Match.com is recently sponsoring happy hour events in Honolulu. Since I’ve had my profile hidden on Match for at least a month but they have my money, I recruit my roommate to wing it with me to Chinatown to cruise a bar full of hopeful singles wearing masks of disinterest.
I like this idea of meeting the “old fashioned way” – in a bar, after a couple. But really, I mean where you see someone and are attracted without knowing their list of gruesome statistics (age, # of marriages, # of STDs, income, etc.) and unoriginal descriptions (“I am down to earth, I love to have fun, I’m as comfortable in jeans as a tiara”, etc.). At least it will not be how badly they spell that discounts them in this context.
On the way in the car, I tell my roommate my swimmer’s ear may have evolved as I don’t hear liquid sloshing or feel pain, it’s now just clogged. I elaborate that I’ve poured alcohol and peroxide in it, rooted around in there with numerous Q-tips and think it now just needs a full sandblasting. As sexy as it sounds, I ask her to remind me not to bring this up, and joke, “Talk into this ear, please honey, the other is full of wax and pus”.
The event page lists that 104 men have rsvp’d but we cannot tell how many women will be there. This makes me wary because in NYC, I went on a singles brewery tour and there were 27 women and 3 men. Those are the odds of single men to women in the city anyway, so thanks to that crack event crew that simply recreated the average “impossibly stacked against you odds” night out in the city for that one.
On arriving, we are told the function and registration is in the back in the outdoor bar. The outdoor bar is the size of a patio and the temperature of a grill, but we gamely belly up and start guessing our odds like Vegas rejects.
The “Major” immediately comes up to me. Our back story: He is a Marine I platonically dated a few times 3 years ago, which then lead to a culminating night of naked gymnastics. After this, he made some transparent excuses not to attend my bday party and final contact was him calling me (not knowing I was in NYC) at 1am when I took the call in my friend’s bathroom (for “privacy” in a studio apartment) while my other friend poured her into bed so we could head back out to the boy bars. At that point the inhibitions I didn’t have were even further at bay, and I told him I’d figured he was seeing someone else while seeing me. He told me I was right. I happily headed back out to dance that night away with boys and forget about men.
Our conversation on meeting at the bar…
Him: Hi, how’ve you been? Let me get that. (my drink)
Me: (I let him get that and thank him — unemployed girl is not a proud.) How many women did it say RSVP’d to this thing online?
Him: 119. How many guys?
Me: 104. Weren’t you dating someone?
Him: Yeah and was even engaged.
Me: Is she at your house right now making you dinner in the warm glow of her engagement ring?
Him (laughing): I don’t know where she is and don’t care.
Me: I was afraid I’d come to this thing and it would be a room full of former best-forgotten dates. I went out with something like 18 guys my first year here — although they all ended up being “hit and runs”.
Me: (I quickly realize something has been misunderstood.) No, not “hit-it” and run, just one-time dates. It was more like mismatch.com.
Him: Oh, not hit-it and quit-it?
Me (laughing): Uh no, but wasn’t that us!?
Him: (After awkward silence) Well, I’m gonna let you mingle.
Me (to my roommate): Wait, I didn’t even get to mention my ear wax!
My roommate and I hold up the bar deciding the drive-by nature of drink ordering makes it the best place to be and talk to various men and women that happen up next to us. We watch other women our age in groups covertly eyeballing and chatting and I wonder if this is just what we look like… half desperate, half over it and fully ready to be back in the cocoon sans the dating camouflage with the cat and a scotch perusing the individual cemetery plot catalogue.
A guy in a pork pie hat with a throw-back “Message to You, Rudy” vibe, sidles up to me and says, “you look cougarish”. I say, “This is what you open with? I’ve got a pretty clear idea why you’re single.” Now he digs himself in deeper with, “Well, you look a bit older than me and so I thought…” I stop him here. It’s obvious this guy makes bad choices like he gets paid by the mistake. What about telling me I look like an older predatory feral feline could possibly win me over? I change the subject although I’d rather change venues, and ask where he’s from. All is illuminated in the utterance of these two words, “New Jersey”.
I head to the restroom, outside where the woman that runs the event is perched. I tell her someone called me cougarish. I say maybe he meant cougar-ish, like we’re 40-ish, drunk-ish, happy-ish, piggish, etc. We laugh at the clueless balls of it all and how these unintended ego boots seem to only kick my way.
Now we are into the part of the evening where my foot is due for a wedging between my teeth. The Major had been chatting to some women behind us and one of them moves in to order a drink. We say hi and I immediately blather, you were talking to the Major, we did it at one time but apparently he was otherwise involved. I tell her the hit-it and run conversation and we howl with laughter. “Kelly” (I learn) heads back to her friends wiping giggle tears from her eyes as we both exhale a post merriment sigh. Ah, being a gossipy old maid is fun.
Not too long after this, the Major is ordering a drink next to me…
Me: How’s it going?
Him: I’ve found my safe haven. I found a co-worker to hang with.
Me: The tall, blond woman? Kelly?
Him: Yeah, you know her?
Me: We talked at the bar…. I’m gonna let you mingle.
(Heading to my roommate.) Only I could unwittingly find the one person in this crowd he works with to tell the hit-it and quit-it story to!
What was I saying about people making bad choices like it’s their job? I guess in the dating market I have to pretend to be gainfully employed somehow.
The evening is winding down and the roommate and I are now talking to a bitter 50 yr old woman who is griping how some guy brushed her off although his friend said he wasn’t interested in the woman he was talking to. It’s like high school mentality coupled with a senior center dispute. She is unforgiving and acting well beyond her years then grabs a very young boy’s face and uncomfortably squishes it to fish lips loudly inquiring how old his cute self is. After this embarrassment she states, your 50’s is not a good time for a woman to be single. I think no time is good for this particular woman to be single – please someone keep her off the streets, or at least out of the bars. I inch away and raise an eyebrow at my wing girl.
I want to leave before Kelly decides to open up to the Major about the big mouth at the bar and “Miss 50 going on 90” starts any more geriatric shenanigans that I am anywhere near.
We leave with our laugh lines reinforced saying we may try this again, but for now are happy to know what we were “missing”.