Three-minute dates are hard work in the search for gay romance
READY, SET … DATE!
Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton Road. Dec. 11. JR’s Bar & Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Road. Dec. 12. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m.; dating begins at 7 p.m. $15. OutinDallasSpeedDating.com
Commitment to hardcore journalism requires asking the difficult questions — sometimes worrying about what the answer will be. But this week, I had to ask the hardest question of my career:
"Honey, do you mind if I go speed dating?"
The hesitant pause from the boyfriend of a year-plus was unsettling, but not as much as when he ultimately said "sure" nonchalantly. Clearly, this is a discussion for later.
But with Sue Ellen’s and JR.’s Bar & Grill both hosting Out in Dallas Speed Dating events this weekend, I owed it to our readers to explore the convoluted world of the gay set-up. Out in Dallas caters to LGBT singles in search of filling their calendars with a few dates by, it claims, saving hopeful courtiers from dealing with potential bad dates by minimizing exposure time.
But can anyone find a match within a matter of minutes? With colleague Chance in tow, I set out to makeshift my own speed-dating event and explore the possibility of finding the one. Hypothetically, of course (hi, sweetie!).
We headed to JR.’s a week early and set up shop by the pool tables downstairs. Chance would wrangle dates while I prepped with OID’s do’s and don’ts tips and suggested date questions.
I was first intimidated by one word: Speed. Would this process require exercise? Thank goodness, it did not … though maybe a trip to the gym to tone up before the big event wouldn’t be such a bad idea. (I couldn’t make the BF jealous though — if I won’t hit the treadmill for him, I couldn’t do it for five-minute flirtations.)
One easy (and exercise-free) way to prepare was to bring a tin of Altoids (OID’s "fresh breath" tip), but trust me: they do not taste good with a bottle of Stella.
Immediately after sitting down, though, my old dating insecurities started to appear. In addition to breath, I worried about my hair and my teeth. Then I had to find my game face when my first date, Jesse, appeared.
Chance moderated each three-minute date. At the go-mark, I switched into reporter mode interviewing my suitor. Jesse was 38, into politics and a cute guy. With five seconds left, I froze until he screamed, "I’m a top!"
Next was Rich (same name? could be weird) who enjoyed ’70s music, loved to travel and had two children just shy of 20. That’s my age! (At least my AOL age). He was a good sport and easy on the eyes, easing me into a more conversational mode. Then he offered this:
"I have six cats."
Whoa! For this dog lover, that dulled my tingle. No match.
The catch of the night was Jeff, a handsome, well-groomed attorney with top-notch clothes and a killer smile. It’s funny how I easily responded to a good job and handsome face. We got along well when he pulled out the surprise card:
"I’m a conservative Republican," he said.
Images of Maria Shriver flashed through my head. I immediately wondered if it could ever work with me, umm, not being a conservative Republican. Chance — an uber-Democrat who dresses as Hillary Clinton for fun — even had hearts aflutter over Jeff and wondered if he could pull of a Mary Matalin to Jeff’s James Carville.
We were both conflicted and resolved it by having another drink.
I had the most chemistry with an H.R. director named Ivy. Yes, Ivy. We had the same interests, liked similar movies and she was very gay-friendly. Like me! I would totally go out with her again.
Ya know, if I was single … and straight.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 11, 2009.