Coming off break-up life support has rendered me incapable of common sense, which is why I volunteer to participate in foolish “single girl” activities that I will likely look back on for a chuckle when I’m craggier than Mick Jagger and sporting orthopedic Chuck Taylors. This week’s misadventure? “Rock and Roll Dating” — a speed-dating service that debuted last Thursday at Harpers Ferry, looking to attract the kind of young audiophiles who maintain big vinyl collections and even bigger dreams of romance.
The premise is clever enough: on a brief questionnaire, you indicate your favorite bands and genres and note your age; the organizers then pair you with six persons who share your tastes. Meanwhile, three local bands play short sets. But when I arrive at 6 pm sharp, the place is dead, enveloped in a stony silence that Suri Cruise would appreciate. A half-hour passes while the organizers reconcile last-minute no-shows with two daters who registered but somehow haven’t made the lists. The only persons having less fun than I am are the gaggle of wild-eyed journos and photogs from the Herald and the Globe scrambling amid the meager pickings to query the participants about what has gone so very wrong in their love lives as to drop-kick them here, now, tonight. A few potential daters meander in, looking cranky, and head straight for the bar. Meanwhile, Static of the Gods set up their gear and start sound-checking to an empty room.
Rich Savoie, RNR Dating’s über-enthusiastic organizer (who I might add is “In a Relationship” according to his MySpace page), breathlessly welcomes us with a rousing “We’re all here because we love live music, and we want to meet new people who love it too!” I thought that meant, you know, I’d get to meet those people. But the music Cupids appear unable to hook me up with anyone who identifies with my fanatical Radiohead obsession, let alone my insatiable devotion to Ashlee Simpson. Instead, I meet six extremely nice — no, seriously, they really were nice — guys, five of whom admit they don’t really go to shows and describe their music tastes with the genial yet infuriating “I like everything!” Plus, a horrible guy/girl ratio means most of the gents sit out from one to three rounds, bored to distraction, before they get matched with the fairer sex.
The Shills are on second; they play a decent blend of Jeff Buckley–ish vocals and shoegazing post-punk while I pepper my dates with questions — so that I don’t have to answer any of theirs. Dater #2 speaks of his new-found swing-dancing hobby, #3 explains his bio-med engineering job in vague terms, #4 confides he’s into a form of martial arts that some people consider a cult, and #5 divulges the location of his family’s summer camp. My last date is good up front: he’s a musician, he offers to buy drinks, and in a spasm of yupster chivalry he pulls out a bar stool for me. He also insists on a vigorous high-five when I say I like Bloc Party. But when I tell him I’m a not a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan, his face falls. “I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” he says in a scary whisper. I flash him my best smile and settle in for a friendly music disagreement. Before I can go on, he’s glowering at me as if I were the Brian Jonestown Massacre to his Dandy Warhols. Dude won’t stand for anyone talking shit about his precious Karen O. However you cut it, I’m 0-for-6, and Alchemilla, the third and final band, female-fronted neo-classic rockers, are as unremarkable as RNR Dating’s matchmaking techniques. I’m beyond thrilled to be heading home solo, with the rest of my night free to scour the Internet for leaked Paris Hilton MP3s. Now there’s a girl who owns her single life.