First, let me start with my story. I met my husband working at a Christian summer camp when we were 19. We dated long distance for a little over 4 years before getting married at 23. I never experienced the whole “go to a bar to meet someone” occurrence during my dating years and have mainly learned through entertainment and social media. Plus, if I wasn’t currently married, I would be Liz Lemon.
I went out with a group of single women on Valentine’s Day this year and got a small glimpse into modern dating and found it both fascinating and entertaining.
To set the scene, I was visiting a friend from college (Anna) in Austin prior to a work event. She’s a travel nurse, so it was wonderful timing for her to be in Austin at the same time I was going to be there! The plan was to go dancing, so we loaded up the car with Anna, her mom, Carol (her mom’s friend), and Allie (her neighbor) and went to The Domain.
Unfortunately, the usual dance class was having some sort of Valentine’s special for couples. When we got there, the pairs were learning the choreography to “Time of my Life” from Dirty Dancing. As entertaining as it would have been to see them get to the lift at the end, we decided to find another hangout spot for the evening.
We ended up at The Punchbowl – a bar/restaurant that also has arcade and table games. The table games (foosball, ping pong, virtual reality games, etc) you had to pay for by the hour, so we opted for some arcade games. While we were racing Mario characters, Anna’s mom and friend gained an admirer at the bar named Mark. He offered to treat us to foosball, so we accepted.
It was a giant table – 4 people per side, so we played the 30 & unders versus the over-30s. This is when I got to observe Mark trading his attention between Anna’s mom and her friend Carol. During a “team huddle” I asked Anna about this. “Wait – which one does he like? Is he eventually going to pick one? This is so fascinating to me!”
We proceeded to lose at foosball after keeping a relatively close game for the first half and then switched sides for a rematch. At some point during our rematch, we gained some onlookers. After losing the rematch (still bitter), our onlookers introduced themselves as part of the IT department for Amazon and said they wanted to play as well. They looked to be in their 20s and 30s, and this is when Mark turned into who I like to call Macho Mark.
He grabbed the foosball and told the group that the current game was on him, but he’d be happy to turn the ball back in if they wanted to get the next game. I definitely understand not wanting to pay for someone else’s game, but the way he made a show of it seemed unnecessary.
We contemplated leaving at this point. It was quite late (again – I’m Liz Lemon), plus it was Central time, making it even later for me.
But then it seemed rude to leave when they had just paid for another round of foosball, so we stayed. We were contemplating a guys versus girls matchup when Macho Mark came over and named himself the captain of our team and assigned each of us which section of the field we were responsible for. Apparently not paying for the game meant he was still playing?
Three of the four Amazon guys were not good at foosball. In fact, they were really bad. The one good guy switched to defense after we built up a substantial lead, or else the game would have been over much faster.
At some point, the Amazon team called Mark “Old Yeller.” Macho Mark, not to be outdone, retorted with, “Hey – you’re 4 single guys hanging out together on Valentine’s Day, and I’m with three chicks. I’ve already won.” Then he went on to mansplain to us how to play foosball. Cue my numerous eye rolls.
After we defeated the Amazonians, we declined to stay for another game even with bribes of drinks. Again – I’m Liz Lemon. Those carrots don’t work on me. We did stay long enough for a group photo, though! By this point I had already told Anna I would be writing a blog post about this evening, so I wanted a photo for posterity.
All in all, the evening was a very tame look into a life I’m not familiar with. I realize “glimpse into modern dating” is a bit exaggerated considering the events of the night, but I like it. It’s entertaining – just like my Valentine’s Day.