Desi speed dating is tonight, at a bar near Rohit and Meera’s apartment.
When I arrive at the event I find the men huddled around the TV and the women in the back chatting. Immediately I am reminded of the Indian dinner parties I attended as a kid. The aunties used to gather in the kitchen cooking dinner and knitting sweaters. In the living room, the uncles told stories and drank Johnny Walker Black. We kids hid in the basement, girls to one side and boys to another. Flash-forward to now, and we continue to segregate along gender lines. Are we our parents?
After we all check in, the organizer explains how the rotation process works and the dating begins.
Date One: is heavily accented, does not smile or find me funny.
Date Two: wears a suit one size too big and says, “I suppose you’re like the other girls and want a doctor.” I reply, “if I wanted a doctor, I should hang out in an ER, don’t you think?” He laughs, grabs his drink and misses his mouth. “Why aren’t you married?” he demands. OUCH! I didn’t ask him about the drinking problem he so clearly has. “Because I was concentrating on work and grad school. And now I’m ready to focus on other life decisions,” I reply. “Life decisions, is that girl code for marriage?” he sneers. I don’t know if he’s belligerent or insecure, but this eight minute date is lasting a lifetime.
I happen to look up and spot Meera and Rohit sneaking into the bar. I told them I was here but never expected to see them. Are they seriously going to watch?
Date Three: nurses a Scotch and is a freshly fresh FOB (fresh off the boat). He sits down and WOW does he smell like funk and ketchup. He should rethink wearing a polyester shirt. It’s trapping the stink of his body odor at the table and I can’t hold my breath for eight minutes. “Do you bhangra dance?” he asks. “Yes,” I reply and practice nose breathing. “We should go some time,” he suggests. Not until he masters Speed Stick.
At the end of the dates I’m relieved to see friendly faces and go the bar. “How was it?” Meera asks. “My choices are Moody, Drunky or Stinky.” The bartender (a woman) hears me, laughs and sets a glass of red wine in front of me. “So I’m sticking with single tonight,” I reply. “For now, I agree,” Rohit says in his big brother voice.