When an e-mail about a speed dating night at Anna’s Taqueria appeared in our inbox, we knew we had to set someone on it—the most obvious choice being Kris Jenson, burrito lover, film critic, single man, stud. For moral support, we sent Missadventerous dating columnist Liz Casey to join him. Here are their takes.
There’s only so many times you can point out the fallacy of dating in all its forms—blind, online, double, speed—before you sound like that jackass who insists the moon landing was a hoax. Yeah, the shadows in that photo look vaguely weird, but if you’d just pipe down and listen to yourself for one minute, you’d realize just how wrong you are and that you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.
So it was in this spirit of willingly shutting the fuck up that I took a chance on Anna’s TALKeria, the first in what may turn out to be a series of speed dating events one of Boston’s most beloved burrito chains.
For an oft-single burritophile like me, it was perfect. Right off the bat, I’d already know something my dates and I have in common: We’re single and we like the same food.
And if I strike out, hey, free burritos.
I was shocked at how much fun I had. As much as the pretense of dating can get tiring—covering up your flaws, wearing clothes you hate, dancing around the fact that you’re taking part in what’s essentially a mating ritual—speeding up the whole thing actually brings it down to earth.
Was it embarrassing? Sure. Did I have fun? Oh yeah. Will I be seeing anyone again? About that … one of the sponsors of the event, the “professional wingman,” made that part difficult when he specifically told the women not to approach the men, eliciting numerous complaints from the folks I started talking to. Way to kill chemistry through imposing awkward gender roles, buddy.
But for every great thing, there’s the awkward first time that you kill by over-thinking it.
If Anna’s TALKeria could get a bum like me off my ass and into the ring, it’s definitely onto something.
So Liz, how’d I do?
I’ve finally experienced nearly every kind of dating scenario. Well, sort of. This week, Kris Jenson and I decided to take Anna’s TALKeria speed dating event by storm as a dating duo—Kris the swinging, burrito eating bachelor, and me, the dating advice-dispensing wing woman.
While I stood by awkwardly eating my free burrito and chatting with participants before the official said dates, I became aware of the relaxed and almost social-hour like atmosphere. It felt more like a freshman college icebreaker event than an adult speed-dating one. Time to check in with Kris.
Me: How are ya feeling stud?
Kris: The closest I’ve come to speed dating is watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
I feel at home here (Anna’s), I mean, look at my card! I eat a lot of burritos.
Kris, in fact, is a card-carrying member of another burrito chain, consuming between 1-3 burritos a week.
Me: Are you nervous?
Kris: A little bit, I guess.
“I suppose I’m looking for a burrita to my burrito.”
There you have it, folks. Kris is open to finding his small female donkey.
And just like that, the speed dating commenced. Thomas Edwards, the “Professional Wingman” of the evening, went over the instructions, and told everyone to relax, since the dates would be more group talks, rather than one-on-ones. The participants shuffled around, and as the women outnumbered the men, a third section of women for each round formed in the middle of the tables, waiting to sit down with the men. The scene struck me as odd, specifically because I don’t remember any rules about it being strictly hetero-speed dating.
“No, I didn’t ask for any numbers. I felt like I would have been akin to the guy from MadTV who incessantly bothers women for their phone numbers until they give in. I gave out my business card instead.”
Based on my observations, I thought there was an interested lady present. I peeled away from Kris mid-sentence while she looked at him expectantly, hoping my smooth moves went undetected.* Talking later after the event, it was looking more like business card city.
Overall, it was a great event to benefit a great cause, with all proceeds going toward Casa Myrna and its mission to end domestic and dating violence.
Through the awkward pauses and shoveling of free burritos into hungry mouths, most participants stated they were happy they had finally tried it. Plus, burritos.
*I’m not in fact smooth, at all.