For their final report, our Reader Review dating crew chatted up Scandinavians at the Swedish Meet Ball, searched for models at a fashion show and shook things up at a drink-mixing class. We'll reveal who you voted for as the ultimate dater in Monday's RedEye and on metromix.com.
They rated each spot's hook-up potential, from one to four hearts.
First Fridays at CA
7 p.m. Friday
Modern art and I have never understood one another, but this monthly soiree at the Museum of Contemporary Art was a perfect match. The crowd's age ranged from 25 to 60 and was made up of clad-in-black artists and casual-and-curious singles like myself. I made a beeline for the make-your-own Valentine station, where I chatted with several guys. In the buffet line, I introduced myself to a hot guy named Ricky. Name excused, the guy was funny, and we really hit it off. After chatting, I decided to head up to the actual exhibit-with Ricky's number in hand. Singles were hitting on each other left and right, which made picking up easy. I left with four phone numbers, a greater appreciation for art, dozens of highly entertaining conversations and two homemade Valentines. What more could a single gal ask of a Friday night?
Rating: Four hearts
Singles drink-mixing class at Bootleggers
8:30 p.m. Friday
Singles events terrify me, evoking images of middle-aged men living in their parents' basements and women who own the entire Precious Moments bridal collection. I humbly stand corrected, however, after this class hosted by SASChicago, a philanthropic social club. The crowd was urban professionals in their late 20s, and if they do live in their parents' basement, I'm sure it's a very cool one. It started like a junior high dance with everyone segregated by gender. But that may have been due to the structure of the class: You're served drinks while listening to a lecture about different types of booze. Eventually, thanks to the open bar, the crowd became more sociable. But there's still something unnerving about being blatantly sized up for potential, so I wandered toward the regular Bootleggers crowd at the front of the bar, where I met and exchanged numbers with an intriguingly aloof club promoter.
Rating: Three hearts
Denz Unorthodox fashion show
8 p.m. Friday
For years I've firmly believed that off-the-beaten-path venues (i.e. anyplace that isn't a Lincoln Park bar) are excellent places to meet women. Now I would have a chance to prove myself right--with models--at this show at Flatfile gallery. My wingman and I arrived to find a DJ spinning hip-hop beats at deafening levels. Even if there were a model or, heck, even a single girl to be found, my witty repartee would fall upon deaf ears--literally. Instead we found couples and packs of dudes, and the only fashions we saw were folded T-shirts sitting on a counter. After 30 minutes we left for a totally on-the-beaten-path venue as a control experiment. Practically upon our arrival at Stanley's Kitchen and Tap, we meet two gorgeous women--a model and a fashionista, no less.
Rating: One heart
Swedish Meet Ball
8 p.m. Saturday
As an ethnic-looking Jewish girl, I was excited to be the standout brunette at this annual event at the Swedish American Museum Center. Surprisingly the crowd was multicultural, and my Israeli-born friend and I blended in like ABBA harmonies. The event had plenty of ways to meet people, including a scavenger hunt and a post office system that allowed singles to send each other messages. My mailbox stayed relatively full with messages from men like Martin, a purebred Swede who's lived in the U.S. for six months. I left with his phone number and the correct pronunciation of the word sjukskoterska. I also chatted with Matt, one of the event's organizers. We posed together in the picture booth--he in a Viking helmet and me in a Pippi Longstocking wig. I can't tell yet if either one of these flaxen-haired Scandinavians will stick around longer than IKEA furniture, but at least I know that there are other Swedish fish in the sea.
Rating: Four hearts
Uptown Poetry Slam
7 p.m. Sunday
I'll never go back to the Green Mill's Uptown Poetry Slam looking to pick up girls, but I would go back for the poetry. I was at a disadvantage because I wasn't able to relate to these girls at the most basic level: poetry. Plus, the environment is not conducive to picking up girls. You have a window of opportunity to meet someone before the show begins or during the brief intermission. But that's it. When the poetry starts, the conversation goes dead. Everyone is at tables, save the few of us curled around the main bar, so the opportunity to chat is only with your immediate neighbors. Looks like it's going to be another fruitless Valentine's Day for me.
Rating: Zero hearts