Adventures in Indy"s single scene "May as well go home - as I did on my own - alone again. Naturally Ö" -Gilbert O"Sullivan Be assured. The wrong sappy love song will always play in the wrong place at the wrong time. In my case, the wrong time was the dinner hour. The wrong place? Cruising down Meridian Street in my car, the radio blaring.

I"m beginning to believe that nothing is a more honest inventory of where you are in life at any given moment than your reaction to a pop song invading your radio. Pop music is a direct assault on that part of your brain reserved for whatever issue is currently making you hyper-sensitive. And, that night, as I bolted down Meridian scanning the airwaves, it was pop music that reminded me AGAIN that I am single. Always single. Very single. And I"m sick of it. (At least I think I am. I mean, aren"t I supposed to be sick of it?) As luck would have it, though, I was driving in the right direction as I lamented my singlehood. I, Molly Martin, was taking the boyfriend bull by the horns and hitting the Indy singles scene. Heading downtown amidst a barrage of three-minute pop songs, I was en route to a barrage of 40 three-minute dates. FastDaters, Inc. was waiting for me: Bachelorette No. 18. Now, I must confess that I reflect on my venture into speed dating with much more confidence than I actually had at the time. I drove the entire way to the FastDaters party with my hands glued at 2 and 10. I dreamed of freak accidents that could keep me from having to line up with 60 other people between the ages of 25 and 40 and profess to the dating world: "I have had so little luck finding a date of my own volition that I am now hiring complete strangers to do it for me. Thank you." But no such luck. Because someone "up there" thinks he"s HI-larious, I even found a parking space at Circle Centre about 10 times as quickly as I usually do. So I had no choice but to remind myself not to act like a dithering idiot, yank up the ol" thigh-highs and dash into the FastDaters, Inc. party. Do you choo-choo-choose me? As I sashayed into the FastDaters party (by "sashayed" I mean "tripped over the toe of my own boot") I realized that I was in over my head. There was a line of about 20 people trying desperately to get to the registration table, pay their admission, head downstairs and start pre-procreatin". Why are they so fired up to get in, I wondered? Aren"t they even a wee bit nervous? Then I got the eerie feeling that I was being watched. The registration table was conveniently located Ö right in the middle of the goddamned dining room. If you were among the "regular" diners at the restaurant where the event was being held, you could sit back - your DATE by your side - and stare through the glass partition at the sad single people swimming and squirming by in their aquarium of defeat. If you were waiting to be signed in as a FastDater, you could loudly ask, "Oh? This isn"t the line for the bathroom? Silly me! I"m not single!" and try to slip downstairs unnoticed. Anyway, I swallowed my pride, signed in and walked down the stairs to start my new life as Bachelorette No. 18. As I walked into the party, I noticed four things: Nametags, nametags everywhere and not a drop to drink (Oh wait Ö THERE"s the bar); All of these people looked a hell of a lot like me and my friends; ý la junior high dance, the boys and girls had aligned themselves by gender; and, finally Ö Everyone had stopped chatting to look at me. The new kid. It was the third most disconcerting moment of my life (the first two involved rollerskates and a fifth of Jack Daniels, respectively). I quickly came to understand, though, that the awkward silence-upon-entry was simply the first step in the FastDating gauntlet. The second was just about to begin. Basically, the evening worked like this: The women sat at their designated station while the men rotated from foxy lady to foxy lady. You spent three minutes playing Mystery Date and then, when the MC called, "Time!" the guys moved on to another table. At the end of each "date," each person circled YES or NO next to their date"s number. This part of the drill is key; it dictates the outcome of the whole event. Should you say "Yes" to someone who also says "Yes" to you, you"re a match (you"ll find out when your speed dating gurus e-mail you your "results"). The entire evening, all that came to mind was that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa gives Ralph a Valentine card with a smiling train chugging across the front, saying, "Do you choo-choo-choose me?" I began to panic. Would the right guys choo-choo-choose me? What if the wrong ones choo-choo-choose me and I circle the wrong number, choo-choo-choosing them, too? All while Bachelorette No. 23 waltzes her chippie-ass out the door with MY rightful FastDate?!?! This is why I don"t date, I thought. Too stressful. But as the evening rolled along (and two glasses of Merlot rolled down my throat), the stress subsided and I began to have a blast. The event was packed with intelligent, sweet, successful, attractive people. And if you"re asking yourself, "If they"re so great, why aren"t they already betrothed?" the answer is simple: The minute you can"t toss someone a come-hither look across bio lecture, it becomes a hell of a lot harder to meet people. Most of the folks I met that night had the same stories to tell: medical residents who barely had time to sleep most days much less hit the bars mining for chicks; a successful farmer who didn"t exactly meet interesting women every time he rounded a silo; a photojournalist/lawyers/a teacher/cops/doctors/students/an EMT - all too busy to go trolling for mates. By the end of the night, I discovered that my fellow FastDaters made up just as impressive a "talent pool" as you"re likely to find at any bar - probably moreso - and while by the end of the night I swore vengeance and fiery death against any person who EVER uttered the words "I"ve never done anything like this before" to me again - I was glad I"d taken a chance on speed dating. Advice for the lovelorn If you"re considering attending a speed dating event in your area, I offer the following advice from a veteran bachelorette: Do not rehearse a list of 18 questions to rattle off at a lightning pace the second you sit down with your date; you"ve got just three minutes, but this isn"t the final round of Press Your Luck. Do not flop down in the chair across from any woman (much less ME) and proclaim, "Oh! YOU"RE the one with the rack!" (It didn"t work, stud.) When you receive your FastDate matches and, possibly, set up real dates (the kind that exceed three minutes and involve purported/denied sexual expectations) keep in mind that it may be unfair to plan extravagant outings (rafting the Amazon) right off the bat. As you plan your first meeting, be mindful as well of your personal safety. For instance, don"t suggest meeting in some dark, damp alley where "no one"s turned up flayed in, like, six years." So, Indy singles: Why not follow my example, fork over your reasonable admission fee and give speed dating a chance? It can"t kill you to try. I mean, unless "It" is named "Stabby" and its first stop after busting out of Joliet is your neighborhood speed dating party. But why waste time worrying when there"s speed dating to be done? ResourcesExplore FastDater, Inc. online at

http://www.fastdater.com/Indianapolis/index2.php

or call 1-317-440-7543. NOTE: FastDaters events are held frequently and for different age ranges. Upcoming FastDaters, Inc. parties include one on Feb. 24 in Indy (visit the Web site to reserve a slot). Other speed dating services in Indy: Couple Minutes -

http://www.coupleminutes.com/index-indy.asp

Indiana Speed Date -

http://www.indianaspeeddate.com/

Other Resources in Indy: It"s Just Lunch -

http://www.itsjustlunch.com/htdocs/Locations/Indianapolis.html

Online Resources - Indy: Learn about singles events in Indy at

http://www.indylinks.com/ Indianapolis_Singles/

Online Personals & Matchmaking: Yahoo Personals -

http://personals.yahoo.com/

Match.com -

http://match.com/

-MM

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