THIS is an old column from April 2010.
Times Colonist (Victoria)
A lonely hearts club ban on speed dating seems in order
Sun Apr 18 2010
Byline: Maj. (Retired) Nigel Smythe-Brown Column: Major’s Corner
Source: Times Colonist
I am sure that I am not exaggerating a great deal when I say there are some in Victoria who see the club and its habitués as a colossal anachronism that wants doing away with.
This is unfair, with a hint of ageism or whatever they call the deep dislike of one’s elders these days. It would not be contemplated amongst the First Nations or for that matter any of the other ancient world cultures. These great peoples have a place for the acquired wisdom from the few Wrinklies still upright, who are in fact celebrated.
We are still here, you know.
However, in an effort to stay current and at our zenith, the club decided to become involved in the harried world of speed dating. If you know about this exercise, you will also be aware of the time element involved — there is not much of it.
The object, which was slowly and loudly explained to the concentrating mems by the moderator, was to have a five-minute chat with the terrified female or male with whom they were paired and then move to the next.
I hurriedly add I was in no way involved, as for some 40 years I have had the joy of marriage between myself and my dear Kitty. There is nothing more splendid in this life than to sit with my companion of the ages, although sadly it also includes her appalling cats Pericles and Bertram.
I simply wish to be the Boswell of this new situation.
No, this was about the widowed and lonely of the club, the ones who have no one to see them out of this world and into the next, the ones with neither wives nor husbands, cat-minded or not. These club types felt that perhaps there was still time to snare one last companion in this life.
On the night in question after a tense dinner, the nervous elderly crowd moved to the senior memorial reading room for the advertised event. Mrs. Lay-Low the MC gave numbers to everyone, requiring the evens meet with the other evens and the odds the odds. Then the clock began.
The problems were evident from the start. By the time the coughing stopped, the first five-minute alarm went off, and everyone moved to the next table.
Not only did the embarrassed coughing start again, the women decided to renew their bright red lipstick.
Once more the catarrh and the makeup fix allowed the clock alarms to sound, forcing another move.
Mrs. Lay-Low, now with a fixed smile on her face, suggested that all involved should take a minute off the clock to gargle or settle their war-paint issues before beginning again.
A new problem arose when the roll call went unanswered by several male mems who had exited, whimpering, leaving the women overrepresented. The other thing missing was the excitement of meeting new people, for each was all too well-known to the others.
This brought shouts of “Not you again!” or “I found you unattractive 30 years ago!”
The cruel tyranny of the majority began to tell as the women with a male sitting before them decided in spite of the bell not to release the jumpy and less numerous men. This brought alarm from the other females, as time was running out with no positive results.
Mass tugs-of-war began, with bespoke suits taking the strain, causing zippers and buttons to burst loudly.
Old men in their underthings took cover behind the large curtain, but it was the work of seconds for the stampeding women to find them.
I will not continue further as this is a family newspaper; however, the carpets are ruined.