Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lock and Key Party

After a fun and full day of rock climbing in Boulder, I make it back to Denver just in time to get ready for a dating venture I’ve been curious about for a long time. It’s a “lock and key” party put on by one of the singles organizations in town. The party itself is well organized, includes some nice snacky food, and is in a fun setting.

I’m getting ready for my friend to pick me up and suddenly it hits me: what if all of the guys are super old? There’s nothing that creeps me out more than a horny old man trying to pick up on me. On the other hand, I was thinking this would be a great way to spend an evening getting to know a lot of people all at once rather than the Internet Dating method which sometimes requires spending an entire evening getting to know just one person.

In either case, meeting one or a bunch of strange single men can be a little like piercing a giant hook through your midriff, jumping in a large body of water and waiting for the wildlife to smell your blood and start feeding on you. It requires much courage.

As I enter her car, my friend and I confide in each other about our fears/self consciousness. We agree on a few back-up plans and safety measures. We come up with some code words we can use if we need them. We tell each other how cute we look.

We enter the venue-it’s not tiny but not huge, there are already about 20 people milling about. They give us nametags and we head to the bar. After a while, the organizer announces that we will begin the affair. Every woman gets a little lock, every man gets a key. When we make a match, we get a raffle ticket possibly redeemable for prizes, and get a new lock or key to try for more.

The point, aside from trying to win prizes, is to meet a lot of people and/or a person you’d be interested in. One of the first men I meet is a retired Firefighter from New York. He squeezes my hand too hard when trying to fit the key in my lock. Then there’s the man who, every time he sees me, asks a rapid succession of questions for me to answer. I had to appear in court once as a witness. It feels just like that, minus the stenographer writing everything down.

Eventually, I run into a man that seems about my age, cute, and nice. Having all these features makes him a very popular feature at the event. We seem to be expressing interest in each other, but aside from the smiles and little bits of communication, we don’t get to a stage where we’re really sitting down for a chat or making plans for dinner.

Near the end of the evening, I go up to a man to try his key against my lock. He immediately asks for my number. He is large and sweating profusely. His eyes are at half-mast apparently due to having drunk too much. He then tells me it’s his birthday and asks me for a kiss. Assertiveness is not always my strong suit, but when he asks again if he can have my number, I look him square in the eyelid and say, “No, but thanks for asking.” This actually causes him to say, “OK” and leave me alone.

The organizer announces that it is time to turn in our locks and keys. My friend and I find a place to sit down and listen for the raffle drawing. The first prize is a bud-light t-shirt. My friend actually ends up winning it. We laugh about that as we walk to my favorite frozen yogurt shop down the block. We both agree that we had some fun and we’d do it again for the practice if nothing else.