Once in a while, you end your day in a way that is miles from how you imagined it.
About two weeks ago I got an Evite from a friend to attend his Second City Improv class end-of-session show for Saturday afternoon. He told me to bring some friends, so I asked my pal Janel to go, using the magic word "bender" as we would begin cocktailing at precisely 2 p.m.
After Mr. Improv's show (very funny btw) we attended the post-show party and then jetted across the street to a pub to get some food and plan the rest of the day. There was a full house near the bar, so I scanned the place and found an empty table in the back. I asked the guys at the neighboring table if the spot was vacant, they nodded yes and the six of us became fast friends. BFFs even.
There was Dan and Jeff, who had just finished their beginners improv show. They also do stand up along with Bob. And Brian--a corporate whore by trade--gets to attend all their shows, cheer them on, and try to romance comedy groupies I suspect.
We drank a lot, laughed a lot, forgot about eating, and since I consider myself to pretty funny, I enjoyed the competitive nature of trying to one up eachother. The guys asked us what we were doing with the rest of the evening.
Janel and I looked at eachother, then at our beers, and then at eachother.
"Uh, this pretty much," I said.
"We're going speed dating," Brian said. He wasn't joking. We we're hanging out with veteran speed daters apparently.
A drunken lightbulb appeared above my head. I was pretty sure Janel saw it and began to rethink her friendship with me.
"Well if you're going speed dating, then we're going speed dating!" My mind started conjuring up the stories that could come out of this.
"No way. Fuck that. I am not going speed dating." Janel said.
"Dude, WE ARE GOING SPEED DATING!" I was going to win this one.
After explaining to her how important this was going to be for my career (don't ask) and acknowleding that my blog has suffered as of late--and after plying her and myself with more alcohol, she agreed. We exchanged numbers and told the guys we'd meet them at Lucille's.
We sucked up our beers and a couple of cigarettes and soon found ourselves in the 2400 block of North Lincoln Avenue. We walked into the restaurant/bar and began to revisit my decision when I saw white tablecloths, candles, numbered spots and women who showed up early and who clearly took some time to make themselves presentable.
Presentable. Now that's a concept. Janel and I were both in jeans, reeking of smoke, and pretty darned drunk at this point. I asked the cruise director if it was too late to get in on the action.
"Uh, we want to speed date."
"No problem. You're a friend of a member?"
"What's his name?"
"I don't know. Lemme call him real quick."
Thankfully, they were close behind. And they would have been there sooner, if one hadn't stopped to change clothes and douse himself in cologne. We all registered, grabbed our sheets to track our 3 minute dates, and hit the open bar.
Turns out I was right. There's a lot of material to be had at a speed dating event. Example. A middle aged guy gravitated to our table during the pre-dating cocktail hour. In his hand was a plate loaded with appetizers. One of guys gave him a stern warning:
"Don't over do it, man. This is speed dating. You don't want to cramp up."
Once we took our seats and the guys started moving from table to table, the fun really started.
Janel was several feet away from me, but with her beyond audible voice, I was able to keep tabs on her closely. This even over the din of 70 people chatting eachother up. I even missed a few guys, ignoring them, because I was so amused with watching her.
"That's my friend over there," I told one guy. "She's an asshole." We thought it was very funny to bad mouth each other to the bachelors.
I was talking to another guy, when I heard a familiar shriek.
"WHAT DID THAT FUCKING BITCH SAY?"
We were definitely making some lasting impressions.
I actually ended up interested in a couple of guys. One, a gentlemen from Sweden, seemed geniunely captivated by me declaring my undying love for IKEA. Later I heard Janel ask him, "What are you, Scottish?"
Another, a guy who had a bit of an allergy attack while we talked, was awfully cute and quite a departure from my usual meat head tastes.
"I have to tell you that I'm not hypoallergenic," I said while he sneezed and rubbed his eyes. "Nor have I been tested on animals."
"Well you should have a label then," he said.
"Yes, I should. And I swear a lot." I said.
"You sweat a lot?" he asked, eyebrows raised.
"Oh, well that's ok." he said.
I gave him a once over. "I'm putting you down as a yes."
He left the table, and I leaned over to the girl next to me and said. "You better stay away from him."
"Uh, don't worry,"she said.
After the dating was over, we met back at a table where the guys filled us in on their conquests. Apparently Brian was hurting Bob's chances by telling girls they had a relationship that was more than just friends. And Janel didn't fill out her sheet at all, prompting Bob and Jeff to fill it out for her--marking down every guy as a yes.
They turned it in.