To the guy I left standing on stage alone:
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Hi. Iím really sorry I left you standing on stage alone and ran outside and hid by the doorway outside while the announcer asked people to check the bathroom for me. I just couldnít take it anymore.
See, I have this friend who is bound and determined to find a man (and let me tell you, thereís nothing men love so much as an air of desperation), and so sometimes I end up doing things I donít really want to do. So, when on a Tuesday night she suggested to me that we try speed dating I said no. She said that no one would ever see me, and I pointed out to her that I teach, and have about 200 students, so the chances of someone seeing me were better than for most people. Then she said give them homework on Tuesday so that they stay home that night and please please come and itíll be fun and at the very least entertaining and Iíll pay for you...and I finally, reluctantly, agreed.
So we go to this speed dating thing, and Ė as an aside - somebody please explain to me why on online dating services men outnumber women 100 to 1, but real life singles events are stocked with anxious 30something women with good jobs and a few, awkward men? In any case, there are more men than women, and the people who run the event start pulling bartenders and dishwashers and whatnot to fill the guy slots. So, basically, at this point itís already pretty humiliating when a skinny 17 year old who already has a girlfriend and a 48 year old bartender with a beer belly and a PBR shirt are part of the speed date event and are being looked at hungrily by a crowd of desperate women, but whatever, I was already there, so I go ahead with it.
Then things get really bad. Camera crews from, what I can tell, ALL the local TV stations show up. I, coincidentally, am seated at the end of the table, and they decide this would be a dandy place to film. The way this fine event works is the women stay seated and the men move down one seat every 7 minutes or so, so, lucky me, I get to stay in my seat with bright lights shining on my face and four cameras at about eye level and big microphones hanging over my head. This is good times. I sit there and make inane small talk from of list of stupid suggested questions (What would you bring to a dessert island?) with a series of strange men Ė one who actually and truly had pencils in his front pocket Ė I even made a joke about it Ė which he didnít get, go figure Ė as I try to hide my profile from the cameras with my head down and my hand on my forehead. Seven minutes times 10 men is a really really long time.
So in any case, after all this, when you and I won gift certificates to some restaurant, and they called you up to the stage, and I then heard them calling my name, and looked over to see the camera crews hustling over to film this new turn of events, I panicked and ran outside. I stood out there as they called my name over and over again and sent someone to look for me in the womenís bathroom and just couldnít bring myself to go back inside. I ended up calling my friend on her cell from the sidewalk and telling her to come back outside and refusing to go back in.
I havenít watched the local news since. Iím too scared.
So, sorry for leaving you up on stage. I hope you understand.