Saturday, July 19, 2014

So I Went on a Date with Hundreds of Other Strangers

A few days ago, I went on adventure with my pal. She had a spare ticket to the Doing Something Big Brooklyn Bowl Date at the 02 Arena, and well, I had nothing better to do (it was in my diary for WEEKS. I love going to the zoo. And by zoo, I mean 300 single men and 300 single women in an enclosed space).

We got there pretty early – excepting the ten minutes circulating the 02 trying to find a way in. Anyway, we arrived, received a time for bowling (8.45) and a free beer ticket. There was an hour to kill. What the hell were we going to do with an hour? Oh yeah - people watch.

The bar area was predominantly female, with a smattering of men leaning nonchalantly (at least they’d like to be perceived that way, anyway) against the bar. It was kind of like walking into a school disco, because the men and women were so far not really interacting, and coupled with the empty dancefloor (it was half seven!), there was a slightly awkward vibe, at first. Also, the music choices were a little bizarre at first, coupled with the fact that it was far too loud.

It’s quite an odd environment in itself, throwing hundreds of members of the opposite sex together in the hope that something might stick. It takes quite a lot of courage to go up to someone else (or even a group) of the opposite sex and strike up a conversation, merely hoping that you won’t get shot down. This is where the bowling concept comes in (you know, because they’re called ‘Doing SOMETHING’). it's a good idea, though, because when people are left to their own devices, it generally takes a lot of alcohol to bind people together.

After a fashion, some brave souls started to interact. Every time we saw members of the opposite sex chatting, a photographer appeared, as if by magic, to document the evidence that it was WORKING. We saw some interesting people. My favourite was the guy walking around with his tie slung over his shoulder. I can only assume this peacocking was working in his favour, because he made his way around the room at an alarming rate. We pondered for a while going up to him and correcting his tie, but ultimately decided we wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

Finally, we got called up to bowl. The DJ had clearly been told to change the music, my pal observed, as what sounded like ‘Best of the 80s’ was switched in. It was a definite improvement. There were a lot more guys and girls chatting, possibly more at ease with a combination of alcohol and the prospect of activity. The camera guy was still omnipresent at the sight of guys and girls chatting.

There were three more girls and three more guys, all of whom seemed pleasant. It was a little awkward at first, standing in a huddle of people, having been immediately paired off by the enthusiastic-looking guy wearing a rosette. There was some chat, mostly fairly superficial. There was a little chemistry in the group, I think: I hope the couple sitting slightly behind everyone else went on a date, they seemed to be getting on really well! My friend’s ‘date’ was easy to chat to, and a high-fiver when anyone did well (why does that seem to be the universal congratulation in bowling?). She got slightly upset that he didn’t get her Big Lebowski White Russian reference (well, not that upset. She has a boyfriend). My ‘date’ was a nice-seeming guy, just a little ill-at-ease with the fact that he was about ten years older than the rest of the group, and spent two of his goes at the bar (in which I got a strike, somehow). We didn’t really chat that much about anything except bowling, but that was fine. I was bowling.

A choice quote from the game was "you've left me with a really hard one!" I can only hope he was talking about the singular pin in the corner of the alley.

We ended up winning, and I was supposed to stay on til 11pm to take part in the final, but we were in Greenwich, and we had to get back to North London, so declined. I think my friend’s date wanted to stay on to play with my date. We left shortly after we’d returned our shoes for a burger from Byron, which I managed to wolf down in record time (still double the amount of time my pal demolished hers). So all in all, not a bad evening. If I’d have come expecting to meet a guy, however, it might have been different - I was mainly there for the S&Gs.

Not that I tried that hard anyway, I suppose. Not like Tie Guy.

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