My First Attempt at Dating “Open Office Hours”

Last week I blogged that I was sick of online dating and announced an entirely new dating concept: The Match.com “Open Office Hours.”  So, how did it go?

Well, the first surprising finding (I’m sure this will shock you as well, dear reader) was that guys actually showed up!  I mean, I sent out the mass email invite partly as a “I’m so sick of match, let’s just hit the self-destruct button on this thing and see what happens” maneuver.  Call me a hypocrite, but if I received a Match email like that, I would think the guy was the biggest douchebag of all time and hit delete.

So, I specified that office hours were to run from 9-11pm.  In typical style, my entourage and I arrived at 10:00.  There was already a line out the door at Drink, which the bouncer advised had a one-hour-plus wait time.  An hour?  As if!  Screw “open office hours,” let’s head across the street to Lucky’s instead.  As we were gathering up the troops, a lone, 35-ish man with a heavy Russian accent approached.  “Are you Daphne?  I was just about to leave, I’ve been waiting outside since 9.”  Oops.

We invited Vladamir to walk across the street to Lucky’s with us.  Unfortunately, within 10 seconds, I quickly surmised that Vladamir, while a nice and educated guy, was absolutely painful to talk to.  He was stiff and boring and acutely uncomfortable.  “You may have noticed my accent,” he said.  Uh, yeah, I did.  Where’s it from?  “Canada. Montreal.”  No freaking way this guy had a French Canadian accent.  I wanted to ask from where he had moved to Montreal, but let it slide, as I didn’t really care and didn’t want to encourage more conversation.  My girlfriends instantly deduced that Vlad and I were, sadly, not a romantic “match” and came to my rescue, suggesting we move the party to another bar.  Without Vlad.

“Well, it was nice meeting you,” I said, offering my hand for a shake.  “We’re heading on to the next bar.”

In the meantime, I’d been texting with another guy from Match, Ryan, who let me know he had been waiting at open office hours, but left when I didn’t show up.  “Sorry I was late!  There’s actually a line at Drink, so we’re heading across the street.”

“Be sure to tell Vladamir, he was looking for you.”

What???  Ryan had met Vladamir?  Just how many guys had shown up for these office hours, exactly?

When I finally met up with Ryan that night, he told me the story.  He was waiting in line at Drink behind Vladamir and struck up a conversation with him.  Then the bouncer came through the line and started asking people if they were part of a party or group.

“I’m meeting a girl named Daphne,” said Vladamir.

Ryan’s eyes popped.  “Uh, I’m just here meeting some friends,” he lied.

By the end of the night, I decided that open office hours had been a smashing success.  I had a fun night out with my girlfriends.  And I met two Match guys who were interesting to talk to, even though I ultimately didn’t think there was much of a “spark.”  I got to check two candidates off the list.  And really, Ryan and Vladamir are exactly the kind of men I’m hoping to weed out with this whole office hours process.  On paper, they’re both great guys, and very smart.  But in person, they were clearly just wrong.  I could have wasted weeks going back and forth with emails, getting to know these guys, only to have been disappointed (and wasted a whole evening) meeting one of them for a date.  Clearly, the office hours are much more efficient.

The girls and I are going to try it again, but with a few lessons learned:

1. Don’t go to Drink.  The line is way too long.

2. Keep in mind Daphne’s inability to be on time for anything when scheduling office hours.

3. This one isn’t really a “best practice,” and it might even be disastrous, but Elbie is insisting that I should let her hand-pick some of the men who come to the next office hours.  Knowing Elbie, she’ll probably pick some crazies just for the entertainment factor.  God knows there are plenty to choose from on Match.

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May 21, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Match.com “Open Office Hours”

After six months on Match.com, dozens of dates, and countless emails later, I’ve decided I’m sick of online dating! I’ve been putting in way too much effort to schedule and attend all of these dates, and with only lackluster results to show for it.  You see, on Match.com, you spend all this time looking over profiles, reading and responding to emails, and finally scheduling a date–only to discover with 5 seconds of meeting the guy that he’s definitely not the one. He’s too short, or smelly, or his voice is like nails on a chalkboard–all flaws that can be easily hidden on an online profile.

This is the fundamental problem with online dating: it completely flips the tried-and-true human courtship process on its head. Over thousands of years of evolution, our genes have developed ways of quickly and subconsciously evaluating a potential mate’s desirability. Within milliseconds of meeting a strange man, your brain is already sizing up his appearance, smell, voice, and body language to make an instant judgment as to whether he’s “hot” or “not.” Yes, it’s a cognitive shortcut, but psych studies show that first impressions actually tend to be very stable and reliable. Within 2 seconds, you have determined whether you want to get to know this guy better (or politely excuse yourself to go get another drink).  From there, a conversation takes place and you begin to learn more about each other, ultimately deciding over a number of dates whether you are well-matched in terms of intellect, emotions, and practical matters. Physical chemistry is just the baseline.

Compare that process to the modern methods of online dating, where you get to know each other and start to form attachments BEFORE even meeting in person to see if there’s any chemistry.  The net result is that you spend time getting to know lots of guys that look good on paper, but maybe are not so hot in real life.  It’s an endless disappointment.

And so, going forward, in order to save myself all the time and aggravation, I will no longer be accepting Match.com dates.  Instead, I will be holding “Open Office Hours” where Match.com suitors are welcome to come to a public place and say hi to me and my group of lovely girlfriends.  Sort of a group date or “meetup,” if you will.

Excited by my genius idea, I cut-and-pasted this email to a dozen guys in my Match.com inbox:

I’m a little burned out on Match and thinking about giving up. But my girlfriends and I have one more idea we wanted to try first. At the risk of being completely obnoxious, I’m pleased to announce our first-ever “Open Office Hours”! This Friday, May 11, from 9-11:00, my single girlfriends and I will be hanging out at Drink in Boston. Feel free to come by and say hi.  I’ll have a squadron of lovely single ladies with me (some of them are pictured in my Match photos, in case you want to scout out the talent in advance). 😉 Maybe we’ll see you there!

How would the men react?  Surprisingly, the reception was mostly warm.  I got one no:

The Office Hours idea is interesting but makes it seem very one way 🙂 One minor issue with your plan though – Drink usually has a line on Fridays and Saturdays so getting in is always a pain. it will have to be some really committed (or desperate) men that will wait in line for an hour just to get in 🙂 I will not be one of them.  -M

But I also had at least one taker:

I would be happy to meet with you and I could probably make it on Friday night. I am not sure about your girlfriends, but I certainly look forward to meeting you 🙂  Also, how many guys interested in you (i.e. that e-mailed you on Match) have you invited to your “Open Office Hours”?  -D

To find out how my “Open Office Hours” went, stay tuned for the next blog post!

May 14, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.