Image Map

Welcome to the Freak Show

Jan 11, 2011

“Tall Men Speed Dating!” the email read.  I should have known it would be bad.
But the “Tall Men” part, one of my five criteria, was just too tempting.  Tsk tsk, how dumb can one DC girl be? 
Make that two, for I easily talked DateMeDC into going with me.

But here’s the thing – Joanna met her guy at Tall Men Speed Dating a couple of years ago.  Of course she sat at the bar to support friends and met her guy who was doing the same thing.  So they didn’t actually participate.
The problem with this concept in this city, as DateMeDC theorized before we walked in the Arlington restaurant, is there are so few tall dudes (read: Napolean complexes galore), if they have to resort to speed dating then there must be something wrong with them.
Problem No. 1 – Hair Plugs

I cringed when the hostess led me to his table.  Fortunately we’d only have to talk five minutes.  But I couldn’t stop staring at his hair.  His hairline was unnaturally straight, and the top was so poofy it reminded me of, er, well just watch this and you’ll get the idea.
I’m not sure when hair plugs were popular, but let me assure you that they are no longer desirable in any way.  I actually have a thing for baldies, but let me caveat that with you must be actually bald and not trying to hold on for dear life to what you have (see No. 13).  And please, I beg of you, no comb overs. 
Problem No. 2 – Bad Jokes that Emphasize You Are Old:
“There are three things that really stink about getting older,” Hair Plugs began. “The first is losing your memory.  The second is…is…is…”
Do you really think this is A) funny, B) charming, and/or C) sexy to a lady at least 20 years younger than you? 

Problem No. 3 – Talks Too Much:
After the bad joke, which was his opening line with DateMeDC as well, he dominated the conversation by telling me all about his mattress delivery job for his father’s company.
Usually I’m the one who talks too much.  However, after hundreds of first dates over the past three years, I’ve learned that a conversation must involve both parties or you just come across as full of yourself or nervous.  In this case it was a relief that he talked too much, because I couldn’t think about anything other than his hair.

Problem No. 4 – Wears a Bill Cosby Sweater:
To round out the badness of Hair Plugs, his beige sweater had button-hole indentations in it, and the shoulder seam was halfway down his bicep.  

Just wear a blue button down!  It will always work!  Don’t try to get creative or what you perceive as fashionable.  Repeat after me: Blue Button Down.  Unfortunately at least four other bachelors had this problem as well.
Problem No. 5 – The Stutter:
Bachelor No. 2, aka Awkward IT Guy, was so nervous he had much difficulty spitting out a complete sentence.  I can’t make too much fun of him, it was really sad.  

So I asked him questions about the most annoying people whose computers he had to reboot and somehow, painfully, made it through the five minutes.  Too bad…he was wearing a blue button down.
Problem No. 6 – Bad Breath:
Word of advice: you have bad breath.  You’re in a bar.  Alcohol kills germs.  Get a drink.  Sip slowly.  Swish a little.  If it doesn’t work, at least liquor will cover up bad breath smell.
But no, Bachelor No. 3 was a basketball coach and apparently didn’t drink.  He was fit – except for his turkey neck – and he was wearing a non-Bill Cosby sweater, but his teeth were gray and it was loud so I had to lean in to hear him. 

Problem No. 7 – The Geriatric:

“Have you ever done this before?” Bachelor No. 4 asked me.
“No,” I lied.  I was lying a lot.  And pretending to be a bimbo.  I found the less intelligent I came across the less questions they would ask and the more they would talk about their boring jobs.  At least I wasn’t giving away personal information with which they could stalk me later.
“15 years ago when I decided to make a career change…” he was saying.  This man had to have been in his 70s.  He was also wearing a Bill Cosby sweater, this one red with black and cream wavy vertical lines.
When the bell rang to change partners the girl beside me tensed up, a look of panic in her eyes.  I wanted to pat her on the shoulder and say, “It’s only five minutes.”
Problem No. 8 – Scripted Pick-Up Lines:
“I get so bored with all the same questions,” Bachelor No. 5 said.  “Let’s think of something different to talk about.  Gimme a sec…”
He looked up toward the ceiling thoughtfully, finger placed to the side of his mouth, and then after a few seconds his eyes lit up.
“I’ve got it!  What was the last vacation you went on?” 
This was a funny question because I haven’t been on a real vacation in at least four years.  So the conversation steered back toward work. 
Of course he put on the exact same show for DateMeDC.

