I'll try anything once. As they say, you only go around once, and if you do it right once is enough. This is how on Sunday night at 6:45 I found myself in GameWorks at Newport on the Levee standing in line to be put on a waiting list for Progressive Date's first party in Cincinnati.
Call it my spirit of adventure or whatever, but I, along with 30 to 40 other singles, was going on a progressive date as long as not all of the pre-registered women showed up by 7:15. When I pre-registered online at www.progressivedaters.com, the Web site alerted me to the fact that space was available for men but the women quota had been met. This didn't surprise me, as it seems more likely single women would try the three-minute date concept. After all, aren't women known to be shoppers and lookers?
The instructions were to show up anyway as there are always no shows and it was likely I'd get to participate in the party. What the heck! I cut back my cable bill and can't get Sex in the City on HBO anymore, so I opted to see if maybe there could be sex in my future. Only thing missing is the person, so I guess I'm as good a candidate as any for new faces and a new method of meeting them.
When I first entered GameWorks I was reminded of Dave & Buster's, which isn't my cup of tea on any day or night, but I forged ahead to the lounge area near the back. All that greeted me were of the female gender, but then again the men could show up on time and be assured of participating. The sign-up involved reading a disclaimer that stated that Progressive Daters doesn't do background checks of any kind. I signed off on that since I figured dating in general is a risk one must assume.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I was told to return in 30 minutes to see if indeed women got cold feet or a better offer on a Sunday night. I headed into Barnes & Noble to listen to music on their cool system that allows you to read the bar code and hear any track of a CD of interest. I almost forgot to go meet my prince at GameWorks as I was having too much fun in the music section of the bookstore, but even I was curious to see how this worked.
Upon returning, it was much more of a crowd complete with men and women. As this party was limited to ages 35-45, everyone was around my age, but who's counting? I forced myself to have faith and not turn and run out of fear or snobbery or both. I showed my photo ID, paid my $20 and got a nametag with a number and "WENDY" printed boldly. I placed it over my heart and, with a Girl Scout pledge to be nice, took my seat at No. 30 promptly at 7:30.
The instructions were given and the timer began, with my first date being a no-show. No big deal, as I met Christine across from me, who also was stood up. She was darling and actually agreed that meeting women in this town can be equally difficult. Three minutes with her flew, and we both relaxed a tad as the real fun began for us.
The next two hours I had no break from meeting guys who really were single and interested in meeting women or a special woman. It was exhausting. The minutes seemed to speed up as I tried to keep it all straight and sincere at the same time. We had a form to jot down the first name -- last names aren't given and are confidential, thank God -- the number and thumbs up or down. It's actually a Y for "Yes" and a N for "No," which means if there's a match it would involve Progressive Daters coordinating the exchange of e-mails only. They're clear that this is a dating party, not a dating service.
Our world being what it is, it's tough to trust a three-minute impression, but it felt comfortable with the exchange of e-mail as opposed to last names and phone numbers. Everyone seemed fairly harmless and sincere. In fact, I thought every guy I met was nice and interesting on some level, be it his career, his hobbies or his approach to the three-minute concept. "Maybe" wasn't allowed as a response on our forms, but I could see hanging out with a couple of these guys, be it casually and if nothing else, grabbing a tennis game.
We did get a 15-minute break mid-stream, which was barely enough time to run to the restroom and wet the whistle for the next onslaught of men to meet. So many men in so little time -- what's a girl to do? I hit up a favorite, No. 18, to buy me a quick cocktail since I had only the required $20 to begin with and snagged another two minutes of information from him in the process before the group leader found us laughing at the bar and herded us back for Round 2.
I have to admit the drink helped, and everyone seemed to be loosening up in the second hour. Some had note pads, pre-planned questions and/or a sense of humor that helped keep it fun. Everyone was unique, and I thought it was refreshing to know there are indeed 70 singles in Cincinnati after all.
I'm not sure if musical chairs for adults is the best way to find a love match, but then again I won't say it isn't either. If I can, I want to play Red Rover, Red Rover and send No. 18 right over.
You read Whirlygig every week, now we want to hear your stories. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.