“He Wasn’t My Type… So I Changed It”

One writer who found her boyfriend at a Stir event shares five tips for her fellow daters.

By Jami Kelmenson

few weeks ago, my boyfriend of three months turned to me at my neighborhood bar where we were enjoying a margarita and — with a sullen look on his face — said to me, “You’re not my type.” You would think this would send me into breakup reconnaissance mode, which is what happens when you know it’s coming and you want to appear strong and in control when you’re
Don’t check people out before deciding whether or not you’ll speak to them.
really falling apart inside. But I didn’t flinch, because he wasn’t my type, either — which is exactly what I told him.

What difference did it make? We were enjoying each other’s company (as long as we stayed away from conversations about religion or politics). My “type” would live in Manhattan, or at least work there. He would have graduated college. And while we’re at it, he’d be six feet tall and look like George Clooney, too. It works both ways; his type would look like Salma Hayek.

Oh, but it gets worse; he loves cats. I’m allergic.

So what are we doing together?
That’s what my new boyfriend was wondering that night at the bar. We’ve both gone over it — with ourselves, each other and trusted friends. But the more time that passes, the more things like religion, politics, education, income level, geography and love of pets all seem to become more manageable. Not because “we’re in love,” but because what you really want isn’t always something that can be distilled down to a list of demographic preferences.

So what does this say about the very foundation of online dating sites, which provide matches based on what you both have in common? Nothing — it’s fine to go out with people that share your interests and beliefs. But it’s also fine to think outside of the virtual box when it comes to your dating preferences and allow the possibility of someone stirring you up a bit.

And speaking of “stir,” that’s where we met — at a Stir event.

More ways to meet
The downtown Manhattan restaurant that hosted my first Stir event was billed as “an exotic time-out-of-time place” on their website. I wasn’t looking for him at this “mysterious, adventurous, decadent” venue; I was looking for my perfect match. I don’t think his profile would ever have shown up in my daily matches, nor would mine have shown up in his. He’s no George Clooney, and I’m no Salma Hayek. At the Stir event, our eyes didn’t meet from afar, angels didn’t surround us, and violins didn’t start playing. But something
Just add that person to your “Favorites” and see what happens next.
else happened: He made me laugh, and kept me laughing all night. I didn’t think I was particularly interested in meeting someone with a great sense of humor. I’d always thought of myself as the funny one in my relationships, so that quality never made it onto my list of must-haves. But more than that, I felt instantly like he was there for me; that I could count on him. How do you set out looking for that?

There are other reasons why we’re together, and we’re still exploring what these are as our relationship progresses. But here are my five tips for attending Stir events that might make the idea of entering a room full of living and breathing dating profiles you’d never glance at twice, a surprising (if not match-making) experience:

5 tips for navigating a Stir event
1. The right attitude is everything. If you really have to push yourself out the door to attend this type of function, maybe you should wait until you’re feeling more excited for it. If you walk into a Stir event with a preconceived notion that this will be a waste of your time, then it will be. If you set out to have fun, then you might actually, well, have fun.

2. Don’t just stand in a corner; be proactive. Don’t check people out before deciding whether or not you’ll speak to them. Speak to everyone — men, women, bartenders, even the bouncer. After all, the vision of you engaged in conversation with someone at one of these parties is highly attractive. The vision of you standing on the sidelines sipping your beverage while your eyes dart around the room? Not so much.

3. Bring a friend — then split up and mingle. I went to my first Stir event with a girlfriend. We chatted for a bit, and the minute she started talking to someone else, I took my cue. I worked the room a few times, smiling or starting a conversation with anyone in my path, regardless of gender. (See tip #2 above.) Until I came upon two guys sitting at a table in the back of the restaurant. Without giving it any thought, I blurted out, “Why are you two sitting all alone over here? That’s what women usually do.” To make a long story short, one of them is the guy I shared that margarita with a few weeks ago.

4. Take the pressure off — make an online connection afterwards. One of the great things about a Stir event is that you are all part of the same club, so to speak. So if you don’t get around to finishing (or starting) a conversation with someone you may be interested in, you can always find that person’s profile on and follow up via the site the next day. ( makes it easy to find profiles for each event’s attendees through your mobile device.) Just add that person to your “Favorites” and see what happens next. Or try a bolder approach: send an email to the effect of, Sorry I didn’t get a chance to catch up with you at the wine tasting last night; will you be attending the next Stir event in two weeks?

5. Have plans for directly after the event. This is yet another way to take the pressure off. If you have plans directly after the Stir event, this can work to your benefit in two ways: One, your goal for the evening won’t be to find “The One,” so you can relax, have fun and socialize with ease until you head off to your real plans for the night; and two, if you do meet someone you’d like to get to know better, you can always invite that person to join you. That’s how it worked for me, I mean, for us.

Jami Kelmenson is a freelance writer and blogger living and loving in NYC. She’s a contributing author to the “Flying Solo” chapter of The 52 Weeks book (Skyhorse, 2013), based on the popular blog, and also a contributor to ShelfPleasure, the destination spot for women who love reading. Read of her ongoing tales of travel, life and love in NYC at
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