… An unforgettable IRL Singles event Recap.

Like many single 27 year-olds, I have at last two dating apps on my phone next to Candy Crush. Apart from the occasional “match” online, I haven’t actually connected with anyone who can be considered “relationship” material. I knew that my chances of meeting someone “real” were limited and it’s made me so tired of online dating. For starters, I work remotely two to three times a week, and the bachelors at my workplace don’t exactly make my heart beat faster! So when I heard about Secret RSVP, I thought I’d check it out. “It’s nothing like speed dating”, according to their website, so that piqued my curiosity. I have tried speed dating just once before (back when my best friend needed moral support) and the experience was, quite honestly, awful. I know it’s a staple in many singles’ dating life interested in real-life connections, but I think it’s because there really aren’t many alternatives out there.

Flashback to my last speed dating experience: there were 8 eager potential suitors waiting to socialize. As soon as my bestie and I arrived at the venue, I felt like I already knew whom I might be interested to learn more about. The process of speed dating, however, was that I had to “pretend” that I was interested in everyone and not presuppose the outcome. That really felt like a waste of time because even though I wasn’t physically attracted to a couple of guys who were present, I still had to go through the motions for 7 painful minutes each. That’s fourteen minutes of my life I will never earn back! 

Anyway, on the evening of my Secret RSVP event, I felt super nervous, not knowing what to expect from a singles event. As I walked up to the venue, the vibe felt somewhat interesting. It was like a gathering of old friends at a reunion party. The two event hosts were casual and friendly. They seemed down to earth, not aloof. They asked for my name and checked me in on their iPhone. They told me that now that I am “checked in”, I would be able to see the profiles of all the gentlemen present at the event when I log into the Secret RSVP app. I had already created my profile on the app when I purchased my event ticket three weeks ago.

About ten people had already arrived at the event by the time I got there. I sat at a table next to three other singles and struck up a casual conversation. They seemed really nice and excited to start socializing. Across from us at a different table, I could see that there was a gentleman who appeared quite nervous. He was sitting alone at a table, trying to look busy on his phone. Within a few minutes, one of the hosts went over and started chatting with him. I thought that was a nice gesture to help put him at ease. 

As more people began arriving, the atmosphere was becoming more lively and filled with laughter. I looked over at the host table and saw that some people were turned away. I wondered why and went over to ask one of the hosts, who was named Tae. She explained that there was a speed dating event organized by a different company in the same venue but a different room. The ladies whom I thought were turned away were actually registered for that speed dating event. I guess they were drawn to the lively music and vibrant atmosphere from our side of the camp. The bonus (icing on the cake) was the seemingly more attractive people at our Secret RSVP event! I’m not sure what it is but maybe active singles tend to be more attractive? I felt bad for those ladies.

When most of the attendees had arrived, about 50 singles or so, the host kicked things off with a warm welcome, some instructions and an overview of what to expect. She even announced that there would be a grand lucky draw prize for movie tickets at the end of the event. The host then distributed “Get to know you” bingo cards to everyone and we went around the room in a free mingle. Each bingo square was designed to break the ice as you ventured around the room to find a single who met the criteria. I met lots of great people, including a fellow who “Lives with 2 dogs”, another who “Has eaten roadkill”, and yet another who “Drives a Tesla”. I thought the large group ice-breaker was a great way to get introduced to everyone at the event. It really helped me with knowing whom to add to my secret guestlist on the phone app.

A short break after the singles bingo event, the host reminded everyone to update their guestlist with attendees they are interested in meeting in smaller groups. I thought at first things may get awkward with all heads down on their phones, but interestingly, it felt socially acceptable when everyone whipped out their phones to update their personal guestlists! In fact, I think that for some of the attendees, including that anxious gentleman, being able to use the phone likely helped remove any awkwardness.

There were a total of three live-matched rounds in the event. Before each round, I received a notification on the app of my group assignment based on my secret guestlist. The energy in the room was contagious! Every time we received our small group assignments, we picked up our drinks and played some musical chairs to get acquainted with our new group of six (3 gals and 3 guys) for about 20 minutes per round. I think the mystery of who had whom in their secret guestlist charged the atmosphere. In two of three of my group assignments, I got to meet two really cute guys in my secret guestlist. It was awesome because they didn’t know that I was interested in them. That really took away the pressure. In fact, after secretly observing and interacting with one of the fellows I thought was cute, I realized he wasn’t my type. Good thing he didn’t know I was checking him out. 

The games we played in our small group assignments were hilarious! I never thought that a singles event could be so engaging. Tae explained that the games are cleverly designed by the Secret RSVP creators to break the ice and help singles get to know one another in a low-pressure setting. In the first round, it was guys vs gals in a game called “Live-Matched”. Each couple in the group took turns to draw a card and shout out an answer in rapid fire style. I learned so much about the way two of the guys I was secretly interested in think. It’s amazing how much you can learn about others through play. The games succeeded in drawing out different personalities, from the apathetic to the fiercely competitive types. They built camaraderie among team members, forming new bonds between strangers. 

In my final group assignment, we played a super-charged game called Anomia. I hadn’t played it before but a quick explanation of how it works by the hosts gave our group a great start to a super fun experience. My quick reflexes allowed me to beat my opponents and collect the most number of cards. I wasn’t sure which fellow in the group was secretly interested in me since I knew I hadn’t picked any of them for my list. We had so much fun together that they really grew on me. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed them before. Maybe that’s why the slogan for Secret RSVP is “discover chemistry secretly”.

By the end of the evening, everyone had become close pals. For me, the entire event reminded me of the team-building events I’ve been involved in, except in a social setting. Tae reminded us that in one hour, we can start messaging anyone we met at the event to continue the social experience. The messaging portal stays open for 48 hours, enough to exchange contacts if there is mutual interest. I made so many social connections, both guys and gals. I was particularly attracted to Tim from my group 2 assignment. He was on my secret guestlist but I wondered if he had also picked me? 

I didn’t end up winning the lucky draw but what a night! It was a fun and unique social experience – definitely one I would attend again in a heartbeat. I came home to five messages in my Secret RSVP inbox, yes, including one from Tim! Having shared a fun outing with everyone that night made it easy to send a casual follow-up message after the event. I met like five potential romances in a single night out, plus three new girlfriends! I will definitely delete my dating apps in exchange for Secret RSVP’s real-life social experience! Oh, and stay tuned about Tim. 🙂

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