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So sorry, wrong numbers

by Debra L. Eckerling

September 21, 2006 | 8:00 pm

There are so many choices of singles events, but most of them don't seem to work for me: SpeedDating -- concept is interesting, but my age range and location never seem to match my availability; outdoor sports -- not my thing, and it's not that I'm out of shape, I'm just a fair-skinned California girl who, in addition to not wanting to be burned to a crisp, has never shown much talent for volleyball or hiking; social dances -- I went to enough of those alone when I was in junior high. Enough said.
 
I am a fun person. I like to go dancing, be social, hang out.
 
Ah, here's something -- lunch. Lunch I can do ... and nearby ... on a Sunday morning. Why not? I thought I found something right up my alley. Boy was I wrong!
 
I got up that morning with all the hope of a first date. It could be good, it could be bad, but nothing is worse than not trying. (Yes, I'm almost always that optimistic.) I wore my favorite casual power-outfit (my business casual power-outfit would have been too much, and I didn't really want to wear jeans), took care with my makeup and fixed the chip in my nail polish on my way out the door. Parking was a bear, as it usually is anywhere in Los Angeles.
 
After circling three times, I was about to go into a pay lot when I found a metered spot across the street from the restaurant. It was going to be a good day.
 
I entered the restaurant, and almost immediately noticed (for lack of better words) a mixed-bag of people of various ages, shapes and sizes, sitting against the wall on the far end. I double-checked with the hostess to make sure that was my group. Yup! I made my way through the restaurant filled with tables of friends and families out for a nice Sunday brunch and found a seat at the long table in the back.
 
I had three major problems with the situation, but one trumps them all. If you go to an event for singles in their 30s and 40s, wouldn't you think most of the people would actually be in their 30s and 40s? Yeah, so would I.
 
But, when the first person I met, told me he had been in business for 37 years (which is more years than I have been around), it really took me by surprise. Granted, going in, I figured I'd be one of the youngest people. I'm not saying the person in charge should have asked for ID with registration (well, on second thought, maybe I am saying that). Or, if you're doing an event where it will be 30s and up, let us know! I probably still would have given it a shot, and would have been way less surprised (and more open to rolling with it) when I walked in.
 
The same older gentleman told me he had been going to these events for many, many years. I believe this was indicative of the basis for the group. Correct me if I am wrong: If you go to the same singles group for say ... 10 years ... and you're still single, why would you still keep going? I would say at least half of the group consisted of old-timers (some older than others) who primarily talked among themselves, and a bunch of us who were new, having no idea what we were doing in this mix, bonded as best we could. I would also be willing to bet that at least half of us newbies would not be giving this group another shot.
 
One last observation, and this was huge.
 
There was one person who was just plain rude; griping, yelling at other people at our end of the table and interrupting everyone's conversation. We did our best to ignore this person and enjoy what we could of the event. Too bad the organizers didn't serve as bouncers.
 
Note to attendees: In the future if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, get back in. Please don't inflict your bad mood on the rest of us.
 
That situation aside, the event was pretty decent, the food was good, and most of the people were nice. I guess it's a successful event if you meet one new person. I made some new friends, so the day was not a complete loss. I'm just saying that in the future, rather than going to a get-together disguised as a 30s and 40s singles event, I will be more apt to go hang out with my new friends in an environment completely lacking a singles vibe.
 
Hey, girls, wanna hit the bars?
 
Yes, that was a joke.
 
Debra L. Eckerling is a freelance writer, based in Los Angeles who leads a writers support group in Santa Monica. {--Tracker Pixel for Entry--}

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