I finally decided to save myself from the dating drought and try something different.  The online thing wasn’t working, so I signed up for a service that brings 4 men and 4 women together for dinner.  With my past of competing for attention from men …

… the idea of me rivaling with three other women for the attention of four men seems like asking for trouble.  But the good thing was that I was going into the situation with increased awareness.

I arrived at the restaurant at the appointed hour, instead of my usual ten minutes early.  None of the multiple restaurant hosts could tell me anything of the whereabouts of my dinner companions.  A few of the other seven had arrived but they couldn’t tell me where they were.  After searching around the bar area I located two of the guys.

It’s amazing how much power one woman can have over two men.  I decided that we should go to the upstairs bar and they willingly followed.  They were both vying for my attention – asking me lots of questions and trying to be the first to get me a wine list. I actually felt uncomfortable.  It’s hard to carry on a conversation with two people you don’t know who each have an agenda.  The questions that the two of them were asking me weren’t making the conversation flow easily, and it was hard to turn the questions back to each of them to solicit answers from them, thus making conversation.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a lovely petite raven-haired woman approach our group.  I wasn’t only one who noticed her. Jay, the guy on my left, ripped his eyes from me and glued them to her.  The old Kate would have been pissed, but the new me actually found it amusing.  His behavior was so obvious, and very male.  I was so relieved when she joined our group.  The awkwardness of the conversation was now directed towards her.

Slowly the others arrived – each of us introducing ourselves.  One guy came up and introduced himself to the petite woman directly to my right, but completely ignored me.  I was completely turned off by his behavior, but to be polite I introduced myself.  He told me his name and then didn’t speak to me again.  Finally we sat down for dinner to get to know one another.  If I hadn’t suggested that we sit boy-girl, we probably would have sat 4-girls on one side and all 4-boys on the other.  Out of habit we tend to seek the companionship and acceptance of members of our own sex.  Several others gave nervous laughter to my suggestion, but all arranged themselves accordingly.

Now this service claims that its purpose is to introduce people so they can make new friends and business acquaintances.  The truth is that we were all there to meet someone of the opposite sex.  But the hilarious thing is that the person I was most interested in talking with was one of the other women – the raven-haired looker who stole my companions’ attention.  Kim was interesting, well-dressed and likeable – someone I would want as a friend.  All of the guys around the table were nice, but not dating material.

Jay spent the whole night spewing random psycho-babble.  James was exorcising his anxiety with nervous rocking.  Ray, the youngest of the men, was over-eager in his attempts to get to know the girls.  And then there was Brian, the one who rudely ignored me when he arrived.  He spent the whole evening checking the baseball scores on his cell phone between insulting various ethnic groups and making bad jokes.  Very annoying.

For me the evening was a total bust in the opposite sex department.  I had more fun watching the others navigate and play the “dating game.”  Seeing how the guys approached conversation with the women and how the women, all desperately single between the ages of 30-40, were trying to figure out if the men were “marriage material” was amusing.  It was like I had my own little dating Petri dish – studying the middle-aged single dating animal in the wild.

The cynic in me wanted to stand on the chair to point and laugh at all of their pathetic attempts to feel out the opposite sex.  I was so done with the game at that point.  At the end of the dinner, which lasted about a half hour longer than I think it should have, I graciously shook hands with the others and said “nice meeting you.”  My acute sense of observation told me that none of the others had made a “match” either.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again … so I will be attending another dinner later this month.  Fingers crossed the others will be interesting to me and I to them.