Dating with a Twist

Blind dates have been around since the dawn of time; when you think about it, the first blind date was Adam and Eve. Humans have always sought companionship.

But the creation of the internet was arguably dating’s greatest game changer. For the first time you could encounter strangers first via email, then through dating websites and more recently social media.

Quarantine has brought about dating’s latest evolution, speed dating live.

Detroiter Bria Renee has been hosting live speed dating via Instagram.

Here’s how it works.

Renee announces when she is going live on Instagram and potential suitors have the opportunity to request to go live with her for a seven-minute speed date.

“If our date goes well or if they feel like it’s some sort of connection, they can leave their number in the DM (direct message),” said Renee.

The 27-year-old recent Wayne State grad says she put off dating while in school, and looked forward to 2020 being her year to explore conventional dating scenes like happy hours and networking events.

“Then the coronavirus hit and I wasn’t able to. I still want to date, but because of social distancing I’m not able to meet anybody, so I [thought] I should do a speed dating live.”

Thus “DateLIVE: Speed Dating with a Twist” was born, and in an era where some people under 30 won’t dare to post even a hand of someone they are romantically pursuing, this approach is unique to say the least.

Renee admits her first attempt was not as successful as she initially hoped. There wasn’t any advance notice, nobody was willing to go live with her, and only about eight people viewed the live Instagram feed.

Renee tweeted about her disappointment and someone responded with a fix: announce before you go live. “I did and it turned out to be this amazing thing,” said Renee.

This time around she dressed up, had a glass of wine, and a playlist ready in the background. She even pinned her Cash App information so people could “buy” her drinks, and yes people did take her up on her offer.

“People were actually dating me and the engagement was off the charts. It was really fun.”

For those not familiar with Instagram live, it’s essentially a public FaceTime. The app allows you to go live with anyone with an account. Your followers, their followers, and anyone else on Instagram can view the live feed and also comment.

For a first date, the task of making yourself that available could be daunting to some, a challenge Renee did not foresee.

“I didn’t think as many people were going to be in the lives, so I was like oh, it’s not going to be that big of a deal.” Once Renee saw how many were participating, she realized that this put a lot of pressure on some people. “I feel like if you want to date somebody you have to be courageous in a sense.”

Still, the internet can be a tough crowd, and while being quarantined, people are looking for entertainment and that is often reflected hilariously in the comments of Renee’s live feed.

“People that comment, they make jokes about me, too. Nobody is exempt, but I don’t want people to be bothered by that especially now that we are in quarantine. People are just bored…trying to make themselves laugh and have a good time.”

In addition to laughter, you may also come across helpful dating tips.

“All the people that come into my live are not people I am trying to date. I asked one of my friends who is married when did he know that he met his wife, and what was their dating experience like…It’s actual conversations being had too.”

When it comes to dating online or in person Renee says there are a few things to keep in mind:

First and foremost be confident, not even with just dating but how you present yourself as a whole.

Make it interesting. You don’t know what people are seeing. What makes people stand out is a funny joke, or something they noticed about you.

Rejection happens. It happens to the best of us, so don’t take it so harshly.

Just have fun. Dating is supposed to be fun. If it’s anything other than that, that may not be the person for you.

As for the success of Renee’s speed dating…

“I have prospects. It’s so funny because I did not think that I would. I have four so far, so we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how these texts and phone calls go.”

Follow Bria Renee on Instagram @thebriarenee for updates on her next live speed dating session.

 

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