Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Hip, the Geeky, the Single, and the Taken Unite at Love 2.0

When sent me an invite to Love 2.0, a kickoff event for the Web 2.0 conference, I have to admit I was intrigued. Having met my husband in 1998, I missed the online dating revolution and have always been curious about the logistics of shopping for love online.
But was quick to point out that this wasn’t online dating 1.0. No siree, says the company. Rather, it aims to eliminate the randomness factor of online dating by providing a social networking platform that turns your single or taken friends into your matchmakers, and even uses a voting system to rate your dating behavior. Your chances of scoring are raised or lowered based on comments and ratings from those who know you. It’s kind of like the LinkedIn of online dating companies.
Distracted by an open bar and the ID labels everyone was wearing (you chose between hip or geeky, and single, taken or matchmaking), I learned nothing about online dating. I did, however, learn how to manipulate a 10-person-deep bar that resembled the New York subway station at rush hour.

And the people-watching was second to none. Hoards of geeky and adorable singles huddled awkwardly at the beginning of the night. Some were pushed into forced conversations with other labeled singles by their “taken” friends. I heard a lot of “Ummm….so are you here for this or the whole thing?” in the first hour of the party. I’m assuming they were referring to the Web 2.0 thing....but who knows?

Nevertheless, the booze and funky music loosened them up in no time. Conversations were increasingly risqué , eye contact turned into arm touching, and the dance floor really heated up. In fact, my night ended with a spectacular show of two of the most unlikely dance floor candidates (I swear I saw a pocket protector) getting down and super dirty, while a crowd of Harry Potters cheered them on.

If this party represents what online dating is about, I really missed out. The vibe was laid-back, the crowd was far from creepy, and good times were to be had. And the hosts didn’t skimp on the parting gift—the Love 2.0 tee-shirt was from American Apparel, my personal tee-shirt-fave. Viva!
--Michelle Savage

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