In Aziz Ansari’s hilarious and insightful book Modern Romance, he makes the case that “too many people spend way too much time doing the online part of online dating, not the dating part,” and that “ultimately meeting in person is the only way to know whether something is going to work.” (If you haven’t read the book, it’s a great read, and even better in the audio version with Aziz reading the book to you. But I digress . . .)
If you’ve been on an awkward date (or a dozen) after a brief text exchange with someone that you “swiped right” on then you are painfully aware of the truth in Ansari’s deduction. As cliché as it may be, there’s something to the idea of that inexplicable element of attraction that some label as “chemistry” or a “spark”. I might find someone attractive in a photo and see common interests in a tiny profile, we might even have a witty text exchange; but a picture could be from a few years ago in great lighting, and a profile can be carefully edited to portray an embellished version of the real person. When I meet someone in person I get to see facial expressions and gestures, hear tone of voice, and move beyond the manicured persona to the authentic person.
But if you’re like me, you’re also tired of being hit on in noisy bars by people with uninventive pick up lines. I’ll also admit that I’m somewhat terrified of approaching a stranger and putting myself out there. More often than not I’ll end up saying something ridiculous or I’ll just forget the standard conventions of conversation entirely. (A particularly charming man once asked me what kind of music I’m into and I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember a single artist from any of my many playlists. Talk about awkward!)
This is why I love “Easy Dating”. Meet People Chicago has modernized outdated “speed dating” and created a relaxed environment to meet interesting people who are looking for the same thing I am, someone to binge watch House of Cards with. Okay, so maybe you’re not looking for someone to binge watch HOC with, but you get my point. Every person you meet is there with the intention of making a real connection and the entire event has been curated to take the pressure out of meeting someone. The venues are chosen for their combination of elegant décor and intimate setting, which creates an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement (a perfect combination for budding romance). You start the evening with a cocktail hour where you can mingle in groups and unwind. Your host is always there to help break the ice and make introductions, but I like to take this time to get the small talk out of the way so that I can make the most of my one-on-one time. I get to know a little bit about everyone so that I always have something specific to ask them later. (Pro tip: If you bring your friends you have a wing(wo)man at your side to boost your confidence and you get a discount on your tickets.)
The second half of the evening is a series of mini-dates. The beauty is that if there’s no connection (come on, we can’t connect with everyone) you can rest assured that you’ll be on another date soon enough. As you move through the evening you’ll find a few people where the conversation seems too short and you wish you could spend more time with them. The beauty of it is you don’t have to worry about the awkward exchange of numbers or figuring out when to meet up again. All you have to do is write that person on your match card and your host takes care of the rest. You’ll get an email in the next day or so with the contact info for all your matches. It’s just that easy. You already know that that guy or girl you’re contacting is interested in getting to know you, all you have to do is find the time.
So, you’re probably wondering if I’ve met “the one” at an Easy Dating event. I’m going to keep you in suspense. You’ll have to find me at one of MPC’s other events and ask me in person. I will say this though; Easy Dating definitely works if you let it. Come with an open mind and an open heart and you just might meet someone amazing to start a new adventure with.
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