The commercial gives you a good idea of how it works. You need a premium, paid subscription to Match.com. When they're organizing an event in your area, you'll receive an email invitation. You RSVP; you'll get a couple of reminders, and your name will be on a list at the event.
(Your invite and reminders warn you that if you RSVP yes, not showing up or canceling could affect your receipt of invites to future events. Basically - match is looking to fill these events, and no-shows don't fit the plan.)
So, I signed up. I wasn't overly interested; I'd already met Sparrow, and wanted to see where that might lead. But my curiosity got the best of me.
According to the commercials, they organize all kinds of events - wine tastings, bowling, cooking classes, etc. My event (the first locally) was a happy hour. The venue was a small bar which, it turns out, was closed off to the public for the event. Not only that - match had the TVs at the bar turned off, to encourage us to talk to each other, rather than get distracted.
(They did not have us turn in our phones.)
So how was it? Well, first of all, it really was just a happy hour. A local bar, nice atmosphere, filled with more women than men, most of whom were drinking. Some sitting at the bar, a few at tables, and some just standing around. Women congregated to once side, men to the other (like a high school dance); there were a few brave souls who ventured into the middle and mixed it up a bit.
Happy hours are not really my thing. I don't drink, and I always feel out of my element in a bar or lounge. A sports bar, where I can watch a baseball game? Fine. Trivia? OK. But just standing around in a bar, trying to talk to strangers? Meh - not really my thing.
But - don't knock it til ya try it, right?
I have to say - there is one major difference between the Match event and a regular happy hour: You walk in knowing that everyone in the room is single, and looking to meet new people. It's also obvious, after about 5 minutes, that every one of them - even the ridiculously good-looking - feel as awkward as you.
There's something a little empowering about knowing you're not alone.
I went on my own; it took about 3 minutes to locate a group of women who were friendly and, it turned out, a lot of fun. If you're really too scared to go it alone - your invite will probably allow you to bring a friend. Take them up on that offer. No single friends? Who cares! Bring a married friend. Hey, you just need the company, and this way, you're not really adding to the competition.
If it comes down to going alone, or not going at all - go. Step outside your comfort zone; try something new. Hey - if you're trying to meet someone, and haven't yet, maybe it's time to try something different. Maybe an event like this is exactly what you need.
If it doesn't work out - you'll at least have a good story.