Dating online? LOL. All the kids are meeting IRL

How do you find love in Melbourne? The simple answer used to be visit your local pub and buy someone a drink. But then online dating – that beast with a terribly-spelt username full of people who claim to be “just over the club scene’ – took over with a vengeance.

Now, in the great tradition of cyclical trends, IRL dating – that’s ‘in real life’ – is slowly making a comeback.

But unlike meet ups of the previous century, where singles mingled awkwardly with a $5 glass of wine in their hands or took part in a ‘mystery’ dinner party run by a professional, the new wave of ‘meet ups’ are independently-run and based on single people’s quirks and interests.

Is craft your thing? You could knit a new connection in Fitzroy at Work-Shop’s ‘Craft Singles’ event on June 19. Or perhaps you prefer the outdoors and want to find the perfect fit for your canoe? There’s a singles event for that, too.

And if you don’t want to leave a blind date up to fate, you can join the Melbourne Astrology Meetup, where your next love is written in the stars.

Melbourne activist and writer Karen Pickering added a feminist ‘meet cute’ to her popular monthly series CherChez La Femme, after noticing how many feminists enjoyed meeting other people of the same persuasion.

“The events I run are just meant to be fun, engaging, warm spaces. I thought that seemed the right environment to introduce yourself to new people.”

She says doing an activity or having something in common can take the pressure off meeting someone for the first time and creates an instant conversation

“I think people do want to be in the same places as other people a bit like them and talk to them. And you’re already there because you like the same thing, so it’s a comfortable, happy place.”

While this grassroots revival is unlikely to topple online dating from its throne, Pickering adds that these events are “supplements” to Tindr and RSVP, where people make fast decisions on who they think they’ll like.

IRL dating groups also targets “deal-breakers” to help singles ensure they’ll meet someone who is sailing in the same direction – single parents, religiously devout and even “left-of-centre over 40s” are attracting hundreds of people to their regular events.

Sue Yorston from Relationships Australia, says she’s noticed the trend herself, saying it appears to be a reaction against the “instant gratification” of online.

“It’s a throwback to the ways we traditionally met people, which was through family or a shared interest, or event at work,” she says. “It’s very different to internet dating, where everything can happen very fast.”

“In person, you can see how people interact with other people, how they treat them – that’s very important and gives you a good idea about the type of person they are,” she adds.

And even if you don’t find the right gal or guy, then at least you’ll have made a nice scarf to keep you warm, even if your date won’t.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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