Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Singles Night in Seattle

Last night, I journeyed out to a single's meetup in Seattle. I have been a member of this singles meetup group for a couple months but had not ventured out to any of their meetups yet because I didn't know anybody and felt a bit shy when seeing how many people were going to show up. I figured it was something I should be taking another single friend along with me but I don't have many single friends.

What changed? Well this meetup was special in that it was meant for only newbies, or people that had not been to 3 or more meetups with the group yet. So I felt if there was ever a time to go, it would be then. Be introduced to how the group works and how each meetup probably works.

I had RSVPed for this about a month ago and when I looked at it the day of, I realized for the first time that it was in Seattle. Seattle at 6pm? How the heck was that supposed to work. I did NOT want to be stuck in traffic for an hour. I was tempted to call it off and just not go but near the end of the day, I decided I would just do it....but I would take the bus. There happens to be a bus route 5 blocks down from my apartment that goes straight into downtown Seattle. So I got some cash out for bus fair and headed out, book in hand.

On the bus, I mostly read my book or looked out the window but more than once, I noticed different people looking at me with a look on their face that said they might know I was trans. I just ignored it though. When I got off the bus, I walked a few blocks (thank God I changed out of my heels and skirt) to the pub where the meetup was taking place. I had arrived right around 6pm. Yay for buses!

I walked in, unsure of where to go. I didn't see any signs so I continued into the bar and found a section of the bar with a sign that said "Seattle Singles". I breathed a sigh of relief. I had found it. The lady handed me a drink ticket and I used it at the bar to get a glass of pineapple juice. Then I went over to the name tag table and made myself a name tag. I looked around, there were probably 15 or so people there at that point in time and they were all sectioned off in groups of 3 and 4, talking. Some were at tables, others were standing at the bar.

I made my way to one of the tables and asked if the empty seat was taken, they said not at all and motioned for me to join them. I was briefly introduced to 2 guys and 1 girl and I introduced myself. We chatted for a bit about my name because they hadn't heard it before. They asked me where it came from and I said I didn't really know but that I knew it was fairly unique and I liked that. I of course couldn't tell them that I picked it out myself lol. I made a mental note to look up what my name meant (and I did: "Strong and gifted ruler").

We chatted for a while, getting to know each other, what each person did for a living, etc. One guy did tech support, the girl was in the mortgage industry, etc. I explained that I was a software developer and of course everyone was surprised....they always are surprised to meet a female developer. It's just very rare in this industry. I do usually make the comment that I am the only female developer at my work. And I did mention (and I think only the girl at the table heard me) that I was thinking of going back to school for psychology or maybe cosmetology. She said she had gone to school for cosmetology too but never used it but she thought it was great.

Apparently there was a game planned that half the people (including me) didn't know about where you bring a picture of yourself as a baby and then people have to guess which one is you or something. I only bring this up because at one point during the conversation, a lady from another table leaned over and held up a picture of a baby boy and asked the guys at our table if it was either of them. At the time, i hadn't realized she wasn't asking everyone at the table (babies look sometimes genderless) so when I said "no" to the lady, she said "of course not you, hun. it's a boy!" . That kind of made me smile to myself.

We continued conversation and one of the guys left and an older guy sat down and started talking to me and the other girl at the table. He kept chatting it up with the other girl while the food was brought out (free buffet). I glanced at the food and didn't see anything gluten free so I didn't consider going over there. Then the girl at my table turned to me and said "do you want to get something to eat?" and I said, sure. We walked over there and got in line and she mentioned that she had just wanted to get away from the older gentleman that was chatting her up. We both giggled at that and made slight comments to each other here and there. I ended up getting a "slider" burger and just eating the burger portion (ditching the buns) when we got back to the table.

The older guy left at some point and the other guy at the table left and came back with his roommate who joined us at our table. When I first met him, the look on his face was the one I'm used to when someone has read me. We continued talking though but periodically through the night, I felt like the look on his face was one that showed that he knew.....it wasn't one of disappointment or even dread...something else, but it was there. But his roommate and I continued to chat it up a bunch and even got into talking about the "Wheel of Time" series (a fantasy series by Robert Jordan). The guy I was talking to said something about how he hadn't met many other people who had read it and I think the unsaid thing was "many girls that had read it".

So the night was winding down and yet the place was getting packed. There were at least 100 people there and if you didn't have a table, you were standing up pressed against people, talking to other people. I was content to just stay at the table and chat with the people I had met, rather than try to go meet more people and the guys at the table felt pretty much the same. The girl finally went off to meet more people and I continued chatting with the same guy, the only guy that I thought I'd be interested in seeing again. At some point, I mentioned i needed to find out where my bus would pick me up and when and he pulled out his iPhone and pulled up the transit app and found for me where I needed to go and that it would be there in 11 minutes. I felt kind of funny, knowing I had my iPhone and the very same app on it in my purse but I let him do it. =)

I told them I had better get going then. Him and his roommate kind of looked at me disappointed that I was leaving, as I put my hoodie on. I said goodbye and walked away thinking I should have asked for that guy's number or given him mine.

The bus going home was much less crowded and there weren't really enough people to even consider anyone looking at me. I just got back to my book for the trip. When I arrived home, I logged onto meetup.com and found the guy I had met (by his first name) and sent him a message. We exchanged phone numbers later on and might meet up again sometime, just us.

Overall, I was not very comfortable in the environment where I knew literally nobody. I am comfortable around a lot of people I know or maybe even kind of know but in a room full of people I didn't know at all, I was a bit on edge. I was glad to have found the table I did when I did and found some friendly people there. In truth, I probably will never go back to a meetup like that, too nerve wracking. But at least I met some cool people and for the most part felt comfortable as myself.

4 comments:

Petra Bellejambes said...

Big night! Singles meet-ups take nerve and determination for everyone Debra, and apart from the long bus trip you have reasons on top of the typical ones.

I therefore salute you for braving the ride and throwing yourself into the mix. It all seemed to go really well, and really, it can only get better, right?

Thanks for sharing,


xxoo - Petra

Violet.X8 said...

Cool....you got a number out of it..... good for you:-)

Stace said...

Well done for going, sounds like quite a step. Esp taking such a long bus ride to get there.

Good luck with the number,
Stace

Kev said...

Hey, this didn't sound too bad. I know such meetups aren't my style either, but you meet at least one person that was worth going all the way to Seattle.
I hope he will be a very kind and open minded person. Tell him, if he treats you wrong I will come all the way up there and kick him in the nuts. Hehe.
This is the part I'd fear most, getting to know somebody and having to "let them in" on being trans. Do you have any idea how to preceed?
Well, it's early for that.
I hope it works out :o)

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