the lower 20 sat at a table, the rest would shift over one chair every five minutes. Kind of like a bathhouse, but with candles.

Unfortunately, the MC didn’t understand the rules because he started making up his own. “Okay,” he said, honking a brass horn. “When I honk the horn, I want everyone facing the kitchen to move over one table.”

Great. Now I would have to fake confidence and navigate The Oasis.

About five dates in I realized I have no hobbies. “What do you do for fun?” I was asked time and again. “Watch TV,” and “Wish I were other people,” did not seem like appropriate answers. “Long walks in the park with my dog,” I’d say, sounding like a personal ad.

A few of the guys I spoke with had just moved to the city from another country. All of them said the same thing: “The guys are friendlier here.”

We are? I thought we were kind of aloof. I know I am. But listening to them describe Vancouver and the ability to marry made me appreciate what it means to live here. Now if we could just get rid of fucking Harper.

At the start of the second heat I eyed what was coming down the tunnel with some anticipation. And then the rules changed again.

“Now I want everyone to move over two tables,” the MC said. I imagined the brass horn wrapped around his neck.

In a way, the evening was representative of every date I’ve ever gone on. Some were exceptional, others lacked chemistry. One couldn’t end fast enough, and a couple I wouldn’t mind doing over. The one thing I never felt was rejected.

And if nothing else, I learned I really need to get a hobby.