Electric Run 5K (or, Don’t Face Plant Under McCormick Place!) and Steve Harvey’s Singles Symposium (or, I Got a Blister on My Toe for This?!)

Lamentably, I have no recipes to share this week. Summer has returned with a vengeance and I try to spend as little time as possible in my kitchen, which means I eat a lot of hummus, sliced cold meats, cheese, and quick cooking things, like eggs and grilled cheese (with farm fresh tomatoes – yum!). It’s a sad existence, especially since we had a few teaser days of cool weather. I miss cooking.

Still, I’d like to share with you the two things I did this weekend, one of which was a great amount of fun and the other of which put me in a blind rage and rendered me unable to reign in my inner bitch. Let’s start with the fun one first, shall we?

The Electric Run!
On Friday night, Mindy and I and two other friends headed over to McCormick Place to participate in the Electric Run 5K. This was another untimed fun run, scheduled at night on a course lit up with all manner of LED displays. Although I’m gunning to find out how I can do in a real race, I was really excited to see the course here and I was not disappointed. From a starting line lit up by huge multi-colored towers, the Stick Man lobbing goodies into the crowd, and several interesting displays outside, it was a wonder to see. Here are a few pictures I took:

The starting line.

The starting line.

Stick Man making an offering.

Stick Man making an offering.

Electric Run (3)

The skyline at night. I love my city.

Running through the enchanted forest-type thing.

Running through the enchanted forest-type thing.

Hanging, twinkling lights.

Hanging, twinkling lights.

The only complaint I had about this race was that it ran through the tunnels under McCormick in several spots. I realize this is supposed to be a nighttime race, but they really needed to light those tunnels a little bit better. That ground is severely uneven and at one point I tripped over something because I couldn’t see where I was running. I was so grateful that I didn’t fall flat on my face and get trampled by the crowd. It was a little dangerous and I hope nobody got hurt. The one other unpleasant thing was that the race ended under McCormick where it was unbelievably stuffy. It was so hot and humid and stagnant under there that I couldn’t stop sweating and felt like I was going to be sick. But, that was mostly due to the unusually warm evening, which the race organizers can’t control so I won’t pin that on them.

Otherwise, it was so much fun! I completed the race in 31:34, which wasn’t bad considering I hadn’t been running regularly and also stopped to take the aforementioned photos. I will definitely run this race again, all decked out in flashing lights like a Christmas tree at a rave.

Steve Harvey’s Sucky Singles Symposium
Steve HarveyOn Saturday, Mindy and I got up early, put on dresses and makeup, and made our way over to Navy Pier to participate in what promised to be a huge event for single men and women in Chicago. A friend had posted an ad for the event on Mindy’s facebook page and I, throwing caution to the wind, proudly proclaimed that I would sign up. We both did, not knowing what we would be doing, but I figured that it was a unique opportunity to meet a bunch of new people in a way that most people never have available to them. How bad could it be?

Well, where do I begin? I won’t even go into the confirmation process, which seemed unnecessarily difficult on their part, or the fact that women clearly did not adhere to the dress code of “classy cocktail attire” and had tattoos, piercings, and midriffs in full display, or the fact that we had to walk the entire length of Navy Pier to get to our designated spot. (Navy Pier is literally almost a mile long. Literally. Per Google Maps it is .7 miles from the bus stop to the end of the Pier, so I’m not misusing the word “literally” here. We walked that in heels.) I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that at an event that boasted having 300+ single men in attendance, we were slated to meet one. Only one. A single, solitary dude out of 300. That is some kind of cockamamie tripe, if you ask me.

Here’s what we did all day. First, we checked in and were seated according to our confirmation color codes. I was “orange” and Mindy was “blue.” One would think these codes meant something, but they had no significance whatsoever. At our seats we found a goody bag and a number on a string that we were instructed to wear around our necks. Some useless raffle prizes were given out (Coupon books? Really?) and Dr. Laura Berman came in to deliver a somewhat tame lecture about sex and dating. If you’ve never seen Dr. Berman before, or never watched Oprah or Dr. Oz or have been living under a rock when it comes to modern sexual practices, this information may have been eye-opening for you. For me, it was a snooze-fest. (Sorry Dr. Berman – I think the work you do is important, but I was unimpressed that day.)

After that dismal opening, we were directed to leave the room and walk outside to the northern point of the Pier where we were to stand in formation for an aerial shot of the group. This lasted a good 45 minutes to an hour. On an 87-degree day. At noon. In heels. We joked that we hoped our men liked their women sweaty and cranky because after all that time swatting away bugs and shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot, that’s what we all were.

