Last month, I wrote a blog post about an event I attended sponsored by Match.com, to promote their new Stir events. Stir events are targeted to single people and range from large scale happy hours at local bars and venues, to more intimate, interest-based events such as cooking classes, wine and tequila tastings, dance lessons, bowling nights, rock climbing, and more.
I don’t love online dating so I thought these events would bring a different flavor to singles-meeting-singles, and help get over that uncomfortable situation that comes when your date doesn’t look like his/her picture…and other inconsistencies. So I like the concept of Stir.
I was given the opportunity to attend a Stir event, with the agreement that I would write a blog post about it. So last week I attended a Happy-Hour-like event at a New York City bar on the Upper East Side. Before I share my opinion of the event, here are a few details about the way Stir works:
- The Happy Hour events are free and open to both registered and subscribed Match.com members, while the interest-based events are only offered to Match.com subscribers at a fee.
- Each Stir event is customized through group matching algorithms in terms of age, gender and interests so that singles will be attending events with like singles.
- Match.com members can learn about and sign up for these events viaMatch.com under the “Events” header on the site.
My reactions to the event are mixed. Here’s what I liked about it:
- It was nice to see so many singles “of a certain age”. The age range of attendees appeared to be 40+ and I liked that I didn’t feel like I was the oldest person in the room…which can sometimes happen when I find myself at an event chock full of 25-year-olds. I liked that the room was full of grown men and grown women.
- The turnout was great. I didn’t know what to expect, but the place was packed. I think in the back of my mind I was thinking that there would be poor attendance or worse, 200 women and 6 men. While I do think there were a few more women than men, I’d say the male-to-female ratio was pretty good.
- I liked that everyone there was single (or at least I hope so), so we all knew why we were there, plus there was none of the awkwardness of trying to figure out if the guy chatting you up is married.
This particular event has room for improvement. Here’s what didn’t work for me:
- There was a long line to get in. I would never have waited in a line that long if I weren’t “on assignment”.
- The venue was much too small, so it was too crowded inside and mingling was difficult. When I was in college I thought a bar with wall-to-wall people was a sign that the event was “happening”. Now, it’s just uncomfortable and the opposite of fun.
- The bar and kitchen ran out of many items on the menu as early as 8pm.
- The atmosphere felt all wrong. The lighting was dark and the loud music didn’t help. In my opinion, it would have worked better had the lights been brighter and the music softer and more conducive to chatting…perhaps more like lounge music.
- I also felt like we needed “something” to spur more interaction. I don’t know if a game is right, but others I spoke to suggested that some sort of icebreaker would have helped get things going: maybe name tags with interesting tidbits about each person, a “get-to-know” 5 people incentive, or something to encourage people to mingle more actively.
Despite my mixed feelings about the event, it was encouraging to see such a great turnout and I think the idea of Stir is a good one. The execution at this particular event wasn’t great, but I like the idea of meeting someone through similar interests…so maybe one their activity-based events would have been more to my liking.
But don’t just take my word for it. If you’re a member of Match.com, why not see for yourself? Tell us about it, if you do. It might even be worth considering (re)joining Match.com…once they work out the kinks in the execution.
So what do you think? Does Stir sound like the kind of thing you’d be interested in? Why or why not?