Problem No. 9 – Ahead of His Time, in a Bad Way

Bachelor No. 6 looked about 25 and had a white man’s fro.  That’s all forgivable.  What’s not is being that young and that nerdy and loving Bethesda, Maryland, more than DC. 
There’s nothing wrong with Bethesda.  It’s a perfectly nice town and it even has a Georgetown Cupcake. 
But this guy hearts Bethesda.  “It’s real family friendly,” he said. 
“Do you have a family?” I inquired.
Problem No. 10 – You Don’t Speak English Well
This can be forgivable if you’re charming and cute.  But if you’re creepy and short (hello! TALL MEN speed dating!), it doesn’t work.  

How did Bachelor No. 7 even get in the building?
Problem No. 11 – You’re Obsessed with Tibetan Buddhism and I’m Obviously Not
Not only did he repeatedly tell me I was the only one in the room he had any interest in, he also preached the gospel of Tibetan Buddhism to me.  I tried to change the subject – “What do you do for a living?”  But it didn’t get better.
“In restaurant.  Been in USA 12 years.”
“Oh!” I feigned interest.  “In the same restaurant for 12 years?”
“No!” he laughed.  I was hilAAArious.  “Only eight years.  Another restaurant for other years.  Can I have your number?”

Problem No. 12 – The Pro Speed Dater
Bachelor No. 8 had just moved here and spent New Year’s Eve at a big party in a big hotel SPEED DATING ALL NIGHT.  If you speed date for eight hours and you don’t meet anyone, you might want to find a new way to meet people. 
Also found out he works in my building.  So my identity changed yet again.  And I live in constant fear I will run into him.

Problem No. 13 – The Opposite of Problem No. 1
Bachelor No. 9 didn’t have hair plugs.  He didn’t need them.  He had luscious patches of dark, thick hair on the sides of his head.  You could tell he took great pride in combing that hair so it was shiny smooth.  

And yet another Bill Cosby sweater.  Seriously, guys, button downs.  Seriously.
Oh, and by the way, a message to ALL the bachelors – my name is Mary El.  It’s not Mary, and it’s not Mary Ellen.  My nametag clearly reads “Mary El”.  Yes?  Are we in agreement on this?

AS SOON as this was over, DateMeDC gathered our things to leave.  The non-English speaking Buddhist came over and said, “I like you two best.”  Ooooooookay…are we supposed to bow down and marry you?  Are you a polygamist Buddhist?  We said thanks and walked away, but he stayed right behind us.  I was headed toward the Metro and DateMeDC was going to walk home, but Buddhist made it clear he was going to follow her.  Even though he came up to her waist and I was sure she could take him, I grabbed her arm and said, “I forgot I need to talk to you in here!”  We ducked into the nearest restaurant and miraculously he didn’t follow. 
So out of all of those, you know who I’ve heard from?  The Buddhist (duh) and the Scripted Pick-Up Line guy.  DateMeDC received a date request from Hair Plugs.  Jealous! 
I honestly doubt we'd have this problem in DC.  Yet another reason for me never to move to Arlington.
Click HERE to read DateMeDC's take on the evening.


  1. Sorry,it's not any better in Arlington.

  2. OMG I am never doing speed dating.. gah!

  3. I laughed out loud at "make that two," among other parts. I'm glad you talked me into this because it made for a good story!

  4. Well at least you got a funny blog post out of it!

  5. I just found your blog and I flipping lurve it, too!

    Trust me, someday you will have a wonderful man AND lots of funny dating stories to share.

    The longer the wait, the more adorable the Mr. Right and the bigger the ring!

  6. Problem No. 14, isn't it stutter and studder?

    Also, yes, you should've married the Buddhist guy, I mean he bothered to tell you liked you both.

    Also I'll gladly pay you for hidden camera coverage of the next one, the laughs would be so worth it.

  7. Dangit! Spellcheck -- and my entire education -- did me wrong. At least I learned something new today.