With our makeup running down our faces and our deodorant put to the test, we were finally led back inside where we were given boxed lunches to eat in our holding room. Keep in mind that the men were sequestered away from each us doing who knows what. Were weren’t allowed to interact with them until around 3pm (the day started at 10am, mind you), when we were led back outside for another round of shooting (the first time was apparently a rehearsal!), another round of sweating, another round of oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-throw-my-shoes-into-the-lake standing, after which we were finally let into the ballroom to find the man that had the same number that we were wearing.

I couldn’t find my man. Somehow the number system broke down and I couldn’t find table #64 anywhere. It went from #63 to #67 and the numbers in between were nowhere to be found. In lieu of wandering aimlessly around the entire ballroom searching for my guy, I told one of the staff members my plight. “Just talk to that guy,” she said, pointing to a lanky black dude standing by himself, wearing #14 around his neck. So, because I was trying to be nice and friendly, in spite of my tried patience and cramping feet, I did. Sadly, nice and friendly didn’t last long. The guy was 23 (I will be 32 [tomorrow!]) and seriously lacking in the art of conversation. “Tell me about your love life,” he asked, which is, in no uncertain terms, a highly inappropriate question to ask on a first date, not to mention way too general. When I told him I had majored in psychology he first asked what I could tell about him by looking at him, to which I responded that that was not what psychology was about, and then asked if I “conversate” with people a lot. Here’s where I lost it.

“No, I don’t ‘conversate’ with people because that isn’t a proper word. I talk to people, though.” He looked as if I’d spit in his face. By that point I was so angry that I’d spent all day doing nothing, been made to stand in the sun for two hours, and was now obligated to talk to this chump was so far away from anything I could ever want in a partner. Shortly thereafter I told him I was going to go mingle, shook his hand and left. Now, I was probably a bit harsher than I needed to be and under normal circumstances I might not have reacted the way I did, but at that moment I couldn’t help it. On the scale of 0 to full on rage, I was at a strong 9. So #14, if you’re reading, I owe you an apology. (But I still recommend you learn proper English. The word is “converse.”)

I ambled through the ballroom until a group of women waved me over. “Your guy is looking for you!” they said. I told them I hadn’t been able to find him and one of the women offered to go search him out in the crowd. I had already assumed that the show would pair me with a black man, because I know that people take one look at me and think that all I need is a good black man to take care of me, but I was still a little disappointed to see that he was. (My issue with dating black man is long and involved and not something I’ll go into at the moment, but suffice it to say that I find it oppressive that I’m expected to only date black men.) #64 was ex-military, working as a bouncer for a club, had three kids, and smoked. Oh, and the kicker? Had no interest in dating black women. So, I guess it’s good we had something in common, right? (Oh sarcasm punctuation mark…why don’t you exist?!) He was also more interested in chatting up the blonde at the next table than putting any effort into friendly conversation with me, though I suppose I karma’d that into happening by my treatment of #14. It was, to put it mildly, a bummer.

At last, Steve Harvey came out. I will say this: Steve was so gracious, apologizing for how long everything was taking and thanking us for taking time out of our days to do this. He could easily have walked in, done his thing, and left, so it was nice that he acknowledged us and the effort we had put in. He was mainly there to accept the certification for the record for the World’s Biggest First Date (oh, so that’s what we were there for!), raffle off the grand prize (a trip to South Africa that neither I nor Mindy won), and interview what was apparently the star couple of the event (#66 in the picture above). I didn’t believe it when someone told me this, but the girl was Miss Black Chicago (what a ridiculous title) and she needed help finding a date. All I can say is girlfriend needed to eat herself a burger stat. It’s appalling to me what our culture’s standards for beauty are.

Finally, the event was over. I found Mindy in the crowd with her date in tow, who it turns out she’d met before and who, for various reasons, was completely undateable. We were exhausted, in pain, and we’d both struck out. We felt as though we’d been misled as to what the event really was. Had they billed it as the “World’s Largest First Date,” I might still have signed up, but at least I would have known what I was getting myself into. This felt like we’d been duped.

Oh, if you’re wondering what the men did all day? They sat inside in an air conditioned room. So much for treating ladies like princesses, huh?

Tune in on September 16 for the premier and watch out for the curly-haired girl in the blue dress! I can’t wait to see how they spin our day of disillusionment into a matchmaking fairy tale.

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