Evan's Eyes

Web Log Entry #0043, Tuesday, February 11, 2003: Day 85

Anchorage Sunrise: 8:55am Sunset: 5:33pm High Temp: 41° Low Temp: 34°

People often ask me "So, Evan, you've been single for a while, have you been dating anyone?" Well, what most of them ask refers to a specific act that I won't repeat here since children read this (and my parents, too (I mean, my god!)) And the answer is no, I haven't been "dating." But all that may change.

Speed Dating has come to Anchorage, and I was there at the start. "What is Speed Dating?" you ask (okay, pretend you did). It's essentially an introduction service for single people in a friendly, low-stress environment. A hypothetical speed-dating event involves a dozen men and a dozen women. People are paired off for seven-minute "dates" where they meet, talk, and decide if they are open to seeing the other person in a more conventional date setting. These decisions are marked on a card, which is turned in to the event coordinators at the end of the evening. When both people indicate an interest in the other, contact information is exchanged. If one or the other declines, no information is sent. It's not quite "rejection-free," more like "low-impact rejection." I'm sure if I had a great conversation with an attractive, intelligent woman who then declined to meet me again, I'd experience the Rejection Twins: Disappointment and Self-Doubt. At least she'd be spared having to say "no" to my face, and I'd receive the news by email in the privacy of my own home, so I could immediately console myself with ice cream.

The first event missed the deadline for the daily paper, so the notice appeared as a few sentences in the middle of a different page, which just happened to catch my eye. I decided it was an Omen. I just happened to see the notice, giving me the chance to register before the hordes of other single Alaskan guys did. I couldn't pass it up.

Apparently I underestimated Alaskans' fear of the New and Different. I didn't check my email before I left for the event, so I didn't get the message that it was at risk of cancellation due to lack of registrants. I was waiting in the hotel lounge when Mel and Pam, the event coordinators, arrived, entourage in tow. Mel was very apologetic. She invited me to attend the event the following night, which should be bolstered by that day's radio interviews. I had planned on putting in some extra time at work that evening, but I was determined to experience an Alaskan Adventure worth writing about. I said I'd go.

Apparently there are about six single women in Anchorage, and most were busy that night. When I arrived, only one was there, and three guys (two of whom turned out to be journalists hoping to cover the event). Mel wanted to get things going so the newspaper guys would have something to write about. The other guy didn't want to be photographed. The single woman, "S", (not her real name), was okay with it, as was I, so we said we'd date for the camera (not as racy as that sounds). The journalists were concerned about whether they'd be photographing a staged or real event. Apparently they're not supposed to just make stuff up (I couldn't live like that). Finally everyone agreed that it would be the real thing, suitable for journalistic coverage, and Speed Dating happened in Anchorage.

Considering I haven't dated much in over eight years (and never with a time limit and a photographer), S and I had a reasonably successful conversation. I hope I was witty and charming (as a writer, I can edit many times before I have a finished product. When talking, I ramble into conversational dead-ends, and my brain tries to help by freezing up. Any political career I might have would last no longer than my first press conference). During our date, two more women arrived and another guy. This influx of dating opportunities tripled my record for the night, although I didn't connect as well with the others.

So I had a pretty good time reentering the dating scene (not to mention an ego boost when Pam went on about how I looked to be in my early thirties, not forty). I'll find out in a couple days whether or not S is willing to see me again. Women are drawn to quiet, technical-types with a sense of humor, right? I'll have some ice cream handy, just in case.

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© 2003 Evan M. Nichols