Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, June 20

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Bucket List Fri Jan 20 2012

Chicago Bucket List: Surviving and Thriving at Singles Events in Chicago

Previous Entry:Wholehearted Living
Next Entry: A Dance Experiment

Bucket List #27: Go to Singles Event because being awkward never killed anyone outright (really a 2011 "to do" carry over)

Singles events terrify me; partially because I fear my attendance will destroy my carefully crafted Carrie-Bradshaw-esque-fakesona of the chic dating columnist who just loves shoes, pink martinis and being single. What I mean to say is I don't want to look like a complete loser especially to anonymous internet readers.

But the majority of my distaste for singles events has to do with the inherent aversion I have to awkwardness and feeling horribly, depressingly, foreverly alone. I'm not sure how it is possible but attending a singles event, with a roomful of similarly unattached people, seems like the loneliest thing you can do.

So I've avoided nuts and bolts parties because of the clich├ęd awkwardness they are sure to bring as someone asks to stick his bolt in my nut. But, after meeting the founder of a Chicago-created singles event called MeSoFar at a Gapers Block party, I had a slight moment of revelation, (I know I'm just full of revelations this year): dating does not have to be this painful experience everyone suffers through alone; it doesn't have to be a phase in your life you drunkenly date through attempting to end single status as soon as possible by settling on the first normal online dater who pays for dinner and doesn't have any obvious STDs; being single can be enjoyable.

That is the thought behind MeSoFar; being single is just part of your story, part of you so far. The monthly singles event puts 10 singles on stage and gives them 6 minutes to tell their stories through a series of slides. Slides show everything from the presenters' favorite hangover movies to screen shots of their credit card statement to their hopes and ambitions. It is kind of like the Moth, with slides, where the theme is always "Single and Ready to Mingle."

In the audience are 50 more singles listening to stories, hearing their own stories reflected back to them. I found myself thinking things like "I also will only use the lavender-scented Febreeze" and "I have also seen Clueless way more times than I will ever admit." Suddenly the whole "singles event" turned more into a storytelling event with everyone sharing their "this is me" story, whether on stage or during mingling time.

After spending three months online, I had forgotten about the story behind the pixilated potential partners. I had narrowed down my search criteria to dangerously narrow requirements: looking for a man ages 28-29, height 5'10'' to 6'1'', within 1.2 miles of my zip code. I felt more like I was searching for a bargain condo instead of someone who made my insides quiver. Listening to people's stories reminded me that numbers lie; they make you feel certain about something with zero guarantee. But stories, or really authentic power points, give you an idea of who someone is beyond their numbers; their story makes you understand their love of indie bands, scented cleaning products and cab rides. And stories remind us that guarantees are not needed when you are talking about living life.

By the end of my dreaded single event, I felt more like I had just completed a how to not be a "sad sap single" seminar. By telling their stories, these singles got over the ridiculous singlism that hounds our every drunken bar interaction and got to some good shit about who they really are beyond their single status.

And all of it made me really think about my own story, and what I really want. Riding home in a gloriously easily hailed cab on Friday night, I had one of those authentically happy Chicago moments, you know, the ones you get when the city skyline comes into view as you round a corner on the el, or the one you get when you get a whiff of stale cigarettes, urine and lake when you walk outside your office on a hot summer day, those moments when you are just really happy to be here, now, in Chicago despite the fact that you are single, jobless or your pants are giving you a minor muffin top.
Riding home I had one of those blessed moments. The mix of grimy Ashland street lights, lovely fresh snow and the warm haze of red wine eyes made me just blissfully happy to be in that cab alone, in silence, enjoying all my singledom. It made me just blissfully aware of the fact that I am really good being me so far.

Who's Up for some chicken and porn?
It's time to start getting crackin' on this list folks! A few readers have expressed a desire to hit up the chicken and porn at Evil Olive so I thought why not make it the best pre-gamer to Valentines day ever! Join me on Feb 13th at Evil Olive as I check number four off my Bucket List and kick off Valentines Day 2012! Join the Facebook event!

Previous Entry:Wholehearted Living
Next Entry: A Dance Experiment

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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