I feel like it’s senior prom all over again, when none of the guys asked me as their date and instead I went with my best girl friend to save face. Except this time I’m in HANG Art Gallery, the people are about 10 years older, and I’m gluing my eyeballs to the paintings along the wall while nursing a Johnny Walker Red and ginger ale.
Last week I talked about online dating, but what about singles’ events? On Thursday, I checked out Save the Date(ing)’s single-malt scotch tasting. Not so much because I need to “get out there” but more so because I love scotch and I love men who love scotch and I love men who love me loving scotch.
Save the Date(ing) bridges online dating and singles’ events. Members pay to be a part of the site’s personally selected singles, but the focus lies on the events, where people can meet other attractive and successful people face-to-face. Speaking in dollars and cents, membership requires a three-month commitment and will either run $83.33 or $50 per month, depending on which tier you select. The costlier premium tier allows you at-cost access to the events, whereas the gold tier will charge you a little bit more to be social. Ben (recent MBA grad from UC Berkeley) found the pricing fair, saying that back in Manhattan he would end up spending $100 if he went out for the night. Then again, that’s Manhattan, and I’m in journalism so I don’t even have two 50s to rub together.
STD (yes, a rather unfortunate abbreviation for a dating site) touts events like the single-malt night as low impact, especially when you compare them to speed dating or blind dates. As the singles mingled before the scotch lesson began, I patrolled the walls and pretended to be more interested in the artwork than the people conglomeration that formed on the other side of the room. As social anxiety crept in, so did my desire to tweet my sudden shyness. I realized, though, that this scene was for the old hats, the people who have actual careers and little to no time to sit on a dating site all night evaluating potential mates. Instead, they want to pay for the convenience of a more promising and slimmer dating pool.
Later, Ben would admit that he wasn’t sure marketing the site as exclusive would appeal to San Franciscans as much as it appeals to New Yorkers. That may be true, but most people there were attractive, normal-looking people…like a breath of sanity in the frustration of dating, online or not. Exclusive shmexclusive–it’s a nice feeling to be in a room full of people selected for you.
After its maiden voyage to the Bay, STD promises more events like sailing and etiquette dinners. You know, naturally social events that foster conversation and meeting new people. Perhaps not conversations like I had with David (Harvard, ’98) to whom I admitted being a reference for the Wikipedia article on the shocker. But, you know, conversations that real people have that eventually end in exchanging numbers.
Neither Ben nor David thought much of the interview process, meeting up with the San Francisco director to answer a few questions about themselves and to get into the site. On the other hand, they got in…even David, who confessed to living in the douchiest part of the city. But David wasn’t a douche, so he obviously passed. Ben, ever my man of insight, surmised that they just wanted people who could carry on a conversation and not be socially awkward. Which would explain why toward the end of the evening people coupled up, the din from conversation drowning out the music and the organizers shooing the chatty stragglers into the bar across the street. Like normal people who aren’t necessarily dependent on the world wide web to find them their soulmates.
Image courtesy of Save the Date(ing).
The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.