I was in the Rare Books room of Greenwich Village’s legendary Strand Bookstore, on another gritty, hard-hitting reporting assignment, investigating an annual event called Literary Speed Dating. ” or “Hey, are you going to drink the rest of that? A fevered embrace atop of a stack of rare paperbacks? Near the Max Brenner chocolate stand in the center of the room, a middle- aged woman with a microphone began to speak.I was wondering if adopting a vague accent and introducing myself not as Frank, but as Franz, the playboy son of a foreign diplomat, would be an effective cover story to feed unsuspecting journalistic subjects. For practice, I muttered some words in German under my breath – And girls, man, the place was lousy with them! There were so many girls, in fact, and comparatively so few men, that as soon as I entered the room, a bearded man with a businesslike haircut hurried me to the front of the line, saying, “Just go! ”, doing at an event specifically designed for socially capable intellectuals? “You will have three minutes with each date,” her voice boomed, “Then the boys rotate to the right.SUNDAY 19th / 2pm GUYS: https://uk/…/last-night-a-speed-date-changed-my… Guys Girls - https://uk/…/last-night-a-speed-date-changed-my… MONDAY 27th / pm GUYS- https://uk/…/guys-last-night-a-speed-date-chang…
She could have been improvising bawdy limericks or outlining a 9-9-9 economic plan for all I was paying attention: frankly, this is the point in the story where your intrepid reporter’s journalistic professionalism wavered. ” The guy next to me leaned over then and pointed to the book he had brought: as well. Rather, most of us preferred to discuss the obvious: how odd it was to be speed-dating, how we didn’t normally do things like speed-date, how speed-dating as a concept was antithetical to our personalities, how we weren’t even really, like, looking for romance anyway. This was not just a collection of literary-minded people smugly seeking other literary-minded people to delicately paw at, but rather a case of just people seeking people.
I held the book I had brought for the occasion in my shaking hands, and began to fill with deep, existential dread, for I had brought "Catch-22" and realized all of a sudden that I remembered almost none of it. People seeking connection, as people are wont to do.
“It’s like, funny, and uh, kinda sad at parts.” I waited for the eye-roll. This night, people came for the atmosphere, for the conversation, for the possibility of finding love, or a new friend at least, for the free chocolate, for the champagne, for the story.
Everyone was looking for something different to take away from the night. And though I did not leave the Strand Bookstore that night with any newfound love interest, I walked out into the brisk Manhattan air, book in hand, feeling not at all lonely.
All types of girls - young, old, curvaceous, willowy, bespectacled, un-bespectacled (is that a word? You are encouraged to talk about only the book you have brought to discuss.” Then, she added, with a faint hint of accusation in her tone, “Men: do not attempt to contact the women. I repeat: do not contact the women.” Literary Speed Dating is, evidently, a hot-zone for unwanted advances.
Looking around, feeling lost for about the 10,000th time since moving to this monstrous city, I began to question myself.
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MONDAY 27th of March // pm at the The Book Club GUYS: https://uk/…/guys-last-night-a-speed-date-chang… H&L met on our night at The Book Club on march 2016 Our next events: https://uk/search…