A New (And Less Noisy) Way To Date

A New (And Less Noisy) Way To Date

Our column on dating trends explores a new fad: Quiet Parties. But can you really create a love connection in silence?

by Amy Keyishian
p until recently, meeting someone at a bar could entail more shouting than sweet talk, as people struggle to be heard over the blaring music and rowdy crowds. For singles who are sick of going hoarse, there's now an alternative: Quiet Parties, events where people mingle by jotting down notes and passing them back and forth. Conversation is completely banned; even the most hushed "Come here often?" is met with a reprimand worthy of an old-school librarian.

Notes feel intimate; there's something sensual about writing and reading them.
"If people make noise, the other guests offer up a group ssshhh, and everyone giggles," says Paul Rebhan, who came up with the idea with his friend Tony Noe after they spent a Saturday night unsuccessfully scouring New York for a quiet place to talk to the objects of their affection. Since holding their first event in November 2003, Quiet Parties have spread to other cities, even as far as Beijing. Rebhan explains the allure: "The idea of going into a bar with 150 people where you can hear a pin drop is a very surreal experience," he says. "We've had people come, walk in, look around, and start laughing uncontrollably and have to go back outside, shake it off, and re-enter."

But can this unexpected silence and few scribbled sentences really lead to a love connection? Yes: Notes feel intimate, purely because someone took the time to write to you. "People find it quaint, reverting to something that's missing in society today," explains Rebhan. "It gives people time to reflect on what you're saying and also pause while it's being read. There's something sensual about it." And getting past the novelty can lead to dates. Rebhan's heard of guys passing notes like "Hey, you're really cute. Want to go talk somewhere?" with great results. To find or throw a Quiet Party near you, go to

Amy Keyishian writes for various magazines, including Stuff, Redbook, and Marie Claire. An enthusiastic conversationalist, she's quite sure she'd get kicked out of a quiet party in no time.
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