Friday night, Polly and I attended Moxie's Lock & Key party. Ever since I heard of these parties, I wanted to go. Like speed dating, there was a novelty to it I couldn't resist (though my one foray into speed dating, done through a different company, was terrible). The women get locks, the men get keys, and off you go, looking for your appropriate match. There's something rather poetic about it, no? (Or rather dirty, if you prefer to view the lock and key metaphor in a different way.) I don't know, there's something about keys I find to be romantic; maybe it's just me.
By the end of the week, I was feeling a bit better than at the start of it, but still rather drained. When I reached the basement room of the bar where the party was going to be held, I quickly felt overwhelmed because of how crowded it was. It wouldn't have been as bad if it was just the Lock & Key folks, but there were other people down there, which made for cramped quarters. I started getting a bit claustrophobic and uneasy that Polly was taking so long. I wasn't ready to start talking to strangers quite yet, and needed a bit more time to decompress. Polly finally arrived, we grabbed a couple of drinks, and headed inside the party room. The place was starting to fill up quickly so we took a seat in the corner to get our bearings before the attempted unlocking began.
We were quickly accosted by a man wearing suspenders in a non-ironic way.
"Are you with the company hosting this party?"
"No," Polly and I answered. "We're guests."
He went on to express his surprise that two women as attractive as us would come to an event like this and even seemed to question what might be wrong with us that we'd be there. This is where I wish I made a crack about having a wooden leg or glass eye. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I know that it's ludicrous that Polly and I, catches that we are, are still single, but still. We played nice and smiled stiffly, slowly walking away to mingle with the other guests.
The format of the party was not what I expected. I thought there would be one lock per woman, one key per man, and when you got unlocked, that was it. This made me wonder, what happened if the first man who tried my lock was the right key? Not only that, what if he had the social intelligence of Suspenders Guy? Would I be doomed to spend the rest of the night with him, giving me no chance to meet any other partygoers?
That wasn't the case. There were several different types of locks and keys, and whenever you got a match, your name was entered into a raffle and you got a new lock/key. Sometimes it would take half a dozen tries to get a match. Three of my locks in a row were opened on the first try.
Unfortunately, three of my locks were also opened by the same guy--one who made me very uncomfortable. He was in his early 40's and not unattractive, but not my type, way too touchy-feely, and a little smarmy. When we were in line to enter our names in the raffle the third time, he started asking all these questions.
"So Dolly, what do you like to do for fun?"
"Dolly, where is your family from?"
"Do you work out, Dolly? Do you do aerobics, weight training?"
While he interviewed me, he'd put a paw on my arm or back. It was too crowded for me to squirm away, so I tried to express my lack of interest by giving him very brief answers, not asking questions of my own, and making zero eye contact. I tried not to be rude, but I obviously didn't give enough of an I'm-not-into-you vibe, because as we reached the front of the line, he asked,
"So Dolly, could we exchange business cards?"
"Let me think about it." I tried to muster a polite smile. Hey, I was thinking about it. I was thinking, "NONONONONOFORTHELOVEOFALLTHAT'SHOLYNO" but I was thinking about it.
Luckily, there were some cool guys at the party, too. There was one cute one who had the strangest accent I've ever heard in my life. He grew up in the deep South but spent several years in Sydney, so it was a mix between an Australian accent and southern drawl. There was also a guy who was a dead ringer for one of the actors from Swingers, though he seemed more interested in Polly, so I didn't chat with him for too long.
The great thing about this event was the variety of people. You would have to be unreasonably picky (and I am pretty damn picky) not to find at least a handful of people to talk to. And most of them were very friendly. For me, the problem was conveying disinterest to non-prospects who chatted me up. I don't like to be rude, but I don't like to lead a guy on, either, and it was a venue where being approached was supposed to be okay, so I had to find a balance between nice and "no thanks". I really hope I wasn't bitchy to anyone.
After six or seven locks and nearly as many cocktails, I was tired. I sat down near a couple of guys (one of whom I noticed earlier and vaguely reminded me of the lead singer of Coldplay).
"Don't worry, I could care less about locks or keys, I'm exhausted."
The guys smiled and we chatted for a bit, then Coldplay Guy's friend left. The two of us quickly got onto the subject of music, which I am very passionate about. When he told me he was familiar with my (rather obscure) favorite band, I was all kinds of enthusiastic to talk to him.
Just as we were getting engaged in a great conversation, a very drunk, very cute Latina brunette bounded over and sat on the other side of Coldplay Guy. They clearly were previously acquainted; not only did he open her lock earlier, but somehow they swapped so that she was wearing the key around her wrist and he her lock. I didn't want to know. Despite my initial misgivings, Drunk Latina turned out to be extremely friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her, too. She had her mitts all over Coldplay Guy, though, so I sat back and let her flirt.
Coldplay Guy, aware of the situation, seemed rather baffled.
"Do you realize how lucky you are to be sitting between the two most beautiful girls at this party?" Drunk Latina asked.
Coldplay Guy stammered and expressed his disbelief. His shyness was cute, though it meant the AFOG (alpha female of the group) would get him. Despite my own occasional aggressiveness and the downright wolfish behavior of some NYC women, I refuse to compete for a man. When they went to get another drink, I didn't accompany them.
Polly said Swingers Guy and his friend wanted to take us out to dinner after the party. Actually, I'm pretty sure they wanted to take her out to dinner, but Polly has been my wing woman plenty of times, so I agreed to go. Besides, who knows, maybe Swingers Guy and I would hit it off.
Before we left, there was something I had to do. I took out a business card, wrote my personal email address on it, then took out a second card and did the same thing. I found Drunk Latina and Coldplay Guy at the bar and handed both of them my card.
"My friend and I are heading out, but it was so great to talk to you, so definitely keep in touch." I smiled at both of them, but focused my attention more on Drunk Latina.
She took my card and smiled when she saw the address. "I work right nearby! We'll have to do a happy hour sometime!"
"You bet! It's great to know more people who work in the area." I said good-bye, barely glancing at Coldplay Guy.
Dinner was fun, though there wasn't a spark between me and either of the guys. Also, Swingers Guy asked out Polly while I was in the bathroom, so even if I was interested, that would have ruled him out then and there.
The next day, I received the following email:
Subject: [Name of my favorite band] Fan Club
Hi Dolly! This is Coldplay Guy from last evening's party...It was so much fun speaking with you and I was quite excited that you gave me your card. Amidst the mass confusion of the event I think it was a blast.
You have my e-mail address but you're also welcome to give me a ring so we can continue the [genre of music I love] debate. Looking forward to hearing from you...
Of course, in the back of my head, I'm convinced he went home with Drunk Latina. Still, nice email, right? It's too bad that I'm lacking the stamina to muster up serious enthusiasm. I will, I will. Just not right this second.