Recently, I got a text message from my . It was a picture of a flyer advertising for single’s night hosted by Susie Cupid. Are You My Person was written in bold letters above a picture of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman holding each other tenderly. Oh, romance! The marketing totally appealed to me; I mean, really, who doesn’t love Casablanca?
Initially, I was afraid that the event wouldn’t appeal to a young crowd and I’d end up at a “seniors' night,” but in the spirit of being open to possibilities, specifically the possibility that my soul mate also loves classic films and the fear that I wouldn’t have anything to write about this week, I signed up. Of course, I wasn’t about to drive to on the Branford shoreline alone; I made Boss Lady and T come with me. Dating is, if nothing else, a team sport.
When we walked in the door, Susie Cupid handed us each a string of Mardi Gras beads. They were part of an icebreaker game in which the object was to earn as many beads as possible by getting people to say, “no.” When I heard how the game worked, I rolled my eyes – getting guys to say no is not my problem. Still, I went for an easy kill: I asked Boss Lady how we were supposed to get beads. She said, “By getting guys to say NO,” and looked at me like I was dumb. I laughed and demanded her beads. Unsporting, I know, but all’s fair in love and war.
The girls and I took in the scene, trying to figure out which beads to go after first. We were the youngest people in the room by at least a decade – two in most cases. Still, I found a few prospects – a miserable looking dude in a brown hoodie and a cutie in a striped shirt.
I quickly called dibs on the guy in the striped shirt and T said, “Um, I don’t think he’s here for the dating thing.” Unfortunately, she was right. He was eating dinner with his grandfather and left immediately after scarfing down a plate of fish and chips.
As I shifted my attention to Brown Hoodie Dude, the event organizers called everyone into the front room to play a game. I quickly finished my glass of wine and joined the crowd, trying to figure out where to best position myself for maximum exposure to Brown Hoodie Dude. He was nowhere in sight. A flash of brown caught my attention outside; he was sprinting through the freezing rain to his car. He never looked back.
I could tell T was planning a similar escape, but I wasn’t ready to give up on the night. I scanned the room and saw two ladies drinking Appletinis. They looked like they were having fun so I decided to get an Appletini of my own.
I walked up and toasted both ladies to their brilliant idea. They laughed and introduced themselves. Since I hadn’t had dinner and was quickly working through my second drink, I’m pretty sure I blurted out my entire life story to include some personal and embarrassing details, maybe or maybe not involving my . When our glasses were empty, we decided to get another round and find some menfolk to talk to.
A new drink in hand, it was time to strategically position ourselves around a little table and look approachable.
In the spirit of being “approachable,” the Boss Lady loudly alluded to the fact that I like older men. On cue, a silver-haired stud was at my side. I shot her the look of death, looked at him and said, “Um, sorry, not really. I like young dudes. But, not like illegally young or anything. You know?” Charming, right?
The Silver Fox walked away without another word. An older man dating a younger woman isn't that uncommon and may even be one of the secrets to our evoluntionary success, according to ABC News. Still, I aim for 30-year-olds (plus or minus 5 years).
My eyes frantically darted around the room, desperately seeking someone who could reminisce about Fraggle Rock, the rise and fall of Crystal Clear Pepsi, slap bracelets and pogs. I needed to find someone young enough to have had their Tamagotchi taken away by their 5th-grade teacher.
That’s when I saw The Goatee. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I sensed I’d found the only guy in the room who might remember listening to Savage Garden on the American Top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem. I smiled.
The Goatee and his friend responded favorably to my subtle nods, waves and shouts of, “HEY YOU!” and I soon found myself in a mixed group with one thing in common – empty stomachs! It was time to move the party to for wings.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that neither The Goatee nor his friend were my Person. Not only were their two combined ages more than Boss Lady, T’s and mine combined, they had kids, ex-wives and memories of a world in which music videos did not exist. I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual since I was in an especially loud and goofy mood. They probably felt like they were babysitting. Still, we were all just out to have fun, and we were having fun, even though no one wanted to admit it.
I certainly didn’t find my Person at Dockside, but I had a great time talking to people. I find at these events, everyone needs an excuse for going. No one wants to say that they are actually looking for their right “Person,” even though that’s exactly who we are all seeking. The most common excuse I heard on Single’s Night was, “I’m here with a friend” – a statement in which “against my will” is implied. My excuse was, “I’m a dating columnist, on assignment” with the sentiment of, “my editor made me go” implied. I said it seriously, as if I sometimes I get shot at while on a writing assignment just like those reporters in Iraq.
This is Maureen Dixon, live from the dating scene trenches in the greater New Haven area signing off.