Against my better judgment, I went to a “matchmaking event”. The experience killed any desire I had to date in Los Angeles.
I’m still in my twenties (for the next six months), but I’ve become quite jaded with the idea of dating. Maybe it’s because I’m a textbook introvert. Maybe it’s because I’m a soul man in a Pop land. Maybe it’s because my habit of over-analyzing everything sabotages any viable dating opportunities from happening.
Maybe it’s all of these things. Maybe it’s none of them.
Nevertheless, I came across a flyer on Instagram for an event called “Believers In Christ Pre-Matchmaking Event”. I always question things that are “faith-based” (because a lot of them are haphazardly-assembled), but I’ve always wanted to check out a matchmaking event, so I decided to look into it.
The Set-up / Okey-doke
The description on the purchase page was like catnip to introverts like me:
After purchasing a ticket you will be sent a link to your email to complete your own personal questionnaire. This will help us to learn more about your personality and the type of people you are looking forward to meeting. We compile all the answered questionnaires and with our verified and tested algorithm, we match you with several interesting singles with whom you are most compatible.
We’ve eliminated the hard part for you by already pre-matching you before you ever step foot into the door. All you have to do is mingle and talk, but guess what? We have you on that one too, all you have to do is show up.
I’ve shied away from dating in LA mostly because the scene is so incredibly vapid, where interactions have little to do with who you are as a person and everything to do with (1) what you do for a living, and (2) how the other party can leverage that to get to where they want to be.
Yet, in the spirit of “stepping out on faith” and against my better judgment, I swallowed my fear and bought a ticket. You only live once, right?
The next day, I got the questionnaire that was supposed to allow them to match me. Yet, what I received was more of a generic personality assessment quiz, with one page asking about me and twelve pages of redundant questions seemingly ripped from a free online test I took years ago. I’m not even sure it asked me for my age or birthday.
As soon as I walked into the event, I wanted to leave: it was set up like your average Hollywood networking event at a small upscale bar, the very type of situation I avoid like the plague. Yet, I had already bought the ticket, driven 30 minutes in the rain, paid for parking and walked two blocks past a bunch of gay clubs to get here, so I lined up with the others and checked in. My frugality and laziness trumped my trepidation.
Upon check-in, I was given a red wristband, a gift for my “match”, and a sticker with QT on it. The lady checking me in explained that QT stood for “quality time”, which is apparently how I best accept love. Because I totally didn’t realize this trait when the assessment quiz asked me the same question 37 times in different ways. </sarcasm>
The room smelled of Hennessy and desperation, while the DJ was decent enough that I don’t remember what he played but I didn’t want to punt a football at his face. With the instruction to grab a drink and start mingling, I was then thrust into the event. I don’t drink, so I grabbed a glass of water from the bar while surveying the scene. I saw a couple of guys I know, but I’m not about to block another dude just because my mingling game is wack. The bro code trumps my reclusiveness.
Clearly out of my element, I grabbed my phone to distract myself from the mayhem. “Georgia” (not her real name) saw through my introvert coping mechanism, tapped me on the arm and struck up a conversation with me. The conversation was cool, yet it eventually morphed into talking about our mutual career aspirations. This is to be expected in this town.
The event organizer then introduced herself over a poorly-powered PA system and explained that you get along best with someone who has a wristband the same color as yours. I turned back and saw that Georgia’s wristband was purple.
I looked to the right and saw “Raven”, whose wristband wasn’t red either. Raven saw me, glanced at my wristband, looked me up and down, then rolled her eyes. I jokingly acted offended because she wasn’t my type at all, but she replied with something to the effect of “you ain’t it, bruh” and turned back around to listen to the muffled speech. I guess she left her sense of humor at the beauty shop that glued on her lacefront and fur eyelashes.
We were then told that the gifts we received at check-in were to be given to someone of the opposite sex with the same wristband color as you. After the hosts and the musical guests were introduced, I exchanged information with Georgia with the intention of possible future collaboration and bid her adieu.
I scanned the room again and met eyes with “Effie”, who was laughing at my struggle. Although the attraction wasn’t there either, our conversation was a bit more fluid: we talked about her southern upbringing and my southern roots, as well as how we’re adjusting to LA. Effie’s wristband was green, so we also parted ways after a few minutes.
I turned to walk away and nearly collided with “Lily”, who also seemed to be out of her element. Her wristband wasn’t red either but she was cute, so I took a tiny step for the both of us and sparked up a conversation. She noticed my analytical nature, and we bonded over our mutual love of good worship music.
In hindsight, I should have grabbed her information before parting ways, but I was super overwhelmed by everything while simultaneously trying to follow the rules and find my matching wristband woman.
I blame my inability to close the deal on sensory overload.
As I squeezed through the chunks of people in this crowded event, I avoided eye contact with the plethora of cougars ready to pounce, gave the head-nod to the fellas I knew who were doing better than I was, and walked around the cat daddies looking for their next PYT.
At this point, most of the other eligible ladies in my age range were already engrossed in other conversations. There were one or two other ladies I wanted to approach, but I lost them in the crowd.
I recognized “Pennsatucky” but couldn’t remember from where, so I approached her with the “where do I know you from” angle. She knew it was from church (of course), and I handed her my “gift” when I noticed that our wristbands matched. Turns out: her “gift” was a coupon for $25 off an apparel company, and mine was a $20 gift certificate to a meal prep service.
Pennsatucky wasn’t my type either, but I tried to spark up some sort of conversation since our wristbands matched. Yet, her body language and short replies let me know she wasn’t with it, and she eventually turned back to the bar.
I completed my circle through the venue, then turned around to do one more walk-through before aborting this ill-fated mission. I ran into “Diana”, who had sequestered herself to a small table with her two friends “Mary” and “Florence”. I know Diana from other events around LA and while her wristband matched mine, our relationship is purely platonic. Mary and Florence were nice enough, but neither one of their wristbands matched mine.
At this point my mind was already back in my apartment eating snacks, so I took the loss, charged it to the game, and made my exit.
My nerves are shot. A part of me wants a fifth of Hennessy and I don’t even drink. I literally had a nightmare that woke me out of my sleep at 4am. I could hardly concentrate all day. My self-confidence wasn’t affected at all, but my optimism took a big hit.
This isn’t meant to knock the event’s organizers, as I’m sure love connections were probably made that night. But at the end of the day, I was misled on what the event actually would be. I signed up for a pre-matchmaking event and got a singles mixer. To an introvert, the difference is like night and day.
Let me put it in fat kid terms: if you sell me a ticket to a steak dinner, I’m going to be disappointed if I show up and you’ve prepared smoked salmon. Yes, both are similar in both price and popularity. But (1) I don’t like seafood, and (2) my heart and mind were expecting steak.
I’m not one to date out of boredom, and I refuse to settle for less than “equally yoked” just to avoid growing old alone. Problem is, I’m not sure when (or if it ever will) happen for me. I realize now that I have to get to a place where I’m okay if it never does.
Moral of the story
I want nothing more than to be in love. I pray for a wife daily. It’s something I’ve longed for since I was old enough to tie my shoelaces. But the emotional roller coaster is more than I need at this point in my life. My analytical mind can’t process it all and maintain my other responsibilities.
So I’m pretty much done. I’m open, but I’m really done trying. It’ll be a while before I consider actively trying to date in LA again (if ever), and it will take the willpower of Noah’s staff, Jesus, Mary, JoJo, Shadrack, Meshack and two billy goats to get me to another singles mixer.