In one of my many adventures as an organizer of a social group I found myself at Insomnia, a trendy lounge in downtown Toronto a few weeks ago next to someone who was wearing a shirt that read: “Remember my name, because you will be screaming it later.”
Never having even heard that comment before, I could not restrain myself from commenting on it: “Very funny,” I said with a hint of friendly sarcasm in my voice. Then asked if it ever worked. “It worked while I was in Vancouver” he responded.
He was funny and he didn’t strike me as the shy type. Actually he seemed like the type who would benefit from a little shyness.
We quickly got into conversation. The usual thing you would talk to a stranger at a bar. He had just moved to Toronto from aforementioned Vancouver –hated the weather, by the way—and he had just gotten a new job at a computer firm. My job as a computer analyst gave us more than a few things in common but being a Friday, we non-verbally agreed not to speak about our jobs. ‘So what else do you do?’
Ah…here is where things got interesting.
“A have a side business…” he said before continuing.
“I am just starting it.”
I could tell he was hesitating. It was understandable, I was a complete stranger and we had talked for less than five minutes. He reached in his jeans and pulled a business card and handed over to me. The main caption read ‘Enlightened Heart.’ Printed in calligraphy not much different than what you would find on a turn of the 1800’s cover of a Harlequin novel.
His name was below this. Wha?
‘I teach shy people how to get women.’
‘Really?’ I said without disguising the doubt in my voice.
‘What are your credentials?’
Then I read the back of the card, it read ‘Personal life and relationship mentor,’ and an uplifting quote regarding being able to get what you want out of life. I asked if he was any good with the ladies. No answer, just a sheepish smile.
‘If so, why come out to my social group?’ I asked.
Bruck. At least he was honest.
‘You know,’ I said, ‘ I give a lot of free advise. Doing it for over a decade now. Heck, you could say that I am giving away the business for free.’
‘The world is not short of misguided people.’ He said.
God, did I know that to be right. He made me think: What if I have gotten five dollars for every time I helped someone hook up with their crush? Ten for every time I set someone up? And, what if I charged by the hour for the long nights spent over the phone telling a friend who had just been dumped that he\she would be fine until four o’clock in the morning? Holy mother lode! Perhaps this guy was onto something.
From then on we jumped head first into many theories regarding dating and the mating dance. I have to admit, he had some good points regarding how to approach a woman: the avoiding of pickup lines at all costs, the importance of attitude over looks and other general things. Even though we came from different sides of the fence, which is understandable since points of views a based on experience. It was still interesting to see the similarities and not so similar takes on the opposite sex. Either way, “the scene” is biased towards the shy and the timid.
By the way, did I mention that there was a lady sitting practically between ‘Dale’ and me? Listening to everything we had said and I have to admit she did not seem very impressed with either of us. Not that we were being lewd, but I think she did not appreciate two guys trying to suck the romanticism out of romanticism by making it sound like some sort of hard science. By the way, Dale, if you ever read this, I am giving you free advertising, so don’t come complaining.
On a related note, haven’t seen it yet, but ‘Hitch,’ a recent summer movie starting Will Smith touches on the same subject. Men helping other men meet women, for a price… Generally, when Hollywood zeroes in on a subject, it is already at least six months too late to be on the edge of anything controversial. However, it is fascinating how ‘the scene’ has changed in the last decade. As roles and expectations evolve due to economics, social standards and with feminism inching forward, men may find themselves at a loss. Let’s not forget to add services and venues such as the internet and speeding dating just to mention a few which push the mainstream envelope on how people meet people, its is no surprise a few of us may turn to some sort of guidance to navigate the urban jungle.
A few hours later, Dale said he had another party to attend to but that he was glad that the dropped by. I knew he was in fact networking for his business but told him he was welcome to drop by anytime. After all I am the organizer of a social group.
’So is this what he really does?’ A girl in my group asked me at the end of the night after studying his business card.
‘So it seems,” I said.
‘Strange, he seemed kinda quiet.’