Dating is hard. Dating in NYC is excruciatingly hard. In the hustle and bustle of a gleaming metropolis inhabited by millions of single men, you’d think it would be easy to find some romance or, at the very least, a date or two. We New Yorkers are always on the go, though — we barely have enough time in the day for our careers, creative endeavors, the gym, and friends. When will we ever have the time to find romance?
There are numerous ways to meet men in the city but are they really that effective? I’ve trolled the bars and, yes, I’ve surfed the apps. I’ve let friends fix me up and now I hate those friends. I’ve gone to mix and mingle single events and stood in a corner, getting drunk and talking shit to the friend I duped into coming with me. I even attended a speed dating event and died a slow death.
So, when my pal Eric Fleming announced that he was hosting a dating event for gay men in Brooklyn called EluciDate, I was apprehensive but still intrigued. I adore Eric — he is a successful life coach and also the super-fun host of the smart, salacious podcast called “You Did What?!” I agreed to attend the event but, to be honest, was immediately filled with anxiety when I thought about meeting men at yet another dating event. To alleviate my uneasiness, I caught up with Eric today for a chat about EluciDate to find out what I can expect at the soiree and how EluciDate will be a unique stand-out from other events.
TYLER: Eric! What is EluciDate? What does the name mean?
ERIC: EluciDate is a series of interactive and exploratory social events for people that want to have more ease and fun with dating. I came up with the name because dating and love are areas that escape a lot of people. It can be confusing, muddy, intimidating — the list goes on. I wanted to create a project that removes the confusion and frustration and replaces it with clarity and fun. In other words, make dating clear.
TYLER: Okay, that sounds cool. What can guys expect when they attend EluciDate?
ERIC: You can expect a good time! It’s a very social event. We start off with a mixer and play a few games. Then we dive into some exploration about partnership and what we want in a relationship . From there you’ll have an opportunity to connect with at least 3 guys before you go home.
TYLER: How will this event differ from other gay dating and networking events?
ERIC: Other events have a way of making you feel thrown out to the wolves. This experience is curated so that you immediately feel like you’re part of the collective. You enter and you’re greeted with a drink and a smile, and immediately introduced to other guests. I don’t just leave you to it. I wanted to channel the feeling of being invited to a friends house for drinks.
I’ve worked to incorporate ways to make communication easy and active throughout the event. There will be one-on-one time, small group chats, as well as larger group activities. You, as a guest, don’t have to “work” to engage. I’m there to help you do it. Think of it like having an ever-present wingman. (NOTE FROM TYLER: Having gone out for drinks with Eric, I can attest that he’s an excellent wingman!)
TYLER: You’re a brilliant licensed life coach and you also host a popular podcast show that is both saucy and sexually political. What inspired you to venture into event hosting?
ERIC: EluciDate is a natural expression and extension of the podcast and my work in coaching. All of these things are rooted in stronger connections with others, alignment with our core values and beliefs, and finding an approach that feels better. This is a group coaching project focused on the ideas behind show topics, if you will (love, belonging, relationships, sex, connection, etc.)
TYLER: What are three tips that you can offer to a guy like me who is interested in attending EluciDate but is shy and hesitant to attend mixers like EluciDate?
ERIC: 1. Show up. Allow yourself to be surprised. Chances are if you’re interested in meeting someone but you let anxiety dictate your action, you won’t get the response you’re actually looking for. If you want something different, you have to do something different.
2. Find a sense of play. If you can approach dating — or conversations in general — as curious, and playful, they no longer become this anxious exchange of power. Your job is to be curious about the person in front of you. That’s it.
3. Wine helps everything…and we’ll have plenty of it.