In Jan 2012 an article went viral (at least in my home province of Vancouver, BC) entitled:
“Do Vancouver Women Suck?” Here’s the link: http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/Do_Vancouver_Women_Suck_A_Readers_Response
It led the author, Jorge Amigo, to create a social event called “Be My Amigo” to encourage people to talk to strangers. You can follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/AmigoJor
It was a great concept in a city that has a bit of a reputation for having less friendly folks and more chilly, stand-offish types.
I’ve lived here for 15 years and I have a great group of friends, but it took awhile. I am single these days and looking for a partner. I know that I need to get myself out there (my real life self, not my persona). So although this event wasn’t supposed to be a singles event, I guessed that it would probably predominately be a singles thing anyway.
It was intimidating as fuck walking into the place alone. None of these ‘friendly’ strangers welcomed me as I arrived and it looked like all the seats were taken so I went to the bar & ordered a (non-alcoholic) drink. I knew getting tipsy would make this easier but I’ve really been cutting back to almost no-booze for health reasons so I stuck with that (regrettably).
I wandered around aimlessly for a moment, wishing I hadn’t come…no friendly gestures or eye contact detected from the approx. 50 ‘amigos’ until I finally spotted the host & gave him my friendliest smile. We chatted for a moment & he suggested I just shove in and create a place to sit. I looked around trying to find a place near a guy but ended up with one ass cheek hanging off the end of a bench…at a table full of women.
The gal I was next to was charismatic, smart, well-traveled, interesting and smart. I was in good company and I enjoyed my conversations with her. I even told her about my occupation which she seemed very non-judgmental about. So far so good…but I wasn’t really there to meet chicks. The ratio of women to men was about 70/30…and the men were nearly impossible to get to.
The host checked in with me and I suggested some sort of musical chairs game to get people moving around. Most people were glued to their spots only socializing with the people closest to them. This sucked because I knew I was going to have to talk to the woman across from me and from what I’d seen so far, I knew we wouldn’t click.
I was right and when I was finally cornered into telling her my occupation I got a reaction of disgust like I’d just told her I slaughter baby seals for kicks. Awesome. We all know how I love judgement so it was not long after I threw in the towel and made my exit. As I left I spotted a couple of cute guys I would have loved to chat with…but they were sandwiched between other people on the benches & I couldn’t have inserted myself even if I greased myself head-to-toe in lube.
I take the lions share of the responsibility for not being socially assertive enough to ‘get in there’ and talk to those strangers…but I also have to offer some constructive criticism to the charming and lovely host:
It’s time to move venues. I love the Union, great food & awesome service…but the seating is not conducive to mingling. You need a space with a bar people can stand/sit at, maybe small, high tables and a lot of room to stand and shimmy from group to group. It’s a Tuesday evening, pretty much ANY bar in Vancouver would be thrilled to have a party of 50+, you can go wherever you want!
That’s my 2 cents…after hanging one ass cheek off of a bench for a couple hours and only having conversations with a few of the 50+ strangers because of the awkward seating. If all the people there had awesome social skills we probably wouldn’t need an event like this to meet people. Make it as easy on us as possible!
Jorge: Keep up the great work! You have a positive thing here and it’s growing. Growing pains are a good problem to have:-)
Members site: http://www.MistressT.net
Pingback: The Hunt: A Report from Vancouver | A Life Un-Lived
I really enjoy reading your blog and particularly this topic as I recognise some of those difficulties and feelings/thoughts behind this post from my own self too.