At this high-tech, low-stress dating party, eager singles walk around, electronically zapping potential mates. Intrigued by this "Go Go Gadget" dating service, I decide to give it a whirl.
Lemme break it down. My answers to an online personality quiz are programmed into a zapper.
This zapper uses an algorithm to compare my responses to those of other guests. If we're compatible, the gadget glows green, if we're kinda compatible, it turns orange, if it's a Felix n' Oscar mismatch, it burns red.
So what we're looking at is a stoplight for folks who don't look both ways before kissing.
But does it work? Can I really zap my way to true love? Can I simply sidestep the riffraff with an algorithm? And if so, why have I wasted years on bad blind dates and brokenhearted relationships when all I had to do was pay more attention in Mr. Swearngin's honors trig class?
If dating all comes down to algorithms, formulas and numbers, I'm game. I'll carry a calculator at all times. Heck, I'll haul out the abacus. But c'mon, is the probability of me meeting my man through math really greater than or equal to meeting him by chance? Maybe.
So I throw on a sexy little tank, some illegally low jeans, and some come-hither heels. What?
The probability of meeting my man is definitely greater if I look hot. Which I did.
The party is held at a Manhattan Beach hotel that tries too hard to look Hollywood. I get over the bar's "Entourage" envy and cruise the crowd in search of my one true zapmate. The first guy I buzz blinks orange.
"Hi, I'm Mike. I've got a steady job with the city. Got an HMO, a 401K, and holidays off. The last chick I met at one of these things gave me her number but she never called me back. Women never call me back. Never. Never. Never. Which I don't understand."
I don't understand either -- why wasn't he a red? Orange, really? Orange? No way. That guy screamed red. Turn around fast and run, Forest, run red.
Bachelor No. 2 was an outdoor enthusiast. Now I keep my tush taut hiking Temescal and Runyon, but this guy bragged about scaling "four of California's big eight." I didn't know we had a "big eight," but I do know this party started at 8 p.m., and it feels like I've been here way longer than 15 minutes.
Since Ranger Rick rates red on my date-o-meter, I suggest he look into the outdoor singles club I came across online.
"I'd need a computer for that. Don't own one. Don't need one. Don't want one."
Yeah, a guy who doesn't have access to the World Wide Web doesn't get access to me.
Determined to find green, I interrupt a chatty crowd of four and zap away. Bachelor No. 3 was tall, dark and annoyed with me: "I was talking to Alice first. Before you came up, lady, I was talking to Alice. I was talking to Alice first."
All yours, Alice....
I continue to zap everyone who comes my way. I meet Dave, the teacher who wants to direct; Paul, the lawyer who wants to write; and Mark, the banker who wants to score. All blink red and orange. Just when I think the only thing I'm compatible with is my vodka soda, I get a solid green light. Her name is Rachel, she's a graphic designer and lives in Venice Beach.
Much to the disappointment of Jewish men everywhere, this was not a green-means-go match.
So what is a good match? What makes two kids peanut-butter-and-jelly compatible? Similar backgrounds? Common interests? Complementary goals? Is it as simple as me finding a UCLA-cheering, baseball-hat-wearing, witty guy who can quote "Hoosiers" and the Shema with equal ease? It's a start, but it's not everything. Both people have to recognize their luck in finding their puzzle piece. Both people have to be open to all the excitement compatibility can lead to.
And timing ... is there an algorithm that can determine if you're both in the same place at the same time? If only dating success could be predicted with a quadratic dating equation:
Carin's feelings for a guy + the square root of the guy's feelings for Carin X the length of time they've dated -/- by the sum of his commitment issues = the probability of our success.
Yeah, I don't need new math, I need a new man. And a new sentence. I'm trying to think of my next witty comment, but can't come up with one on the fly. Which is when the One Key zapper comes in handy. It's perfect for those moments when you can't think of a sharp opening line.
It gives you an excuse to approach anyone at the party. It's a conversation starter, an electronic party game, a modern "guess which celeb's name is on my back." Like my smokin' bod, the zapper gives people something to talk about.
Despite the easy icebreaker and the fairly fun night, my zapper leads to nowhere.
I ultimately didn't click with any of the guys I zapped. When it comes to electricity between two cute Jews, guess I'm still looking for that old-fashioned kind of spark.
For more information on a Zapper party, visit www.OneKeyAway.com
Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.