Match.com Stir Event Review
Tom Hanks was staring me down. “Lucky Guy,” he said to me.
That was the name of his Broadway play, and his face was giant on the marquee I was walking past. If the checkout page when I was purchasing my ticket to this Match.com Stir event was accurate, then yes, I guess I am a lucky guy. There were going to be more women than men tonight.
With real estate as expensive as it is in New York, I couldn’t believe there was actually a bowling alley in Times Square. Especially not one that I could go bowling at with a bunch of singles for a mere $10. But, here I was, walking into Bowlmor on 44th street.
Having gone on easily 100+ online dates previous to this, I had gotten numb to the pre first-date jitters. Meeting the person, greeting them, knowing what to say first and keeping the conversation going – all of that is old hat to me. But this time – for the first time in a long time – I was nervous.
This was my first Match.com Stir event. Me, a seasoned online dater, I felt probably no differently than you might if you’re new to the online dating, or haven’t dated at all for awhile. Honestly, I didn’t even want to go at this point. I had just had a nightmare of a date the previous night, and I wasn’t looking forward to interacting with a room full of strangers.
However, I was looking forward to bowling. I love bowling. When I was a kid, I dreamt of being a professional bowler. And here I was, a professional dater – going on a bowling “date.” I guess my dream came true in some twisted way?
Nervous for Match.com Stir? Don’t be.
Match.com is no stranger to these pre-Stir jitters. While I was eavesdropping on the celebrity gossip of two Broadway playwrights at the Green Symphony restaurant about 30 minutes prior, I received a text message from Match.com, prompting me to login to their mobile site to see who was at the event.
Seeing the faces of the attendees really put me at ease in that moment. I had really been skeptical of what the other attendees would have been like. Match.com says they specifically select who to invite to each of their Stir events based upon age, and that they make sure there is a good ratio, and all of this seemed to be true. I could glance at photos and basic info of the women I’d be meeting at the event, who were much cuter than I had expected! I even clicked through to view a few profiles on Match.com’s iPhone app.
Checking in to Match.com Stir
As I entered the private bowling suite for the event, I was greeted by Tracy, a cute blonde who unfortunately turned out to be Match.com staff, and not one of the attendees. I wanted her to check me out, but instead she checked me in – and gave me a name tag. I’m pretty good at drawing letters, so I made it really fancy to help get started with conversations.
I had arrived a little over an hour after the scheduled 6pm start time – in part to be fashionably late, and also because I knew my friend, Trent, wasn’t going to make it until 7:30. I was being a big chicken, not even following my own Stir advice.
The bowling event was in full swing. All 5 lanes in the suite were full of mid-20’s to early 30’s folks, chatting and bowling. I tried to scope out a lane that I could jump in on – see who was just finishing up a game. I tried not to be too selective about what ladies were on a particular lane. I just wanted to go into it without expectations.
I was being a bit too timid. I figured I’d wait until Trent showed up, and then we’d jump in on a lane together. Then I got a text from Trent – he was running even later!
Mingling with the singles at Match.com Stir
I had better make myself useful before Trent came, and I wasn’t doing myself any favors being shy, so I just walked up to a lane. “Hey there!” I said to a group of ladies sitting at the lane.
The reception was surprisingly warm, “hey, come bowl on our lane!” said Jessica. She was a cute blonde 28 year-old with a great smile. Thin, and tall – about my own height.
I had expected that there would be a stand-offish quality to the interactions. That people would be acting as they do online: lurking around, examining you, trying to decide whether to reply to your message – or, as it would be, trying to decide whether to make eye contact or return your smile – as if simply treating someone like a human being would be expressing an irrevocable desire to spend eternity with them.
But it wasn’t like that at all. Karen, a gregarious, black 24 year-old in a peach skirt added, “I can add you to the lane. Russ, right?” She saw my name tag, but didn’t comment on my beautiful lettering. Well, things were off to a good start anyway.
The rest of the night flowed just as well. Jessica and I discussed the various qualities that make a good karaoke song. Karen and I talked about the different boroughs of NYC. Her and Shelly, a slim brunette in a cute white dress with purple flowers on it, made a “Russ sandwich,” playfully bouncing me back and forth between each other as I sat between them.
When Trent showed up, he was just as graciously added to the lane, and became part of the fun.
Other Match.com Stir Events
When the conversation turned to the event at hand, I learned that these ladies were actually pretty big fans of the Match.com Stir events. This was Karen’s 4th event! Shelly exclaimed that she actually hoped she didn’t have a boyfriend (or that if she did, she’d feel bad for him) when the NYC graffiti tour Stir event took place.
I guess the fun I was having wasn’t a fluke. With countless Match.com Stir events cropping up – with activities such as kickball, wine tastings, and food tours – someone could keep themselves really busy with these events.
Going from Match.com Stir to a Date
I wound up interacting mostly with the women from my lane, but mid-conversation, I heard what I had been waiting to hear all night, from Nicole, an exotic-eyed brunette on the next lane “hey, did you have your name tag professionally calligraphed!?” It turns out Conversation Nuggets work in physical space, too.
I didn’t wind up having enough of a spark with any of the women there to merit trying to get any of their numbers, but that was fine for me. It was just good to spend some time with some nice ladies without having to click around on a computer. I spend my whole day on a computer, why would I want to spend my night on one? Even bowling a whopping 75 is better than that!
But, other people hit it off much better. I saw Shelly and Tom, a funny Philippine guy, kiss each other goodbye as Shelly was leaving. It was as if they had just finished their first (or even second) date. Earlier, I was shocked to learn that she had bought him a White Russian (the drink), in “Big Lebowski” fashion.
Towards the end of my night, I shot this video to give you a feel for the event. There were even way more people than there at the peak of the night.
After the Stir Event
It might not always be the most graceful thing, asking for numbers in front of a bunch of new friends, so Match.com helps you out by sending you a follow-up email the next day, with a link to check out the profiles of everyone who was at the event. I just got mine:
It’s actually really interesting to meet someone first, then see their profile. You learn all sorts of things you can’t really learn about so easily in between frames.
Speaking of which, I like the profile of that Jessica girl. She was nice, too. I think I’ll send her a message…