Gordon's Breakfast - 15
In the upstairs bar, where the lights have been suitably dimmed, there is a large group of people milling around. Even at first glance there are definitely more women than men. I think someone else had mentioned this. They seem to have trouble attracting guys along, but tickets for women are always sold out. Adam nudges me, smiling about this and then he whispers "fish in a barrel", I slap my forehead, oh brother, what am I doing here.
Standing by the bar are two women with clipboards who are dispensing name badges.
"I hate name badges did I mention that?"
"What you're a person not a badge?"
"No, nothing so ideological, it's just that my name is always spelled wrong."
Seriously, it's true, if I get a name badge it will inevitably say George, Graham or Gordan. Have you ever met anyone called Gordan? No, me neither.
"Don't worry you don't look like a George."
We collect our badges and it's worse than usual. I don't even see how it's possible as I look at the printed card and clear plaster holder.
"So what does it say?"
I show Adam my badge.
Adam finds this hilarious and is laughing out loud while I glumly stand there looking at it. I don't believe it. Okay, my parents obviously had a sense of humour, but not that much of one.
"I think that might be my fault."
"What did you do?"
"Well, when I filled in the form, I put you down as Gordo."
I raise my hands in the air in disbelief. How on earth could he do that?
"But why would you do that?" I ask him.
"Well to be fair, it is what we call you."
I shake my head, this is, of course, true.
"Look at it this way, you have a talking point."
"What that my parents were very, very strange people?"
"No I was thinking more like 'hey, I'm Godot, you're waiting is over."
"You know, I really think you would be much better off with this badge than me. You already have the corny lines and are prepared to use them on a first strike basis. You're a dangerous guy."
One of the women running the show calls everyone's attention and says that as there are more women than men tonight the men will be doing the moving around why the women stay seated. We're reminded that we only have three minutes.
"So make the most of it," she yodels.
The women shuffle off to the ring of tables and chairs positioned all the way around the room and the men hang back watching the women go.
"Anyone you noticed?" I ask Adam.
"Maybe one or two, but difficult to see really what with it being so dim in here."
"Yeah, what's with that?"
"No idea, anyway here we go."
The men are given numbers and ordered off to find the corresponding table. As soon as I sit down the woman I am to sit opposite, who is attractive'ish if red ringlets are your thing, she looks at me and sighs and a sour look spreads across her face like a setting sun. She seems to deflate in front of my very eyes, which to be honest is kind of off putting.
But she does have a point. Who needs three minutes?
"You're not my type," she says in flat nasal voice.
"Ditto," I say.
"So what are we going to talk about?" she asks me.
I look at her and really I want to say lets sit here and enjoy the silence, which seems appropriate considering our date ended about two seconds after I sat down. Worse than that we haven't even officially started yet. The women running the evening are still waiting for everyone to get settled. It's only now that they tell everyone to get started.
"Well why don't you tell me what you type is then?"
Oh really, I'm thinking. Of course he is. I mean why wouldn't he be? I wish I could leave it there, but before I know it my mouth has uncoupled itself from my brain and is talking. Oh boy.
"That's pretty optimistic of you," I say.
She looks at me with a face of thunder.
I nod at this. It seems a fair enough analysis, and we then sit there for two and a half minutes looking into space. Not, I should add, each other's space.
My next date is really no better. She gets the talking off to a rapid start, by starting quite clearly her aims and objectives.
"I work in TV and I'm a vegetarian. I'm only really interested in dating other people who work in TV and who are vegetarians."
I nod at this and smile, I read smiling makes your date feel more comfortable. Me? I'm all about the comfort.
"Do you work in TV?"
"Are you a vegetarian. I would settle for a vegetarian."
I like that, I mean come on, the girl would settle for a vegetarian.
"No, I'm a prolific meat eater. I also have no problem with McDonald's in moderation."
"McDonald's? I'm not sure we're that suited."
This did also seem to be a pretty astute piece of analysis. All wasn't lost though she thought my Godot badge was very amusing, but clearly her waiting period looked like it might be a bit longer.
As the musical chairs get started again they guys are all up trundling forward I look back to Adam who is coming up behind me and smile and shake my head. I almost walk in to the next table paying little attention as I am to where I'm going. Before I see her I'm thinking that it can not possibly get any worse, but right then it does. I can't tell you how furious I am.
"Susan," I say with my hands on my hips.
I stand there in front of her and don't even bother to sit down.
"Oh don't say it like that."
"Don't say it like that? That's rich, what are you doing here? After all of your pleas for me not to come?"
"I know I can't believe you came. That's so unfair. I wanted to keep it quiet. This is not the kind of thing that I would tell people I would do."
"But you're here."
"I know, and I'm a single cliché. Congratulations you've exposed me. I want a boyfriend what do you expect."
"A little honesty, that's what."
"Well, I'm not sure dating and honesty are totally compatible."
"I'll say, I don't believe, that's so underhanded and cheeky."
"Gord keep your voice down. You'll put people off."
"Gee wouldn't want to ruin your night."
"Look I'm sorry, what can I say? I thought it would be embarrassing."
"Oh yeah I bet, what me getting to see you at work?"
Susan puffs indignantly at this.
"I don't do 'at work', thank you very much."
"So who did you drag along?"
Susan smiles when I say this, which is disarming. By all rights she should not be smiling. I'm worried and I feel my upper hand, drenched in righteous indignation, start to slip away. I have a really bad feeling suddenly in the pit of my stomach.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
I try to peer ahead, but the next girl, is hidden behind a pillar. I wrack my brains for a second, but cannot think of anyone she would have bought with her who would allow her to show off such a smug smile.
"Not Charlotte, surely?"
"Don't be silly, you wouldn't find Charlotte here you idiot."
"So who is it?"
"Well, Gord it was difficult to find someone to come along. It's not like I have Adam who has to be held back."
"You've got to give it to him, the guy is one big keen positive attitude just raring to get stuck in."
And just about at that point our three minutes are up. I'm not sure I used them all that well.
"Oh hurry up Gord, now is my chance to meet some real boys."
"Funny, you've got Adam next."
"Oh that's nothing, wait until you see who you've got."
I eye her suspiciously hoping that she will give something away, but absolutely nothing.
"What have you done?" I ask her.
Susan gives me her best innocent look.
"Moi? I haven't done anything, this one is all down to you Gord."
As I move away from Susan and the table I am still wracking my brains, but really it's a total blank. Susan gives me a little wave.
"Oh you're funny," I say over my shoulder.