For two hours, scores of women paraded in front of me like a Golden Corral buffet. The same scent of desperation and loneliness that characterizes actual speed dating events on TV permeated the air. But the truth is there are two events looming in the distance that are going to happen whether I like it or not. Second, my own best friend, whose existence in my life is inextricably linked to my time in DC, is leaving town.
People get married. They have. Priorities shift, and suddenly friendship starts to seem like a luxury, maybe even a waste of time that is now in ever shorter supply. How ironic that falling in one kind of love has the ability to make us lose another.
The best dating apps, according to a dc matchmaker
DC is a city known for its impermanenceand our social infrastructure seems to be built for loneliness, or at least intimacy with an expiration date. The rules of the friend speed dating event were simple. After that, a bell would ring, and the women sitting on the inside would rotate to their right, while those on the outside stayed still. Rinse and repeat.
I may not have had a desire to see anyone naked, but I did discover that, much like dating, friendship is predicated on chemistry, something I did not feel with the majority of women rotating my way. One woman, in true DC fashion, treated our exchange like a networking opportunity. Finally, after half a dozen exchanges that were either painful or painfully ordinary, I met someone with potential.
I have my eye on one as a livestock crime investigator. By the end of the evening, I found myself taking on the role that men have traditionally adopted, racking my brain for activities to suggest and clever pickup lines to try out. Should I ask for her phone ?
Or was that too needy? Should I find an activity to do and follow up in a few days instead?
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When the event finally ended, I took a look around the room and decided on the last option. The only thing I wanted to rush was my commute home.
But then something unexpected happened. Locked in with a dozen or so other women in the all-female dormitory I was housed in, left with nothing to do but play board games in the common area, I made eye DC friends dating with another resident over a game of Apples to Apples.
We both laughed at a slightly inappropriate joke, the only ones in the room to do so. It only lasted for a second, but it was enough. But her room was only a few doors down from mine, and most nights after work I could expect to hear a soft knock on my door. But she understood my need for privacy, and she kept coming back. We stayed in touch when we both left to finish up our undergraduate degrees, and she talked me off ledges and through breakdowns in the post-collegiate quarter-life crises we millennials sometimes go through.
When the time came, we both agonized over whether we should move back to DC and leave our hometowns behind permanently — the biggest risk either of us had ever taken. She went first, taking a job on the Hill, while I applied for graduate school.
File this one under #hotvaxxsummer.
When I moved back more than two years after we DC friends dating met, she was the one to pick me up from the airport, to welcome me back, welcome me home. This time, we had no physical hallways to connect us, no natural proximity to tie us together. We lived on completely opposite sides of the city, to the point that overnight bags were sometimes required to see each other on the weekend. Hell, Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert went so far as to actually fall in love with her best friend. And when we lose them, they are not so easy to replace.
I met a few women for drinks in a small group, followed up with brunch a couple of weeks later, and, in a move meant to garner greater intimacy, spent one Friday night at a concert with the one woman I felt most connected to, the one who vowed to compete with me for title as livestock crime investigator.
Funny, smart, interesting, successful.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with them. And yet it felt forced, our attempts to manufacture the kind of intimacy that typically takes years to form. When I met my new friend at the concert, just the two of us, we had a great time.
As we both prepared to brave the cold, the threat of snow once again tingeing the air, all I could sense was potential, and the uncertainty that we would ever do anything with it. Eva Harder is a writer in Washington, DC. Since she could always use more friends and followersfind her on Twitter HarderNews. First Person is Vox's home for compelling, provocative narrative essays. Do you have a story to share?
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That’s a dream of every friends fan!
I did speed dating — for friendship. Then I realized meeting people is the easy part. Reddit Pocket Flipboard. I have friends.
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