Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shaadi in the City

Hello!! This is the post in which I discuss the brilliant time I had searching for my soulmate at Indian speed-dating, but first everyone's going to hear about my weekend.

Liberated from rotations (all that "learning" nonsense) and once again with plenty of time to kill! I drove home to Centralia last night for the weekend to see Reflux and my parents. While I was somewhere in the big flat no-cell-phone-reception-only-Jesus-and-country-on-the-radio central Illinois area, my parents left a voicemail saying they were at a party at the country club, but just let myself in with my key and they'd be home later. I got to my house and realized that not only did I not have a key, my parents had replaced all the garage doors and my garage door opener no longer worked. I got all stressed, like Are they trying to tell me something? Is this like that time they got all pissed off at my older brother for violating his curfew and wouldn't answer the door and made him sleep in his car all night? While I sat outside pondering this, my parents came home and let me in, but not before I got bonked on the head a couple of times by golf-ball sized hail.

Also, I went to a studio in Centralia to have my resume portrait done for my residency applications. There is truly only one way to describe how that turned out: THERE'S A WINNER. I hate fake smiling. My teeth look all horsey.'s all get up to date on my search for a life partner!

A few weeks ago Natasha and I, under full coercion from our parents, signed up for a desi speed-dating bonanza. A few days prior we were all emailed a welcome pamphlet to the "Singles Dinner Reception" wherein we were prepared to be dazzled by a "truly spectacular" and "memorable" event. The event was to go from 2 pm - 11 pm [Hang on one second here -- look, I know we're all serious about finding future mates, but NINE HOURS?! That is like a FULL WORK DAY of meeting singles.] and included a talent show (by the singles!), a magic show, and "evening disco dancing." There was also Entertainment I and Entertainment II portions in there [do I smell local high school girls talent show? I think I do!] as well as a "Giveaways" portion, which I personally was the most excited by. If I could just win that one way ticket to anywhere in the continental US or a $50 gift certificate to the outlet mall my dreams would come true! Ladies were instructed to wear "Traditional Indian/South Asian dress; appropriate for a reception or a dinner at a nice restaurant. No Casual dress please." Well all right, bitches.

I would also like to point out that, despite the fact that this whole stupid thing cost OVER $100 and the food was pretty crappy, [and I'm not even that picky. Seriously. I'll eat anything.] there was nary an alcoholic beverage to be had at this whole event. [I knew I should have brought my flask. I was prevented from doing so, however, by a stern warning in the pamphlet that "the integrity and professionalism during the event shall be duly maintained." You are here to find and meet potential mates, dammit! This is NOT THE TIME to be having fun.]

Anyway, it was at some stupid hotel out in the suburbs somewhere, so I decided to drive. Natasha was post-call and needed to get some sleep before we went, so we didn't end up getting there until 4, a full 2 hours after it started. In true desi fashion, though, they were just getting started. There were 2 emcees...who were Basically the guy kept yelling at us and the girl kept trying to organize everyone into straight lines and whatnot.

So, the first activity on the agenda was "Express 1" where they lined up the guys and girls in 2 big concentric circles facing each other. The guys were all on the inside circle and were supposed to talk for 30 seconds to a girl, then rotate clockwise. PAINFUL, ya'll. I was IN PAIN. First of all, imagine who comes to these things: girls like us whose parents threaten, cajole, and eventually bribe us to get us to these damn things, and 100% SOCIALLY RETARDED GUYS. And everyone I talked to was an effing software engineer, and yet...the concept of "rotate to your right." It's a challenge.

Some guys seemed cool and normal. Most were huge, massive dorks. One guy had a bandaid on his face. And not one of those clear ones either. Now, if I gave myself some kind of facial flesh wound shaving (something men do EFFING EVERYDAY, no?), I would not cover it up with an effing SpongeBob Squarepants bandaid. Or if I did, I would make a up a cool story about a knife fight. round of meeting singles...check.

On to round two of meeting singles. Now Natasha and I sat down at a table, and guys would rotate through each table. This was when I was starting to crave a fifth of Jack Daniels. I'm in medicine. I meet new people everyday. I am good at communicating with people. I just rotated through SICU where I would talk to patients who were fucking sedated and intubated. I can make conversation with inanimate objects. And yet...I could not talk to these people.


R: So...what do you like to do for fun?

Another boring dude: I play online pokers. And I watch Indian movies.

R: Do you read books?

Abd: No. I hate it when authors, y'know, try to give their OPINION. I hate it when people try and tell me how to think. So I don't read books.

R: So you just don't think?

Abd: Yes.

R: Well I actually just finished this really cool book, and it was pr-

Abd: I only like mythology.

