I learned about a speed dating event from a post on a popular blog where I am a regular reader. I decided it would be fun to attend, figuring that at the very least, it would be something new (and great blog material).
Right after I signed up, the event organizers changed the theme from speed dating to "lock & key." Basically, men got a key and women got a lock (a luggage size padlock). The point was to work the room, looking for the key to your lock - which was the "tool" to meet new people.
This was a more casual, less organized way of meeting people. Definitely appealing to some, especially since speed dating events are usually organized by age group, and there were a lot of people who didn't like that separation. But honestly...
It totally freaked me out.
I don't really do the whole talk-to-a-guy-in-a-bar thing. Situations like this immediately bring me back to high school dances, where I was always left out. This culminated with the grand-daddy of all high school dances - senior prom. I wasn't asked; even worse, a guy-friend basically announced to my friends he'd rather go alone than go with me. (long story; separate post)
I didn't realize it then, but looking back, I think that was my defining moment; when I decided that I'd had enough rejection, and would not be setting myself up for any more. I also think this is probably one reason why I like online-dating so much. The fear of rejection is still there - but it's not as palpable if I know it won't be in person. You'd hope as adults, we wouldn't have to deal with someone saying, "You're just not pretty, " - but we all know the truth about that.
So, I thought the lock & key event might be an excellent way for me to start getting control over some of my fears. The day before the event, another woman asked if any of the single women would be willing to meet up before the event - she wanted a partner in crime. I said I would - adding another layer of accountability. I had no choice but to overcome the fear and go - now someone was counting on me.
I have to say - I was glad I did. There were quite a few people there. Most were very cool, and very nice. Of course there were the characters: the guy who talked about his mom (I think he may have even used the phrase, "like my mom always says..."); the guy who was trying way too hard in his three-piece suit; the guy who barely spoke English; and guys who were just plain awkward.
I'll admit; that made me giggle. But - as I got the chance to talk to more and more people, I found they were all cool and nice in one way or another. I also found that people who don't like to be judged are some of the harshest critics of others. They will all make interesting stories (don't worry, I won't be too mean about it). Keep a look-out for those in the next week or so. And in case you were wondering...
No, I was not completely left out of this dance.