Hank and Harriet, single and alone in their own separate worlds, saw the ads on late-night TV. Their friends encouraged them to give it a try. Now here they were, staring each other down across a tiny table in a hotel ballroom filled with 100 other hopefuls.
They were about to start their final session in an hour of 10-minute speed dates. The partner rotations, with the girls stationary and the guys circling the room, had yielded few prospects so far. There were too many dudes and dudettes pretending an interest in fireside chats and walks in the rain. Or other inclinations that hinted at the seedy. Where were the people with the real interests? They were probably at home with their spouses.
The bell rang and Hank was the first to speak.
HANK: You’re quite attractive. Let’s get that out of the way. What are your hobbies?
HARRIET (leaning forward): Good for you, right down to business. Well, I like my soaps.
HANK: I should hope so. You can only go so long without them.
HARRIET: No, I mean soap operas.
HANK: Is that where everyone sings and gets squeaky clean?
HARRIET: No, I mean daytime drama. It’s where everybody has problems up the whazoo and they all sleep with each other and no storyline ever really ends.
HANK: I was just fooling with you. I watch soaps too, but only from Telemundo. That’s where the lip synching is off by about two seconds, all the guys have sneers and the women have really big bosoms.
HANK: Yes. I thought I was in the presence of a lady.
HARRIET: You are, mister, and don’t you forget it.
HANK: What else do you like? Are you a computer geek? Into i-Pods and cell phones? Do you like text messaging?
HANK: Do you like to Twitter?
HANK: Do you like the Black Eyed Peas?
HARRIET: Only under gravy.
HANK: You and I may be compatible after all.
HARRIET: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. How about you? Do you like to Twitter?
HANK (looking self-satisfied): I’ve been told I’m very good at it. I’ve given a twit to quite a number of ‘ers in my time.
HARRIET: What’s that supposed to mean? Is that your idea of witty repartee? Anyway, you’re not a bad looking guy.
HANK (chagrined): Let’s go with that. What do you like about my looks?
HARRIET: Sure, let’s spend our few minutes together talking about you. You’re a typical male.
HANK: I could tell you what I do for a living, but it’s a secret.
HARRIET (leaning back): Because you’re a spy? That’s not a very original line.
HANK: No, because I’m ashamed.
HARRIET: It can’t be that bad. You’re not a lawyer or a politician, are you?
HANK: Worse. I’m an advice columnist and I don’t know what I’m talking about.
HARRIET: That much is clear. Sorry, I’m being unkind. Go on.
HANK: The other day, a young lady wrote in and asked me what she should do to break out of her rut. I advised her to try speed dating. Then I got to thinking, why not give it a try myself?
HARRIET: Did she go by the name Diane’s Getting Desperate in Denial?
HANK: Yep. Was that you?
HARRIET: Yes. But hold on a second. Are you telling me you’re Love Yourself Ladies by Lucille?
HANK: You’ve guessed it. I told you I was embarrassed.
HARRIET: Ashamed, actually. Well Lucille, aren’t you a wonder? Pleased to meet you. (They rise and shake hands). My name is really Harriet.
HANK: And I’m Hank to my friends. Delighted to know you. Would you like to do this again some time?
HARRIET: Let me think about it.
RING. Time’s up.