R: Oh you mean like The Hobbit? Gets excited. I read all those books in high school! What did you think of the movies?

Abd: No, like the Ramayana. I think the Ramayana exemplifies how I want to live.

R: No offense, but thinks the Ramayana is total misogynistic BS. Oh. Well I think we've only got about a minute left now.

R & Abd: Sit in silence until the buzzer sounds.

So when you're meeting someone new, how do you talk to them? Where are you from? What do you do? What's your family like? What do you like to do for fun? We've all been doing this since we were 8. You'd think you have the hang of it by now. But NOOOOOOO...these people SUCKED. Towards the middle I just stopped asking questions, because I realized I totally, absolutely, fully did not give a shit. And that was when I decided to start making stuff up.

Natasha (speaking to some dude; another variant of ABD): This is R, we came here together.

ABD#2: Well maybe I can get you guys some drinks? (Hey buddy don't tease me like that! You and I both know there are no drinks.)

R: Actually, I'm a recovering alcoholic, so I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't even mention alcohol, or alcoholic beverages in my presence, please.

N: Blurts out. Don't forget about your DUI!

R: All both of them! But you're the one that hit the pedestrian!

ABD#2: Looks extremely confused. But...I thought you were a medical student. And you're a doctor!

R: Crap. Totally forgot that everyone got packets containing everyone's name, age, and profession. Uh, I know. It was tough, drinking a handle a day while I was on the wards. But I'm a professional.

I think I also managed to tell someone that I had a 9-year old son ("My family is extremely supportive"), that I had a gambling problem ("After I took out that third mortgage on my condo, my parents staged an intervention. Have you ever been to that casino in Gary, Indiana? They caught it all on tape"), but my favorite was when Natasha asked someone if he would have a problem with a woman who did drugs.

ABD#3: Just once in a while, right?

N:'s pretty much everyday.

ABD#3: Well...I guess it's not a problem. But you'd stop after marriage, right?

N: No. Absolutely not. I don't think so.

ABD#3: Well..I guess that'd be ok.

I love it! And one of the losers actually emailed me! Yes. The alcoholic single mother with a gambling problem can get a date. Take heart. The thing is, we didn't make stuff up to be mean, or to make fun of these guys. We were just fucking bored. That whole day was a total drain, and if I didn't find some way to entertain myself, I was going to fall asleep. Later on as I was recounting the whole event to my mom, she was laughing so hard she was crying. She said, "At least now you have this funny story to tell! So it was worth it." Yes, but what about MY TIME?? That is nine hours (ok, we did leave a little early...more like 4 hours) that I will never get back! My youth! She is wasting away! And I lost an earring, so I was all pissed off about that. And that was my day. I'll leave you all with this inspirational picture.


Salil said...

Damn. And I thought I had it bad.

Do not ever become a divorced person and go to a speed-dating thing for divorced desis. If you think the singles are horrible, wait until you meet the ones who couldn't hack THAT.


I should blog that sometime.

T. said...

I'm so sorry! I love the fact that you lied though. LOVED it. If I wasn't so hard up on cash, I would have almost got conned into going to a desi speed dating thing out here last month. Thank god for the excuse.

My favorite line at a bar, when I feel like a guy is being totally intrusive and asking why I don't drink - "My boyfriend died in a drunk driving accident." Works like a charm. Usually.

Sri said...

Loved it. I'm surprised a girl like you is still single.

Anonymous said...


that is hilarious!

square peg said...

Sri..HA! Girl, are you being sarcastic?

Sri said...

No, no sarcasm intended. Sorry to disappoint.

BidiSmoker said...

Best Post Ever. I'm only 23, so people have yet to start pitying me for my inability to get a date. But thanks to you I'll know what to expect on the Desi meat market.

The picture is cute though. Seriously, I don't think girls like you are the intended audience for these type of events.

trAcy said...

wonderful story. i'm surprised you finally went to one of these.

didn't they have "conversational cue cards" on the tables, like the waiter in "the meaning of life" provides to the middle-aged and married-too-long?

: )

that one guy who had "standards" about drug use was funny. because they kept changing. which was the point of why you wrote it like that, of course, but illustrates (even if exaggerated, which i think it's probably not), how oddly desperate he must have been to have a girl, any girl, like him. which is not really funny, but must say something i'm not qualified to comment on, about culture-to-same-culture dating and marriage goals and standards.

or, he was joking back.

oodles said...

That was too funny! I've been waiting for weeks for his post! :)

maisnon said...

This was the shiznit!

jeet said...

Funny stuff senora, came here from SM. speed dating without liquor? it would never work for me. I know you had to have all your senses working to find that perfect one but sheeshh!