Is Match.com the ultimate dating expert?
That was a question I hoped to answer when I attended a recent Stir Event. My conclusion: Stir Event certainly fell short as a matchmaking opportunity.
But you be the final judge.
What was missing for me? Here was the scene I encountered.
The bar area at Ceviche in Clearwater was just what attendees may have expected: It was filled with smart, well-dressed individuals, so the folks at Match.com got it right with the setting.
From what I gathered, the ladies were allowed to bring a guest and although a good amount of guys were in attendance, the ladies out-numbered the men. The age group ranged from 40-60.
Everyone seemed poised for that ah-ha moment. But that cliffhanger marked the end of the opportunity for a satisfying event.
Even the Match.com Hostess must have realized the event was doomed. She didn’t show up until it was almost over.
I felt like we were being rounded up at the watering hole as we gathered around the bar area. My heart goes out to the over-worked bartenders as they tried to get everyone a drink.
With the power to draw such a willing and desirable demographic, you would think Match.com might work some magic in advance with the restaurant and arrange for drink specials and some sort of munchies provided. But event fell short in this area. Happy hour was just that – for a short period of time.
When this was found out by the crowd, there was a stampede at the corral with ordering extra drinks.
There was music in the adjoining room which must have been for mood enhancement; however in this sitting, it would have been uncomfortable to dance. Scattered tables, with far less seating, as the atmosphere was for mix and mingling.
But here is where the problem was at this "live" event. Match.com may be “the experts in dating” online, with profiles gathered, age groups and areas grouped together, even some common interests united to match as potential partners.
However, a live event is a different animal altogether. We don’t wear our profiles, and therefore it is somewhat harder to make a connection in person.
Match.com fell short in realizing many do not know how to date, mix or even mingle in this new era of virtual socializing 24/7.
Many of these middle-age singles have been in singluar relationships most of their lives and are now thrown out into the dating market. They don’t know the first thing about socializing within such an event or group setting, let alone pursuing a courtship.
Most of the men stood around the walls, like they were in a bad sock-hop movie, while the ladies do what we do best. Gather and chat. Match.com had no ice breaker, nothing to co-mingle the people. They simply facilitated the bar and some over-priced drinks and said, "Hey gang, go for it!"
Match.com needs to know if it wants to organize and expand into the real world of dating, it needs to get real and be real.
Dating is much more than the few bucks spent to compile data in order to match two people with common interests.
Dating truly is the art of connecting the heart and soul of potential partners.