“The women are always portrayed as the weird ones,” my roommate explained.

Apparently, because movies always portray women speed-daters as desperate-psychotic-undersexed-“It’s pronounced Gy-na”-freaks, well… we should be fine. A page pulled directly from “The World According to Jamie Handbook on Life.”

Page Two: I have not studied for my Tuesday midterm either – consider this a study break.

As a result of her irrefutable logic, I submitted to her will Monday night. I put on some make-up and heels, tossed my History reader somewhere and hoped for the best.

We drove downtown and I mentally leafed through all the possible awful scenarios that could occur. I could be forced to sit there and talk to an old guy. I could have something stuck in my teeth the entire evening. I could have a boob pop out,”40 Year Old Virgin”-style. Ohmigod – what if I see one of my professors?!

We parked before I could work out an appropriate reaction in my head. Do I acknowledge said professor’s wicked lecture last week? Pretend I don’t know anything about him? Flirt shamelessly for a better grade?

I couldn’t pick the best solution before we were inside and signing in. In a moment, only karma and the cosmos could produce, my roommate started talking to someone she evidently knew.

“He used to be my T.A.”

Now that the night was moving along swimmingly – I say this because we finally made our way to the bar – I was prepared to start this four-minutes-a-person dating extravaganza. Oh, and I checked for all undesirable leftovers in my teeth in the bathroom – just me and the pearly whites.

Conversation with the first bachelor was fine: What do you do here in Santa Barbara, how did you find out about this… blah, blah, blah. The bell rang and I moved on.

“I moved to Santa Barbara in 1982,” one of the bachelors explained. “Probably about the year you were born.”

Gulp of wine: “I was born four years later.”

Is four minutes really supposed to last this long?

“I graduated high school in 1979,” said the next bachelor.

I looked around for the exits.

“Does age matter to you?” a guy seasoned probably well into his forties. I laughed uncomfortably: “Oh, um…no.” I lie when I’m uncomfortable. If I had just told the damn truth I would have been spared from this next little treat of information:

“My last girlfriend had an IQ of 165. She was a model and an actress,” he explained. “She made me lose millions.”

Jesus, where is that bell?

Although most of the night was spent wishing I never agreed to let my roommate wrangle me into such a situation, it did have one fruitful moment. I was sitting talking to one of the bachelors, clearly out of my age range, discussing with him my possible life plans when I graduate in June.

“I know which one you should do,” he told me, “You need to go travel abroad.”

Years ago, he had a steady girlfriend and job, but upon reaching 26 he had two choices: Get married or go ditch the girlfriend and travel. He chose the latter and said it was the best choice he ever made. I couldn’t help but observe how now he finds himself meeting a slew of strange women in four-minute intervals. As I inch closer to graduation and the inevitable choice of what to do with my life, I always have the lingering thought in my mind of if I choose to travel now, will I miss out on something at home? Will I find myself in 10 or 20 years sitting in a bar talking to someone decades my junior giving them life advice? Will I be happy with the choices I made?

This Valentine’s Day, enjoy the significant others you may have. Call your parents and tell them you love them. Hope the choices you make now lead you to the place you want to be later in life. Because let’s face it: Life is a crapshoot.