services 05.10.10


OnSpeed Dating
Does the idea of "speed-dating" creep you out? Amber Soletti used to feel that way, too. "I remember sitting across from someone who I didn't respond to on Match and he just started berating me," she recalls. So Soletti (along with business partner Carmine Di Re) launched a company with specific themes for its social mixers—like "Size Matters" (tall singles only), "Playing With Fire" (date a fireman) and "Laugh and Love" (date a comedian)—to make the process fun but also selective. Pros: Because events are so niche, dating dealbreakers (too-short guys, non-NYFD) shouldn't be an issue. Cons: "Cougar/Boy Toy Hunt," "Hot for Teacher," seriously? Who's it for: Picky daters in their early- to mid-30s. Cost: $20 to $40 per event.

Save the Date(ing)
This year-old matchmaking service brings together a select group of New Yorkers for three to five activities per month, from sailing trips to tequila tastings to pizza making. "Select" isn't used lightly here: Everyone who wants to join must submit to a one-on-one interview. Pros: The vetting process should weed out the wackos. Cons: There are just 280 active members and a waiting list for women (to keep the girl/guy ratio balanced, at least 10 more men need to sign up). Who's it for: Outgoing people in their mid-20s to early 40s. Cost: Quarterly membership starts at $150 and events are extra.

The BK Hookup
Probably the only Brooklyn event where you won't run into Marty Markowitz, these singles parties are as quirky as they come. The recent Pajama Party Meatup at a Gowanus-area club featured a wet T-shirt contest, a "performance artist" in a bunny mask doling out butterfly kisses, dee-jays and lots of alcohol. Founded last year by Brooklyn bloggers Erica Reitman and Nicole Davis, the Hookups, says Reitman, aren't typical mixers "because the activities are fun and out-there and appeal to both guys and girls. Plus, they're totally optional." Pros: Free booze and good tunes. Cons: The ratio can be skewed (usually to the guys' advantage) since tickets are also sold at the door. Who's it for: Alternative 20-somethings with a Brooklyn orientation. Cost: $10 to $15 per event.

Meet Market Adventures
Finding true love on a firing range? Anything's possible when you sign up at this site for "adventurous" singles. Around 50 activities offered each month, from the exotic—scuba-diving, hang-gliding, shooting a gun—to the more commonplace. "We don't play match-maker; if you like hiking, great, if you meet someone while hiking, that's even better," says Scott Angarola, its New York director. Pros: With 30,000 singles in its database, there's a good chance you'll find a Dirty Harry who can make your day. Cons: There is no screening process, although Angarola claims, "that's part of the adventure." Who's it for: Active professionals, age 25 to 45. Cost: Depends on the event. An all-day flying lesson, which includes round-trip van transportation, is $179.99. (First-timers can get your choice of a free event by emailing here.)

Dating for a Cause
Want a way to meet do-gooders while doing some good? This "philanthropic" dating service organizes volunteer activities for singles—a recent Saturday project was cleaning up Seward Park—followed by an evening after-party. If your schedule doesn't allow for volunteering, not to worry, a portion of proceeds from each mixer go to charity. Pros: Come away feeling altruistic, even if you don't meet that special somebody. Cons: Meeting guys who would rather hug trees than girls. Who's it for: Slightly older good Samaritans. Cost: Tickets start at $7 (free for volunteers).

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