This guy’s wedding secured Steve Hallo the top spot!
In 2002, Tracy Corpus began operating Progressive Daters, Inc. after reading about the events and going out to Chicago to check one out.
“I brought the idea back home and improved on it,” Corpus said, explaining the inception of her company. In 10 years of operation, the company has received confirmation of 178 couples who met at an event and later got married. Do the math: That’s more than one a month for the past decade.
Progressive follows the format of speed dating, where each participant has three minutes to chat, then they move on to the next table. The company averages about one event a month, but during February they host nights for all five age groups. Corpus says that they usually draw between 40 and 60 people per event.
“The most important thing is to come to have a good time and meet people,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter if you meet the love of your life or just someone to go out to get a drink with on Friday night.”
People can preregister online or show up the day of the event, though if the ratio of male to female participants gets beyond 2:1 either way, members of that gender will be unable to sign up until the numbers even out.
Upon arriving at D’vine Wine Bar, I grabbed a drink and registered for the evening’s 25-to-40 event. For a Tuesday night in January, with the snow blowing and the wind carrying a frosty bite, the turnout was more than I expected. A number of attractive women were lounging about the bar, which was a promising sign.
The number I received after registering was four, meaning that once the party started rolling, the first lady I would meet would also be assigned the number four. After chatting for three minutes, all the guys get up and move to the next number in succession until everyone has met everyone else.
While the time seems to go by pretty quickly, it is simply adhering to the old adage of “time flies … .” All the women at the event I attended were pleasant enough that the clock seemed to move in double time. However, I could imagine that having to speak with someone you don’t click with for three minutes could seem to drag on for what feels like three hours. This is clearly why the time limit is set the way it is.
As for the way the whole setup works, it’s fairly ingenious. Everyone is given a simple form to fill out with the other person’s name and assigned number. After meeting them, if you think you’d like to see the person again, simply circle “yes.” It’s kind of like passing notes in middle school. You can cut right to the chase with the “Do you like me? Check ‘yes’” approach, with the added benefit of a bit of anonymity. If both parties circle “yes,” they will receive an e-mail from Progressive Daters with the contact information so they can arrange a date.
Probably the greatest part about the whole setup is the variety of people you can meet. On the night I attended, I met women who worked in finance, health care and education, and who lived all over NEO and were interested in a plethora of different things. As a man who loves all women, it was truly a treat to meet such a diverse crowd of ladies. I mean, where else can you be introduced to upward of 20 single gals, get to find out a little bit about them, and possibly make a connection? Of course, it works both ways, and the ratio of men to women is kept even — unlike a party at Will Flannigan’s
, which is strictly dudes only.
I guess the Internet could do that. But as one gal pointed out, the Internet lacks that intimacy you get when meeting face to face.
If you are dreading spending another Valentine’s Day alone, don’t. Progressive Daters will be holding events for all age categories throughout February, with most being held at D’vine Wine Bar in Downtown Cleveland. On Feb. 7, an event will be held for people ages 35 to 49, while on Feb. 8 folks 25 to 40 will have a chance to find romance. People in the 45-to-59 age group will have a chance to mingle on Feb. 12, and on Feb. 13 the night is all about those ages 30 to 45. On Valentine’s Day, the 21-to-35 age group will have a very special event being held at Cleveland’s Bar Louie. Preregister or learn more at ProgressiveDaters.com
For anyone wondering if I had any bites, of course I did. After all, I am the world’s most eligible bachelor.
Photo by: Erocka