Oh boy. Speed-dating. Have any of you ever done this?
Till last night, I hadn't myself--and, to be honest, I had no particular interest in doing so. But on Tuesday night, I got a call from Arlo Pumpernickel, who said, "Hey! There's a speed-dating thing tomorrow night in Brooklyn! Let's do it. It will be great for your blog."
He told me that every now and then this groovy bar-cum-art-space Galapagos* hosted a so-called "Nerd Nite"--an evening of informative lectures and power-point presentations meant to appeal to geeks; and on Wednesday, he continued, there was going to be a special speed-dating segement of Nerd Nite (for heteros), prior to the main event.
NERDINESS AGES WELL!
Let me take a moment here to say I always think the term "nerd" is a funny one when it comes to describing most grown-ups. I mean, many people who might have been "nerds" in, say, high school go on to become huge professional successes. I mean, I bet you that Conan O'Brien, the novelist Jonathan Franzen, at least some of the guys in Grizzly Bear and the founders of Twitter were pretty big nerds. To me, an adult nerd is someone exceptionally smart, someone who is possibly obsessively interested in something--in most cases, his line of work--that he's very good at doing. All that is fine by me. Nerdiness ages well, in other words. For the most part, anyway. (Do you guys agree?)
THE LOGISTICS OF SPEED-DATING
So it was that Arlo and I went to Nerd Nite Speed-Dating--with my buddy Don Hooks in tow.
Here's how it was set-up: 26 women take their seats at the bar's 26 tables. Then 26 guys rotate from one table to the next, speaking to the different women for a total of three minutes. Once the three minutes are up, a bell rings to signal that it's time to move on. Both men and women take notes on the different people they've met ... and at the end of the night, everyone submits a list of the speed-daters they'd like to see again. After the fact, you receive an email notifying you about which of the people you picked also picked you (along with the email addresses of your matches).
FYI: There was only time to meet about dozen people--rather than the full 26.
ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET ... SPEED DATE!
Let me say that I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the dudes there. Plenty were quite cute--like one guy in argyle sweater, another in a fisherman's cap, and a third in a pin-striped suit. (A good range of sartorial styles, too, come to think of it.)
"DO YOU IDENTIFY AS A NERD?"
Perhaps best of all, almost everyone was exceptionally easy to talk to ... although there was one rough moment.
A dude came over and sat down across from me. I picked up on the vibe that I should lead the conversation, so I started off with, "Really, what does this mean--'nerdiness'--you know? Seems silly to me. I mean, like, do you really even indetify as a nerd?"
He responded, "Yeah, I do. I mean, I went to a comic book convention last weekend."
He gave me a sort of guilty, sort of sheepish look, like I know you're going to reject me now. Nerd-hater!
I looked up at the huge timer, aprroximately the size of the moon,
being beamed onto the wall over the guy's head, only to discover we'd been talking for a
full ... 20 seconds.
I tried to recover. "But maybe you went because you're an illustrator? A graphic novelist or something?"
"Nope. I just really like comic books."
There was no way around that: He was a bona-fide, heavy-duty nerd of the first degree.
Still, he had dreamy eyes, and I'm sure a nerd-girl is gonna fall for him some day very soon. May they live happily ever after.
THE SPEEDY OVERVIEW
One guy's name was Ari, and I said to him, "You've got a fantastic vowel-to-consonant ratio in your name, sir." He seemed to appreciate that.
Another guy stood up, after our three minutes were over, and told me that he, too, was a writer. ... "What do you write?" I asked. ... "Erotic literature for children," he replied. ... Whaaaat? He assured me he wasn't kidding. ... But was he? I still have no idea what to make of it.
One guy gave me a fist-bump, which was endearing. ... Another dude asked me about the last book I'd read--which is, of course, my kind of question. ... There was a very interesting philosophy professor, who unfortuantely had two things working against him: He lives in New Jersey (too far away!) and he seemed to be shorter than I am, which is not my thing. So I didn't check off interested next to Professor Phil's name--and now I regret it. A little. Because while I'm sure we wouldn't have ended up getting hot and heavy, I bet he's very interesting.
I'd arrived late, so I squeezed into my table after everyone else had already been seated, while the MC was giving a little introductory talk. As such, it wasn't until the intermission that I had a chance to check out the other chicks I was up against--and frankly, I was intimidated. (Man, I'm glad I only write for a living and don't have to audtion all the time, like actors; imagine always seeing exactly who you're up against every time? Brutal!) One chick had on a beautiful blue dress. (I told her I loved it and she informed it was from Anthropologie.) Another had on a groovy tartan thing. A third was just downright gorgeous.
I felt like saying, You people are not nerds! Get the heck out of here!
Once the whole thing was over, there was a chance to mingle. Arlo, Don and I congregated. One of the cuter random speed-dating dudes seemed to be practically making out with one of the chicks. Arlo kinda liked the female in question, so he was outraged. "They must have known each other before tonight!" he complained. "I mean, would you look at that!--she's whispering in his ear!" And indeed, at that exact second, the broad actually rested her head on the cad's shoulder.
"Frauds!" Arlo yelled.
After I kicked him in the shin so he'd shut up, I began shouting at passers-by: "It's not like I'm hitting it off with these jokers--they're just my friends! We came together! I'm still available, I swear!"
Well, I didn't really shout. But I thought about it.
Am I going to be chosen by anyone?
I don't know!
I'm just thankful I managed to escape without telling anyone I'm a dating blogger ...
HAVE YOU SPEED-DATED?
Fill me on your experiences, please.
*a groovy art space in DUMBO ...