I love listening to couples recount their first meeting, especially those with mileage. More often than naught, the stories are retold with an element of comedy.
One man said he would never marry an Italian woman but his wife of 40+ years is this soft spoken, gentle Italian woman, one-of-a-kind! How romantic that their first encounter was on a beach in Somalia where she was teaching and he was working.
A friend told me that her now husband stared at her the first time they met but never approached her. He got her number from a friend and they wrote long, long emails.
Sometimes, I wish love letters still existed.
My story? Well, in retrospect, it was hilarious. My roommate and I each bought a Groupon for speed dating at the beginning of the new year. I didn’t redeem mine until April, booking for an event in May called “Have Passport, Will Travel.” Once you signed up, as with every site, they collect a lot of personal data.
One day, I received an email from a curator named Amber, saying she had a few spots for the “Asian Persuasion” event, needing Asian women. I deleted the email, thinking, do I look Asian enough for that event full of possibly perverted men with yellow fever?
The following Monday, she emailed again. This time she said the event was free for 2 Asian women because 2 had backed out last minute. I remember debating this and finally thought, I should go. It’ll be practice, I told myself. I asked to join and later that evening,my coworkers and I joked about what silly questions to ask. She gave me “of all your exes, which one is most likely to murder you?” I thought no one is ever going to answer that!
So I arrived at this bar on 9th Avenue and 16th called Pearl, which is no longer there. Men and women were seated already, chatting. I ordered a Coke so I wouldn’t be too drunk to not remember the details, which I was to report back to coworkers. There were a lot of beautiful Asian women, many were definitely edging 40. They had that desperate look on their face. I browsed from my seat at the edge of the room and saw one guy reading something, avoiding talking to other women, which piqued my interest. A room of women and he was reading, oblivious to his surrounding? I was very keen on meeting him.
When the event started, the room got divided. Women were seated with one vacant seat next to them. It turned out the event was so popular that there were more men than women, which is normally not the case for other speed-dating events. I guess the yellow fever is a big thing.
I ended up being the last girl and every guy had to wait for me to finish the other one. It felt like a privilege! And that question my coworker told me to ask, I did ask and men actually answered! Some guys were so turned on by that question! I thought, this is appalling. Anyone knows that it is a trick question.
I met engineers, finance people, a married man(!!!), wingman, really cute men, lots of accents. I was having such a fun time that I thought, this is like a dream. I laughed, I joked, I obviously was the only one who didn’t take the whole thing too seriously. I thought these guys will never see me again. I can be honest and they can think whatever they want. And I can ask whatever I want without worrying that they’ll be offended because it was only 3 minutes.
Halfway, I met a British guy, incredibly cute who loved to travel. I kept his name on my list. Then I met a drunk, sloppy lawyer named David. Poor David. He was trying too hard, getting way too close, and the smell of his beer turned me off. After him, another David with an E sat next to me. From then on, instead of sitting across from me, all the guys sat next to me. So this David with an E had an accent. Then I remembered, oh he’s the guy who was reading earlier. I asked what he did for fun and where was his craziest travel. I don’t recall his answer but I remember, what a traveler he was! And he asked me the same question and I answered ziplining through Costa Rica. I mentioned they had ziplining through Queens and he sardonically responded, through someone’s backyard? His dry humor made me laugh.
After I left and that drunk David followed me out, I hurried home. You have to review the people and check off who you like. I figured since I went as a joke, I wouldn’t say I liked anyone. But the next day, I was informed that half the guys checked me off! So to be proactive, I emailed the British guy and David with an E.
I ended up making plans with David with an E to have dinner at Tea & Sympathy in honor of his British accent. What can I say? Great food, great talks, and we found out that we worked at the same company at different time so we knew the same people! What a coincidence! 1.9 million New Yorkers and I picked the one that had mutual friends with and because of this, it was easier to ask people to tell me if he was a good person.
And sure enough, people gave very high recommendation, except the rumor about the spy, but that’s another story.
Turns out, our first meeting is rather humorous to many people. Mostly because when I tell people I met him at a speed dating event, most respond, “I thought that never happens at that kind of event!” Guess I took a chance and it happened to me.