Pre’s Relentless Effort Update – Speed Dating
When I first embarked on my year of relentless effort – one man’s quest to find a wife by New Year’s Eve whilst maintaining a religious commitment to sport watching – I had hoped to hone in on a proposal of some sort to some lucky lady by football finals time.
Alas, finals have come and gone and I’m still no closer to locating Mrs Prefontaine!
In fact I’m no nearer even meeting a woman that I was prepared to spend more than ten seconds in an elevator with, let alone ask her hand in marriage.
But I wasn’t going to let this small setback divert me from my matrimonial quest. In the words of Wilson Phillips – “Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day yeah, if you hold on.”
If it was good enough for the fat daughter of a washed up Beach Boy, then it was good enough for me.
Now was the time to step it up. Now was the time to throw caution to the wind. Now was the time to pull out the Hail Mary pass equivalent of meeting the opposite sex – speed dating.
Leaving aside the social stigma attached to speed dating, there is no more efficient way of meeting women than speed dating. What other way can you meet 10 or 12 single women over a two hour period and still be home in time to catch the Celtics vs Pistons game from that morning?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous as I made my way to the venue on a wet Tuesday night. The thought of speed dating would have horrified me twelve months ago.
As I made my way inside the bar, I still wasn’t convinced this was a good idea. But if I was to uphold the espirit de corps of relentless effort, I needed to accept that speed dating was always going to be on the cards at some point.
For the uninitiated, speed dating works like a social conveyor belt.
An even number of men and women rock up to a venue – in this case a spivvy bar on Greville Street in Prahran – and spend eight minutes with each other before the bell rings and then the men stand up and move along one seat to the next “date”. This happens every eight minutes for the next two hours.
Being a man of financial independence and too much free time, naturally I was late. Most of the participants had already arrived and made informal introductions with each other by the time I turned up. This could have been a major mistake as my opposition would have got a head start on me and laid some solid ground work with the opposite sex.
However, once I sized up the guys that would be my competition, my tardiness wasn’t going to be a problem. These poor bastards needed the head start.
Most blokes there wore suits, poor quality suits mind, but suits none the less. If I could give any advice, the guy in the acid wash jeans and trainers with the Ed Hardy t-shirt really needs to re-think his game plan next time around.
Unlike Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, I’m no expert on what women want, but the Carl-Williams-look went out of fashion in… say… come to think of it… I can’t really remember when it was ever really in.
Hello to our Perth readers!
I quickly grabbed a glass of champagne to hug and proceeded to mingle among my future dates. As I began to lay my phony charms on a woman by the name of Cindy, the Carl Williams lookalike interrupted and started talking to us.
Straight off the bat he asked, “mate, you done speed dating before?”
“No, first time actually,” I replied.
“Oh mate, oh mate, you’ll love it, you’ll get action!”
I turned to Cindy and gave her the I don’t-know-this-guy look. She dropped her gaze to the floor and walked away. Thanks Carl.
We all took our seats and the co-ordinator of the event explained the rules, suggesting that we don’t talk about obvious topics, like what we do for a job. This pleased me greatly since I’d never worked a day in my life.
Who wants to date a guy living off the benefits of a family trust?
The first date
My first date was with Jessica. Obviously her name wasn’t Jessica. I’ve given her a fake name to protect Emily’s identity.
Within the first twenty seconds it was clear to me that Jessica had done speed dating before. I knew this because when I asked the first question, have you done this before? She replied, “yes, I have done this before.”
But I also got the impression that she’d done this before because she was so good at this speed dating thing, like she was Champions League good.
Remember how you are told that the fundamentals of human interaction and getting to know someone is based on one’s ability to be a good listener, not centre the conversation on yourself but keep asking questions of the other person – a foreign concept to most high school teachers.
Well sitting with Jessica was like being interviewed by Parkinson. I couldn’t get a question back at her. I was on the back foot from the get-go, answering her questions and doing all the talking.
I even tried to answer her question with a question of my own. But she was having none of it. It was a methodical modern day Spanish inquisition from her and I was struggling to return serve.
She was the Steffi Graf of speed dating, sans the nose. Before I even remotely uncovered anything about my first date, the bell rang and it was time to move on to the next date.
At the conclusion of each date you are supposed to make notes about the person you just spent time with and give them a yes or no as to whether you would like to see them again.
I wrote what the f@ck just happended back there and yes to a future date.
I was now intrigued to discover if she was like this all the time.
The next date went more to script until she asked me the question I feared. “So Pre, do you like watching sport?”
Did I answer this one honestly?
What do you think I’m a rookie? Of course I didn’t, because the truth would have gone something like…
“…you know, it’s funny you should ask because… I’m so obsessed about sport these days, that I’m usually stuck in my apartment twenty-four seven watching my various sports teams to the point that I don’t have time to meet women anymore and now I’m in this fricken year-long commitment to meet women called relentless effort that has got me doing things that have placed me well outside my comfort zone, like speed dating, and quite frankly I’m over it! I just wanna go home, sit and nurse a beer and watch this morning’s Celtic Champions League game. More champagne?”
Instead I lied and went with, “sure, I don’t mind watching the odd sporting team now and then.” Bullet. Dodged. Next?
As I progressed through each date, I looked at my score card and kept adjusting it – I kept changing my mind. My problem was, I kept measuring up the most recent date with previous ones and altering my yes or no column from yes to no.
Date #3 – weird laugh – who I thought was the pick of the lot until I met date #4 – young Jamie Lee Curtis. Date #5 – high hair line – and date #6 – possible racist – were so-so. But date #7 – Andrea Corr lookalike – blew dates #3 and #4 out of the water.
It was like doing the college football power rankings. You think she’s yes-vote worthy, but wait until you meet Ohio State in round 8, she’ll blow your mind! Remember, you are only as good as your next date.
In the end, I said yes to most of them, and it turns out so did they to me.
On my walk home I received an email from the speed dating people informing me that all my dates had marked a yes next to my name and were willing to meet again.
In doing so, I was now elevated to the elite membership status where I get priority access to elite level speed dating events.
At first my ego blew out like 1992 Australian interest rates, I was flattered to be invited to mix it with such esteemed company.
Then it occurred to me… these bastards had been low-balling me from the start. How dare they start me off in a lower division. I bet they give everyone elite membership just to suck us back for more.
But not me. I’m not going back.
Speed dating was fun, but it’s not for me. It wasn’t a lost exercise. I did however discover a new found empathy for the plight of the modern single woman of Melbourne. My heart goes out to you. It’s a tough gig out there for you girls.
Believe me when I say that women are on to something when they say there’s a man drought in this city.
Going by the eleven other male dates in the bar, they made me look like an oasis in sand storm of mediocrity. Which I wasn’t complaining about, if their own deficiencies made me look like Joel McHale instead of Richie Cunningham, then I’m not complaining. But it’s a false economy.
I felt for the women who were there hoping to meet some quality beef, instead they got meat loaf. These guys were a poor representation of the Australian male.
Sadly, I don’t have the answers for the single women of Melbourne who hope speed dating might be the tardis to meeting attractive, eligible bachelors, only to discover it’s a black hole.
Besides, I’ve got my own problems. I’m still no nearer finding my New Year’s bride and it’s now NOVEMBER!
I arrived home and I plonked my arse on the couch and thought: where to from here. Time was running out. So I turned on NBA.TV and watched the Boston Celtics throw away a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter to go down by four points on the buzzer.
Seems I wasn’t the only one coming up short tonight.