Friday, February 27, 2015

Plenty of Fish

The moment I decided to attend the Christian singles mixer party my friend was hosting, I hadn't pictured myself as the only female attendee for the first part of the evening. But there I was, the wall flower, sitting encircled by a half-dozen eligible men in a dimly lit bar inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven, awkwardly making conversation with help from an icebreaker game. Scarlett O'Hara surrounded by adoring beaus I was most definitely not. When the other two women showed up, they sat together at the bar and put their icebreaker games in their purses, meaning I won the door-prize for the women by default.

I tried not to think about how disappointing this event might turn out for every one, and focused on small talk and polite conversation about work, hobbies and interests. One man turned out to be not only a winter camping enthusiast but also a registered nurse who was an expert in foot care nursing, having run his own business for over ten years. I was able to glean some valuable information from him as I am also a foot care nurse.  Another man was a recent immigrant from Lebanon who was a scientist who worked in the food industry. Yet another was an outdoorsman who was a machinist. They all seemed like decent people. A couple men offered to buy me a drink, but I declined as I rarely have alcohol.

Gradually the small crowd dwindled to four people, counting the hostess of the event. We sat at the bar and discussed our work and cultural and family backgrounds. Since I had won a gift certificate for the bar, I attempted to buy a drink, but it is hard to order something that has no alcohol or sugar at a bar, and bars apparently don't charge for water garnished with a lemon. When I realised that this elementary fact should have been obvious to me, I was rather embarrassed to have offered payment. My next thought was to order a drink for some one else, as I didn't think it likely I would be returning to this venue, but the two people I asked had already imbibed their personal limit of one drink for the evening.

At ten the music was cranked up, but no one was dancing. Conversation became more difficult due to the noise level. My friend and I made plans to go back some time to use the gift certificate, and we exited the bar together along with the last man to leave the singles mixer party, who happened to be the registered nurse. He offered me contact information so I could ask him for professional advice regarding foot care. It wasn't the evening I had expected, especially since the last event my friend planned had had ten times as many people show up and more of a gender balance. Still it certainly was a stretching experience, and more of an adventurous Saturday night than I am used to having.


Anonymous said...

$20 says the foot care guy was into you. Professional advice? Yes, I'm sure he could give a lot of helpful instruction given his experience. But that's what he does for a living. As a general rule, people don't freely offer the thing that they usually do for their pay. So the fact that he spent time doing that at the party, and then offered to give you more help later? Yeah: that's him offering to work for free just for the chance to spend time with you.

I could be wrong, but I bet I'm not.


Suzanne said...

I wondered if that might be the case, which is why I hesitated to use him as a professional contact. Even though I would love to get some valuable career advice. I just know the name of his company and he did mention he at times charges for mentorship services.