I have had a lot of unpleasant dating experiences (as well as some good ones, but who wants to hear about those?). One of the reasons I moved to Portland last month, in fact, was because I wanted to get away from the concentration of exes that is Southern California for me. Every other time I have tried to start anew with my dating life, I wind up in relationships with either emotionally unavailable stoners (my “type”, if you’ll recall) or attempting some depressingly stressful long distance thing. Now, however, I’ve finally begun making an effort to actually change my dating life in three steps:
- Moving away from the toxic cycles and situations I have continuously put myself in throughout the past few years with the same people over and over.
- Not going for anybody who is excessively similar to my typical type (and therefore bad for me).
- Meeting people in ways other than just through other exes or in my ridiculously incestuous friend group.
Since being here, I have primarily focused on making friends and working — though I did meet somebody nice recently and told him he was dying — so dating hasn’t been too far in the front of my mind. So, when my housemate Ethan’s married friend told us during dinner the other night that she would be going to “observe” speed dating and support one of her friends, he and I decided to go. It was held at a pizza place super close by that I had already been to once before for a trivia night, and the price of admission included two drink/pizza tickets.
Plus, it was specifically directed towards “geeks looking for other geeks,” and that sounded oddly appealing. Having grown up with two brothers who taught me to play Warcraft II as a 7-year-old and, when I ran out of Ken dolls for Barbies, let me use orcs as prom date substitutes, I am pretty comfortable with my own geekiness and anybody else’s.
So last night, Ethan, myself and another friend show up to speed dating, grab some pizza and beer and sit with some of his other friends while we waited for the event to start. I wasn’t sure how to dress, so I was wearing a giant orange cardigan, a purple satin shirt and some black leggings — I looked like a 5’7″ pumpkin, but it is my most comfortable outfit and I figured I’d be doing a lot of moving around. As I looked around the room, however, I noticed that many people were a bit more dressed up; in particular, many of the guys were wearing vests, nice sweaters and even the occasional suit. Apparently, speed dating attracts some snappy dressers, but I brushed it off and just hoped nobody would notice I hadn’t washed my hair that day.
After an adorable fantasy-themed band called The Broadsides played, the host of the event explained the rules to everybody. Basically, the women sit on the outside in established chairs while the men rotated around the room every four minutes. You wrote down each person’s name on a piece of paper and checked “Yes” or “No” for whether or not you’d like to see them again, and if you both checked “Yes,” you would be emailed one another’s contact info at a later date. Plus, you would also get mailed any additional people who had said “Yes” to you with whom you may not have reciprocated, and then see if you might want to reconsider them. Sounds fun, right? It totally was… mostly.