The club had an 80’s feel to it as the red lights accented the black, fake leather furniture. Even the bar was lit from behind with a red light making it look more like December than September. But, I didn’t come for the décor. I came to meet men. And, because the club was located auspiciously on Calle del Príncipe, I thought Lady Luck would definitely be on my side.
Once I entered, I walked towards the organizer at the bar who had a clipboard and a role of pink tickets. He explained to me, in Spanish, that I would have many citas rápidas that would last seven minutes. I smiled and said I was American who was learning Spanish. He smiled back at me said that is good because not many people speak English and handed me a pink drink ticket.
After I got a calimocho with my ticket, I walked to the back of the club to a group of women were waiting for the event to begin. I went up to a dark haired, petite woman who was wearing a shirt that said “Life is Beautiful.” Great, I thought, she must speak some English. We started speaking in Spanish and then quickly changed to English when I ran out of my small talk vocabulary.
The bell to begin rang and the women had to go to a table with a number. I took lucky number 7, which was a table and two chairs. Across the way, life was beautiful with the petite woman already talking to a man who sat down. But at my table, life could use some improving. My second chair was still empty.
The bell rang and then a man who appeared to be at least ten years out of the 30-40 range sat down with a big smile. “Hola,” he said. Seven minutes with man number one seemed like an eternity, especially when he switched from Spanish to English after I said I was American.
“I visit New York, yes” he said. “I help you with Spanish, you help me with English,” he smiled just as the bell rang to change.
Out of the thirteen men, two did not speak English or ask me to help them with English. When the night was over, I sent in my matches: the two men who did not speak English. The organizer wrote me back to see if I wanted to change my mind. I replied no, and ended up with one match that I never saw again but who sent me a LinkedIn request to connect. And, they no longer have events on Calle del Príncipe.
Short story by L.B. Lewis for July 7, 2016. Copyrighted. All rights reserved.