The Riddler looked me square in the eye and gave me the best dating advice I'd heard in months. • "You dress up as Catwoman, and you'll never be single again," he said, dressed as the Batman villain in a green hat and matching suit. • I kicked myself for not grabbing my cat mask from last Halloween.
I had never speed dated before, but when I saw Tampa Bay Comic Con was offering sessions, it seemed a unique opportunity. Forty of us — 20 men and 20 women — spent three minutes with each other wearing name tags that identified our gender (M or F) and a number (1-20). We talked about our favorite comic characters, our day jobs, our reasons for speed dating.
"I'm just tired of being single at 36," said M-6, a Hulk fan with a messenger bag to show it.
I told him I had the opposite problem, that I had spent the last few years as a serial girlfriend, jumping from relationship to relationship until a few months ago. And since then, I've realized that I, a 21-year-old reporter who literally talks to people for a living, have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to dating.
This became apparent with M-11, dressed as Great Saiyaman from Dragon Ball Z. I shook his hand, complimenting his white pleather gloves.
"Actually, they're goat skin," he said.
Um, my mistake.
Needless to say, he wasn't one of the men who gave me his phone number at the end. Only five did.
A 25 percent success rate isn't too bad, until I realized that just one of the five guys I gave my number to gave me his back: The Riddler.
After a few texts back and forth, he told me he was going back for speed dating round two that night because during the first session he "got three numbers including one from a cute reporter lol."
And cheers to you, Riddler. Because it seems to me from this experience that the first step of this whole dating thing is to put yourself out there. Even if the conversations fall flat or fizzle out, at least you tried.
As I was walking to my car, I made small talk with a man in a Spider-Man shirt. Before we parted ways, he pulled out his phone.
"I don't mean to be forward here, but can I get your number or email address?"
Sure, Spider-Man shirt. You sure can.
Contact Kathryn Varn at (352) 754-6114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @kathrynvarn.