Recently a girlfriend and I decided to try out a Match.com event to see what happens when you take online dating *offline.* Match.com’s “Stir Event” promised us a night of Trivia surrounded by the finest singles in our area, and we said: “The hell with it, what’s the worst that could happen?” Aka, this was another case of Julie Tempting Fate.
But let’s back up here for a hot minute. In my perfect world, I would be able log on to this Stir event page and can see exactly who else would be attending. I would be able to see that they aren’t on the sexual offenders list, that they have no prior records, that they aren’t out on bail for allegedly robbing a bank, and I’d be able to scroll through their social media profiles to make sure there’s no glaring red flags. Because remember: Match.com and all the other websites don’t actually vet and verify the people on their platforms. They tell you repeatedly to do that research YOURSELF. And let’s be realistic: who here has the time and the know-how to go through 50+ sources of information finding out exactly who all these different these people are??
Prescreening and then meeting in public! Dating safely FTW! I’d pay good money to go to *that* event. Listen up matchmakers, speed daters, meetup hosts, etc.: Hire Aste to vet your mingling events. You throw the event and stir up the excitement, and let US creep on all the attendees for you. Everybody wins!
Rant over, and back to the night in question (in this case, it was the trivia event where no one was vetted): from the moment we walked in, it felt like the blind leading the blind. We headed into the restaurant and the person in charge wasn’t there yet. My friend N. and I made conversation with some guys at the bar who were asking why we were all there. We were all huddled into the small bar area waiting for someone to tell us what the heck was going on, and of course we were all looking around the room at who we were about to meet, wondering how all these men and women were going to get a chance to talk to each other.
Finally, the host arrived and explained that we needed to be in groups of four of the same sex, and then we’d go to our individual tables and each round of trivia would feature a different group of men coming to our table to play the round of trivia together. Each new round would feature a game of musical tables, so that we’d all eventually have the chance to meet one another. So think about how that went down: the most dominate personalities took over the table, while the introverts missed out on getting to know the other introverts. Small tables = smaller connections.
Since I can apparently make friends in a paper bag (that’s a saying, right?) I got to know a lot of the guys that came through to play trivia with our table of four. Heck, I even got a date out of it with one dude that worked for the FBI who could flirt with the best of them (and in case you’re wondering, that guy was a lovely date but timing was not on our side.) But of course, you’re now asking: “So Julie – what was the unexpected surprise??”
Well, I didn’t make a love connection that night, but I DID make new girlfriends! The two girls that were sitting with me and N. were amazing humans! The four of us shared stories and laughs and kept each other smiling and kicking each other under the table during the awkward moments. We tried each other’s foods, made future plans, and even went out for a drink after the event. So even though none of us ended up finding the love of our lives that night, we managed to make new girlfriends and share war stories of dating in the big city! For $10, it wasn’t a total loss.
Could the night have been better? As I wrote above, Match.com would have done well to give us a greater sense of who would be attending this event (and employing a company – like Aste! – to screen out any would-be creeps/marrieds/predators). They certainly could have worked harder to be more organized in how this was run, and made certain that the host for the event arrived before any of the people who had registered. But my philosophy is that if you want to find love, you have to continually put yourself out there and be willing to try new things. Sometimes, you may be lucky enough to find your perfect human. Sometimes, you may end up meeting someone that leads to a comically terrible date. And in this case, even when the love connection doesn’t happen, you may still end up making some great new friends!
All in all: Don’t forget that your safety is the most important thing while looking for love and if you need us we’re only a click away to vet and verify that the new stranger you’re talking to is legit.
Light and love always,