Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sparty on

I have a story that I think warrants telling, but my attempts to craft some clever intro to lead into it are falling pretty flat. So I will just jump right in and say that what I want to talk about is what I did Friday night, and what I did Friday night was go to a Singles Party.

Maybe that doesn't actually sound as absurd as I think it does. Maybe you aren't actually scrunching your eyebrows into your Confused face and wondering if I've lost my mind. Maybe to you (or to a previously single version of you), a Singles Party sounds like an excellent idea. I'll admit it sounded like a pretty reasonable idea to me... Or, it did when I got the widely distributed Evite announcing the event, an Evite that didn't just call it a Singles-Only Party, but used the more clever hybrid term Sparty.

A Sparty sounds just quirky and offbeat enough to be fun, I thought. A Singles Party sounds like something from another decade. I mean, do we really use the word Singles anymore? Maybe we do, but do we put the word Party behind it? Doesn't that combination of words just beg to have the word Swingin' inserted in front as well? To me, the phrase Singles Party calls up a weird 1970s vibe. It sounds like something Mary and Rhoda would have gone to and had some amusing misadventure at. It would have been Rhoda's idea to go, of course, but all the polyester suit-wearing guys with thick, bushy hair would have clamored for Mary's attention instead.

I honestly have no idea who's the Mary or the Rhoda in our group, but four of us joined up on Friday to check out the Sparty nonetheless. We were intrigued and trying to be optimistic, but our sense of humor was in check. At the very least, we would have an interesting Girls Night Out. Plus, the drinks were cheap. It's hard to beat $2 gin and tonics, so that alone seemed to make it worth the trip.

The Sparty was held at a downtown club I'd never been to before but which, in a former life with a different name, was one of the most prominent meat markets for 21-year-olds in backless tops and micro-minis. It may actually still be the place for 21-year-olds in micro-minis, but the 21-year-olds don't come out to scope and grope until after 10:00, I think. The Sparty started a bit earlier than that, which means when we walked into the club, the only portion of it that was widely populated was the penned-off raised area in the corner prominently labeled "SPARTY: Singles Party." I know that corralling the party was necessary to differentiate participants from non-, but I couldn't help thinking we were being quarantined from the rest of the bar simply because, as Bridget Jones noted, underneath our clothes, we Singletons are covered with scales.

Once we got over our initial hesitance and edged our way into the crowd, it really wasn't that absurd or humiliating, but there was definitely a weird dynamic nonetheless. I won't go so far as to say it was like locking a bunch of foxes in a hen house, but I was very aware that everyone surrounding me had one supposed thing in common, and that was that we all had a large "S" on our forehead advertising ourselves as single and accepting offers.

I can't say that the crop of potential dates was so appealing overall, but it wasn't a total bust, at least. In addition to enjoying the cheap drinks, I did give my number to a seemingly nice (and tall--6'5"!) guy who I wouldn't be opposed to going on a date with to investigate whether any potential is there. In my early 20s, I typically made sure I had a few business cards with me when I hit the bars on weekends. I treated them like the calling cards ladies in Jane Austen's day used to provide contact information to potential suitors. Since then, men have taken to plugging womens' digits into their cell phones, but apparently Tall Guy hasn't gotten the memo yet about that. Perhaps it's because he's a bit older than me (39); he's not aware of this semi-new trend. Instead, he pulled a blank index card and a pen out of his pocket to make note of my name and number. "I came prepared!" he replied, when I asked if he had any number-noting tools. The index card was not suave enough to be smarmy, and just dorky enough to be endearing, so I'm not going to fault him for this at all. And in case you're wondering, yes, I did check to see if the index card was still blank when he pulled it out. I did not, I just realized, consider the fact that he might have had several additional cards still tucked within his pocket. Live and learn, I guess.

Eventually, a loud band started playing old Bon Jovi covers, and we figured that was our cue to leave. We had one more drink in a more conventional bar in the area and then finished the night with a slice at Pizza Lucé. Frankly, a slice at Pizza Lucé is such a perfect way to end any evening that it can all but erase any bad times and ugliness that came before. I have a feeling at least one of my Sparty-going friends wishes we had just fast-forwarded to the pizza part immediately, but all in all, I'd say it was a successful Girls Night nonetheless.

14 comments:

Red said...

Nice! You know I'm totally planning a sparty in my head right now. Except not because I like my coupled friends, and I never have to vie with them for men... hmmm...

sognatrice said...

