The organizers, from Spare Room.com, have been hosting regular meetups in Manhattan, and this week they held their first Brooklynmixer.
When I arrive at the Montrose, a Scottish pub in Park Slope, I’m relieved to see there’s no five-minute bell, no mad dash for the next interview, no frenzied attempt to impress. I ask her if it’s disappointing to hear that people are finding someone to work with while she’s still looking.
Everyone was gainfully employed, sociable (mostly), and somewhat attractive (again, mostly).
The best part is that, drastically unlike Tinder, everyone there was actually looking for a relationship, or at the very least a second date.
If there are no matches, you’ll never know who liked you and vice versa -- somewhat akin to Tinder. There was the guy who just moved here from Texas who taught college courses online and was going to Venice for the summer because he could work from anywhere; the man who was raised by parents in the UN who spent his childhood in France, Morocco, Dubai, Rome, and about six other places; or the man who wasn’t physically my “type,” but who made me smile with his over-the-top laugh.
Far from what I expected, the majority of guys I met were… The constant flow of visuals in front of my face was also kind of like swiping through Tinder... But here’s where speed dating is completely different (read: infinitely better) than Tinder and any other dating app -- it accounts for chemistry.
Inside, it looked more or less like a restaurant preparing itself for regular dinner service (dim lighting, candlelit tables), rather than the morose, clinical vision I had concocted of name tags, clipboards, and other trappings of business conferences.
It’s hard to imagine longtime New Yorkers signing up for speed dating, but maybe the transplants have the right idea.
At the very least, it’s nice to know there are still those out there who believe enough in finding love (or at least second date) to dress up on a Monday night to sit in a Union Square hotel restaurant and have a conversation with strangers -- without an app, and without being six beers deep.
There was also the man (whose job I can’t remember) who openly admitted that he loved being able to talk people into paying more money for things that he knew they didn’t actually need. I didn’t end up meeting anyone special at speed dating, but I still felt like I’d tapped into this hidden sector of the NYC dating world.
What makes speed dating in New York so interesting is part of what makes New York so interesting to begin with -- you’re able to meet people from all over the world, from different backgrounds, with all different kinds of careers, interests, and experiences (and best of all, they’re all right there, in one room, in front of you).