The Crazy New Way Men Are Meeting Women
Once upon a time, finding a partner involved little more than clubbing a woman over the head and dragging her by the hair back to the cave. My, how times have changed. In a series called Meeting Women In 2012, we take a look at how men are actually meeting women today, what’s changed, what hasn’t and why.
A few weeks ago, my friend made a confession at the bar. He told me he downloaded an app, chatted up a girl, met her in person that same evening at her place, fooled around in her building’s basement and then went home. On his walk back, he told me he felt a very specific type of elation, the rare kind you get when two opposing feelings on the same continuum — fear and excitement of the unknown — synthesize fluidly. And here I am undecided on online dating.
I judged him. I judged all of us. It’s a brave new world of dating that many of us, lost in the haze of our web 2.0 lives, are blind to recognize. It — how men are meeting women — is changing rapidly, and I couldn’t help but wonder what some of these other ways were.
Enter the Pheromone Parties. You sleep in a clean T-shirt for three nights to capture your body’s odor, then bring it to a party in a Ziploc bag. Guests smell the bags, which are labeled with a number and nothing more, letting their primal instincts guide their mate selection. The thought of answering “online” when someone asks me how I met my significant other kind of embarrasses me, but “body odor” is a mind f*ck I think a lot of us aren’t ready for.
But don’t be so quick to dismiss this as an obnoxious matchmaking party spawned from Hipsterdom. There’s something behind it, and who better to ask than Pheromone Parties creator Judith Prays?
Why did you decide to start the Pheromone Parties?
Judith Prays (JP): I had been online dating for years and kept getting into these two-month relationships that would fizzle out. They say if you want different results, do something different, so I went on a date with someone I wasn’t very interested in, an experiment. The whole date I was like, “Why are we hanging out?”, but then he kissed me — and the kiss was incredible, so I was like, OK, maybe we can go out again.
We ended up dating for two years, and it was and still has been my most signifigant relationship. The thing about him was I was obsessed with how he smelled — even when he smelled objectively nasty, I thought it smelled good. So I thought to myself, “Maybe we should be dating based on smell?”
How many have been thrown?
JP: One in brooklyn, one in L.A. Two more in L.A. next week [said parties have already occurred].
How exactly do pheromones work?
JP: Pheromones are the chemical triggers of sexual attraction in mammals. Pheromones determine fecundity; if you are attracted to someone’s pheromones, it is an indicator that you two will have healthy offspring. While not confirmed, it is suspected that males smell availability and females smell genetic quality.
Do we have any control over our own pheromones?
JP: Kind of — here are some tips to smelling your awesomest self.
Have the parties resulted in any long-term relationships?
JP: The longest relationship I know of was six months.
Can you briefly tell us about a success story?
JP: A friend told me at the party he had started talking to a girl, and then it turns out he had chosen her shirt. This kind of stuff happened all the time. A girl I know who is retardedly picky had the most-chosen shirt at the last party and ended up kissing someone at the party, which is unheard of for her.
But to me it’s more about breaking the ice. What’s successful to me about the party is that conversations start that wouldn’t usually start and strangers feel free to talk to each other — that is incredibly rare at a public event unless everyone is smashed. A guest, Tyler Stockton, later emailed me saying, “Instead of avoiding eye contact, most people seemed surprisingly eager to make some.” At the end of the day, though, I’m not a scientist, I’m a host — and as a host, that’s everything to me.
What other creative ways do you recommend people try to meet?
JP: Hmm, let’s see. The most important thing I have to say is it’s not what you do, it’s how you do. When you approach dating out of insecurity, you are repulsive. If you can approach dating with a mindset of curiosity and experimentation, you will be much more successful. So, for example, instead of going to a bar and thinking, “I have to meet someone tonight,” a better approach would be, “I wonder what will happen if I buy someone a drink, or if I’m the first person to start a dance party or if I wear my hair this way instead of that way.”
More specific things? Explore Craigslist. I love going on Craiglist adventures — like this postage stamp barter. People are sketched out by it, but if you can get over that the world is your oyster.
Also, when you’re going to a party where you won’t know most people, try to wear a piece that can start conversations. But in taste! A guy wore a fez to the last Pheromone Party and was mocked severely. It should be authentic to you. I like to wear a hat with my hometown on it (Long Beach, California) because that always starts interesting conversations quickly.
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