Ironic that the only people who actually lived through Bon Jovi (the "comeback" doesn't count) would be prompted to leave just as they were invading the Sparty. Best of luck with index card guy :)

3carnations said...

I'm guessing he just had one index card, because who would carry a whole packet? I'm also guessing you would be the only name put on it, because no one is going to take out a list of names to add a new one later. I'm glad he didn't write your number on his hand or something.

Please don't hate me - I'm 5'2" and my husband is 6'4". I took a tall guy. :) I understand your plight of height - I once dated a guy who was 5' tall. A blind fix up by his dad with whom I indirectly worked. Oh so awkward. That's my shallow story, by the way. I felt uncomfortable. As a short person, I'm not used to men being shorter than me. We would have ended up fighting over who had to use to stepladder to reach the tall shelf.

stefanie said...

Red--I could never plan a Sparty on my own. I don't know enough single people anymore. Then again, I'm sure the organizers of this event didn't either, but the power of the Internet and word-of-mouth somehow got their Evite distributed to over 600 people in the area. Wow.

Sognatrice--Hey now. I'm sure the 39-year-old I was talking to remembers Bon Jovi, too! Actually, most of the Sparty-goers looked in the thirty-something range, so we were probably all pretty familiar with the song. You were probably talking about the people in the rest of the bar, though, in which case, good point.

3Cs--I'll admit I do generally think, "No fair" when I see a short girl with a tall guy, but I won't hate you for it. You can't control when chemistry happens, and it obviously isn't always hinged on height.

-R- said...

My mind did immediately go straight to "Swingin' Singles Party," and I must admit I was wary of where this post was going. But it turned out ok. I hope tall index card guy turns out to be cool.

lizgwiz said...

I would totally attend a Sparty. It sounds like a relatively painless way to scope out a bunch of other singles quickly. And less awkward than speed dating. Which I have done, actually.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

I personally never saw what was so wrong with Rhoda. Why did everyone on the show treat her as though she weighed four-hundred pounds and had a huge birthmark covering her face?

Paisley said...

At least you had company. It makes it less painful.

Bon Jovi covers? Hilarious.

stefanie said...

R--I was wondering what this guy's reference point should be, but it seems you folks have decided on "Index Card Guy." I'd have thought we could come up with something better ("The Spartan," maybe? Or... maybe not), but I suppose Index Card Guy will do. Anyway, it's entirely possible you may not hear anything further about him at all, so I suppose it may not matter what we call him.

Liz--Oh good. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought it was not a terrible idea. You know, I've never actually done speed-dating. I had a boyfriend when that trend got really big around here, and by the time I was out there looking again, there weren't a whole lot of those events going on. Sounds like I didn't miss much, though, huh?

Darren--I think they treated her that way because she was always in those flowy, baggy, sack-like outfits. I totally agree with you, though. And actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I actually am the Rhoda of my group, if only for her snarkiness and pessimism (and also, of course, her typical lack of luck with men).

Paisley--Definitely. I highly doubt I could have convinced myself to go to that thing alone. Some people were there solo, though, and I have to admire them a bit for that.

guinness girl said...

Hey! Yay for Sparties! And tall men who carry index cards in their pockets! :) I will anxiously await his call. Um, on your behalf.

Babs said...

"scope and grope"... nicely put!

Your Sparty reminds me of one I went to way back when (around 2000?), and you're so right about being corralled into the "no fly" zone. Ugh. But if I were to score myself an index-card guy, I might just check one out again.

metalia said...

Loooove the Jane Austen imagery; I'm cracking up. Keep us posted on tall index card guy! (And by the way, I agree completely with your assessment of his index card usage.)

stefanie said...

GG--Well, thanks for the enthusiasm on your part! If he is following the three-day rule, then he should have called by now, and he has not. Therefore, this may be the last you hear of him. We shall see.

Babs--Thanks; I thought it was mostly apt. And you went to one of these things, too? I'm glad I'm not alone.

Metalia--Glad you got the Jane Austen reference. They always had their name printed on cards, did they not? I should totally reinstate this tradition, with regular contact info instead of just business stuff.

3carnations said...

He'll call, not that you seem overly concerned about it. I have never understood people who ask for phone numbers and don't call, though. What do they think? That they will never get out of the conversation without ending it with a request for your phone number?