Third WheelA summer of singles events, in picturesSingles mingled throughout the summer at one event after another, often organized by identity group, common interest, or gimmicky premise; sometimes the cheesier the better. | ET REALITY


At a speed dating event in August, $25 bought attendees 20 dates with strangers, each about five minutes long.

When the first blind dates began, it wasn’t long before some people, mostly men, tried to get out of order so they could talk to the person they were most attracted to.

“There’s a seat right here,” one of the event organizers said, guiding a wayward attendee back to the designated flow.

Speed ​​dating is no easy feat, requiring the conversational stamina of a champion filibuster, the brevity of an auctioneer, and a positive frame of mind to fight the boredom of repetition. Drinks were encouraged.

“I’m a very nice person: I hate texting, I love phone calls.” saying N’dack Fleming, 28, who added that she was ready to put her “hookup phase” behind her. “So I thought, okay, this experience is a very personal experience.”

The event, called We Met IRL, was created by Maxine Williams as a balm for those who have found it difficult to navigate a sometimes unpleasant New York City dating scene, where endless kisses and lukewarm flings can convince even the most introverted that it’s time. to leave the apartment. This summer, We Met IRL was just one of several events that thrust singles into the real world, uniting them over common interests or kitschy themes — sometimes the more contrived, the better.

Singles events have long asked people to put their hopes for romance in the hands of strangers, promising attendees, at the very least, the chance to step out of their comfort zones. Many of these events held in New York this summer focused on activities, such as ax throwing, or shared interests, such as a love of reading.

At a singles party for queer people of color hosted by the queer collective Raw Honey at the Sultan Room in Brooklyn last month, more than 200 attendees showed up to kick off cuffing season. Each person was asked to choose a colored bracelet: the red one meant you were there just to make friends, the yellow one identified you as polyamorous, and the green one meant you were single and willing to socialize.

Gabrielle Hitchens, founder of the collective, said she knew it could be difficult for queer people of color to “find and connect,” so she wanted to offer them a destination to do so in a party atmosphere. Between dancing and drinking, many in the room seemed to get along well, and at least one couple confirmed that they had a date planned in the coming days.

Cambria Evans moved to New York City in 2021 and said she had not yet been able to fully explore the queer community as a bisexual woman in Brooklyn. When she saw a flyer for the Raw Honey event on Instagram, she thought it would be a great way to get out of her comfort zone.

“I saw a lot of people that I was definitely attracted to, but I was definitely too shy to talk to them,” Ms. Evans recalled a few days after the party, which she attended alone. “I’m doing things one by one.”

A brightly lit room in Williamsburg filled with dog treats, toys, and kibble might not be the most obvious setting for flirtation and romance. Yet dozens of people gathered last week at Boris & Horton, a dog-friendly cafe in Brooklyn, to do just that.

It was a “Must Love Dogs” singles meetup hosted by Blink Date, a dating app founded by Taly Matiteyahu. which schedules 10-minute phone dates for its members with potential matches. There was a lot of interaction among the dozens of guests, but at first, it was mainly the dogs who showed up.

Vladimir Manosalvas, who referred to himself as “single as a Pringle,” said he came alone to the event with the intention of meeting dogs and only dogs: “Dogs are love, dogs are life and although I like people, I mainly came to this mix-and-match event for dogs.”

Allie Shoemaker, who was at the cafe with her two dogs, Itty Bitty and Doodle, came to the event looking for a potential partner, but she didn’t have high expectations. She cited a Song by Carrie Underwood. That summed up her dating experience: “The more guys I meet, the more I love my dogs.”

“The peace that I feel now, that I always wanted to feel with my partner, I feel with her, and that’s okay,” he said.

It’s safe to say that many of us still crave a classic meet-cute that online dating can’t achieve. Singles lovers float the idea that you might find the right person (or at least the person you want to wife during the fall and winter) in drink specials and a niche theme. All you need is a link to the event to put you and your future partner in the right place at the right time.

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