When you promote your speed dating event as “Casual Elegance for VIPs,” you’re just asking for me to make fun of you. Especially when the VIP room turns out to be the basement of the bar. Not just any basement, but one decorated with mirrored walls and animal-print lounge furniture. As one attendee described it, “sort of like the set to a ’70s porno.”
The organizers had brought in a violinist to class up the joint (if you’re impressed by screechy violin in a confined space). He overheard some other attendees and me making fun of the event before it even started, and jumped in to defend it. “These events are great,” he said. “I mean, I’ve never had the chance to participate in one, but I’ve been at some others and people always seem to enjoy themselves a lot!” We all smiled politely and wondered why the violinist would be so delusionally gung-ho.
Fast forward to an hour later. I’m ensconced in my enormous leopard-print armchair. In a weird design touch, the back of the chair points up on the sides, creating the appearance that I have furry spotted horns coming from the back of my head. A series of men have come through, each spending their few minutes squatting on my footstool while taking notes about me on the top of a speaker. Apparently, the VIP room is too cool for normal chairs and tables. It’s the sort of ridiculousness that every Speed Dating Girl dreams of.
And then the violinist appears at my feet. He’s filling in for a missing dater. I make some jokes about the situation and then I ask about his violin career, trying to politely determine whether people pay him on a regular basis to play like that. (If so, it’s time to get my high school viola out of storage.) “Uh no,” he says. “I’m part-owner of the company that organized this, so I fill in wherever’s needed. Last time I played the guitar.”
So that’s why he was so positive about speed dating! A metaphorical lightbulb blinks on between my horns, and my dreams of a musical career are dashed.