Friday, July 18, 2008

Love at First Gong

In efforts to get caught up with this fast city I decided to do two things. #1: Crank up my efforts on triathlon training by joining a performance spin class and #2: Try Speed Dating.

J's performance class is not for those who want to "dabble" in cycling. It is for those who are serious about the sport and have ambitions to develop ham size thighs. I am the obvious newbie in the class as my legs resemble toothpicks for children. I desperately try to keep up with the cycling maniacs, but I cannot shake the feeling to vomit after every hill repetition. Apparently vomiting in class is encouraged. J tells us that the more we feel we have to vomit, the better we will do in the "naked mirror" test.

Speed Dating is more daunting that standing naked in the mirror resembling a pear on toothpicks. Women are situated around a room (with cocktails, thank God) as men play musical chairs to chat with them for eight minutes each. After the eight minutes is up a gong sounds and the men switch to meet the next woman. A gong could very well steer away the love of your life just as you were about to tell him everything you had in common. Or it could finally put an end to an eight minute uncomfortable silence. After it's all over (and hopefully we are all still sober) we write down a "yes" next to the names of the people we want to meet again. Love at first gong? We'll see....

I entered the selected venue skeptically. I was wearing heels and bright red. (This was a tip given to me by a Speed Dating website. Apparently men are like bulls and viciously attracted to the color. In that case, Ole Ole). I had a few moments before the event started and joined the other women hanging around the bar with glasses of wine. Many of them were wearing red too; everyone must have ravaged the internet for tips. Hmmppf...competition? But no, they were all pleasantly attractive and friendly. We all nervously joked around about the event and wished each other luck as the starting gong...well..gonged.

I eyed the room as I took my seat. Unlike all the beautiful women around, the men sadly seemed to have lost the gene pool lottery. Every male specimen was some form of an overeager software engineer. Welcome to the Bay Area. Now I am not anti software geeks-I love them like the rest and especially when they fix my router. But there is a certain breed of them that still wear pleated khaki pants, play video games until 2 am, and drool every time they see a woman. Yes, I forgot to add the socially inept tech guy to my previous man type listing. Apparently, the dorkier side of Silicon Valley had braved the drive to take over the Speed Dating event. In eight minute intervals, I heard about C + coding, republicans, the Wii, passion for science fiction novels, and terrible luck at skiing. Sigh. Although I cannot put all the blame on their conversation skills. When one man asked me what the greatest risk I ever took was, I answered with the first thing that popped into my head. Unfortunately, the first thing that popped was Neddi--a type of nose cleaning I practiced in India. I watched the poor man's face transform into a disgust as I described putting a pipe cleaner up my nasal passageway. "That really was not a very sexy image," he said with revulsion. Why did I say that? Why didn't I just say my greatest risk was entering a triathlon and going to vomit class twice a week?? Or coming to Speed Dating in a matador costume?

At last one non-engineer came to my table. He was a herbalist/poker dealer/kite boarder. And strangely, much more my type. When the gong sounded and he moved away I felt remorse instead of relief. Ok, so maybe he was in untraditional careers. And perhaps he was five years younger than me. But he made me laugh, he was intriguing, and more than five feet tall. Keeping up the guise of opened minded I put a yes next to his name. It wasn't love....but at least he passed the gong test.

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