Assistant Managing Editor
SPRINGFIELD I've had many interesting experiences during my employment here at Reminder Publications. I've driven to Somers, Conn. at two in the morning to cover the Michael Ross execution; I've flown across the country to embed with local Marines during their pre-deployment training to Iraq in Twenty-nine Palms; shadowed a war vet punching his way to extreme fighting dominance; and even took readers on the inside of the prostitution trade through the eyes of a heroin dependent, college educated sex worker.
What else is there to do, you may ask. How about writing on looking for love? That's right. And since I am an impatient person who often can have a short attention span, there was no better place for me than cupid.com's speed dating at Shakago Martini & Piano Bar last week.
As all women know, you don't go into the unknown without rallying up some troops or at least one other soldier, so I dragged my friend Jovan with me. Hi, I'm Natasha from table number 1. I'm a Leo addicted to movies and Prince and I appreciate a mean chicken alfredo. Give me two rum and Cokes and a Justin Timberlake single and I'll dance the night away like a "Saturday Night Fever" reject hopped up on Red Bulls and a bag of Pop Rocks. See, I'm not too good at "selling myself." The great thing I found out about speed dating was that I didn't have to.
One guy explained it best. He said there is none of that anxiety that is associated with rejection or trying to figure out the other person's intentions that comes along with meeting in a night club or bar, because clearly we are all here for the same thing.
Let me recap the rules: Women are assigned a table and a number. Everyone is given a nametag and a score card. Men start at a table and each six minutes, at the sound of a bell, they move one table over. Each person keeps track of the persons they spoke to in the order that you spoke with them. There is a spot on the card to jot down notes so you remember the person, and then you circle either "Let's Talk" or "No Thanks" in relation to each person. At no time will anyone either than you ever view your card or notes.
At the end of the night, you take you card home, log onto www.cupid.com, and click on the person(s) you would like to hear from again. If the person(s) have selected you as well, you will get a match results e-mail with "Send Message" links to begin communicating with your matches.
Sound too simple? Well, sorry, it is. There was an initial shot of nerves when the night began, but by the time guy number three comes around, you kind of get into the flow of things. Some guys you could talk to for a half hour and others you are counting each second down in your head like a ticking time bomb. Though I didn't meet my Prince Charming, I will say that I had a blast.
Guy number one made me laugh until my face hurt. I got to meet six great guys (sorry, I promised them I would not feature them in a story), drank a delicious peach martini and chatted about cooking calamari, sci-fi flicks and the great rewards of mentoring children. So it wasn't a total loss.
I would even consider doing it again. The funny thing is, if love fails, speed dating -- at least -- is a good networking tool. In the meantime I need to think of some cool incognito word for my profession. Why is it that men look at you like a deer in the headlights when you tell them you're a member of the media?
Until my next great Reminder adventure, godspeed to all my fellow singles. And to my editor, even though I was really looking for a potential date, technically, I was still kind of working. Does this mean I still get paid? I know, I feel so cheap.
Visit www.cupid.com to find more speed dating events in your area.
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