Monday, September 13, 2010

On Speed

Last fall - or was it this spring? I don't remember...at some point in the craziness that was life in RAK I decided that this summer I was going to track down my favorite chingu and drag her with me to whatever speed dating event I could find in one of our cities...Minneapolis, Omaha, St. Louis...SOMEWHERE in the frickin midwest had to have one of these things going on, and Dietrich, bosom buddy that she is, was up for it.

And then, due to lack of car and significant finances, I failed to actually SEE her this summer, so it never happened. Oops. But the idea terrified the crap out of me, which in my world is usually a pretty good indicator that I HAVE to try something. And that is why Saturday night saw me step out of an elevator on the 65th floor of the Royal Meridien on East Nanjing Rd in a somewhat petrified state. Yep. I was on speed. And I was flying both solo AND free, while shaking in my booties.

The ladies from Ok-Deal! were nice enough to give me the RSVP price, even though I hadn't RSVPed, and it included a drink, so my cost for the evening was not bad at all. Less that twenty bucks (even better - they included a 100 kuai voucher for one of the spas, so I guess I'm going to be getting myself a manicure before this weekend's big bad Irish shenanigans). But as I took my questionnaire and cherry coke into the lounge (with its 360 degree view of the Emerald City), I realized that I was the only whitey in the room. And there was a disproportionate number of women in the room. That struck me as funny, the more I thought about it. I'm in China, home of, "Here's hoping for a bouncy, baby boy!" and yet, the women outnumbered the men. Well, I made a new friend that night, a Shanghainese girl with the English name Audrey, and she told me that men definitely outnumber the women, but when you change the group to college graduates, that the proportion becomes inverse. Suddenly there are more women than men. Interesting. Maybe we're not as useless as we've been led to believe...

Well, the fact that there were only six men (one of whom was married and had only come to get his lonely single friend to go) to 17 women would have been irritating if I'd actually gone there hoping to meet someone. But I hadn't. My motives, in case you were wondering, were a.) because the idea of trying to have conversations with people I don't know, let alone try to flirt with them, is one of my recurring nightmares and I need to get over it at some point, and b.) because it sounded like a hoot, if, you know, I could get over the terror. And I did. Audrey helped - she actually came with a friend, but the friend left before the dating part got started, and as we talked before the event we became pretty comfortable with each other. Her English was fantastic, even if she'd never been to the US, and as it turns out, we made good wing-girls for each other. Five out of the six Chinese dudes were either expats or foreign schooled, so talking to them was relaxing, and there were two that I wouldn't have minded seeing again. It was actually a really good time, I got out of my shell and flirted - even with the guys that I had no interest in - and made a new friend.

I did not win "Most popular woman," unfortunately...but what can you expect? I know better than to compete with cute little Asian girls on THAT front. The winner, it turns out, said that her parents pressured her into coming - what self-respecting guy could resist that? Neither did I make a "match," but Audrey did (with one of the two pretty cool guys), which was exciting, and I was happy to see that the guy whose married friend had come along for moral support did, too. I might even do it again...but probably not til I'm back in whitebread country, because you can't always count on having THAT level of English saturation! Til next time...

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