At Sunday night singles mixer We’ve Got A Crush On You, the thrill of seeking sex is tweeted loud and clear.
It’s that time of year when sex is on the brain, and the brain can’t control it. As we inch closer to summer, the mentality shifts from hiding at home to seeking out the best patio. On Saturday night, GotStyle Menswear hosted “The Mile High Club” at the Spoke Club. Quinn West, a hair studio on Queen West, also hosted a little something with what looked like shirtless men wearing bowties serving drinks. (At least I think that’s what I saw walking by.) There’s a new Calvin Harris banger slowly going viral. And coming off my own Friday-night efforts pulling together a fundraising jam for this year’s SlutWalk, I thought it was only fitting to end off the weekend seeking out more of that sex-positivity—both in spaces, and in people.
Almost a month ago, when The Grid’s Sex Detective wrote about “We’ve Got a Crush on You,” the first edition of a Sunday night mixer for “sex-positive young peeps,” I suspected it would be a “seeing is believing”-type event. Why? Because the simple act of reading about “an open call for the young and horny of all persuasions to gather…for an evening of ‘making sex-positive friends’ and finding new lips to ‘slobber on’” couldn’t possibly compare to the actual experience of attending one.
In brief: the mixer is the brainchild of Caitlin Roberts, a perky ingénue who pens the sex blog To Be A Slut, and her liked-minded friends like Jesse Rae West and “non-monogamy” blogger “K” who chronicles her experiences anonymously on Taken But Available*. It’s all designed to launch I’d Tap That, a new sex resource for young people that operates sort of like a collective, and to promote Roberts’ Body Pride sex workshops (where I hear nudity is totes involved). Last night was the inauguration. All orientations and all persuasions welcome.
It’s this recurring theme of just being you that’s pushing the next frontier of having a good time. The people, as they say, are sick of bullshit and labels. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about these “special spaces,” or the need for them, it’s that they each come with their own expectations. The Central on Markham Street (just outside Koreatown) is the last place I thought to look for an event like this, especially with a Spanish rock band blowing out the first floor.
So, what the hell does one do at a singles mixer? Or at a place where everyone knows why we’re here, but, like, either doesn’t want to admit it or sidesteps the question all together? “I just wanted to see what it’s like” is the general consensus most can get on board with. The anticipation is that it won’t be a Bay Street bar. That’s obvious, but it’s more about attitude. It’s that familiar need for a party where you can come as you are, without any of the aggressive undertones that come with trying to meet someone at any other night with way more variables. (For one, you can anticipate no one’s pre-drinking at 6 p.m. on a Sunday, so that means minimal stumble-ers and slur-ers straight out of the gate.) All of my friends who opted out cringed at the idea. But why?
Just after 8 p.m., ascending amidst heart-shaped balloons, you can smell something in the air: excitement, anticipation, or a hint of desperation—I’m just not sure. We’re handed a number upon entry; I’m Number 92. I’ve brought 93 and 94 with me. I wonder about the body attached to Number 69 (because, clearly, I’m still 16). The numbers serve a purpose: you can message prospects anonymously through a “Crush Box.” Just fill out a sex-agram with your sultry messages and I’d Tap That will tweet it out on your behalf. (Like this.) Or you can tweet a message from your own account and avoid the middleman. (Like this.) It’s all there on the Tweetscreen (the centerpiece of the dancefloor, which was otherwise marked by Arcade Fire album tracks and Lykke Li collabs) for you to follow along with in real time using the hashtag #CrushTO. But no one brings up the fact that you can just, I don’t know, approach each other. (Okay, someone likely did, but not to me.)
In the era of social media, it’s easier to mobilize. But is it actually easier to meet? Sure, we could all approach each other, but Twitter is supposed to remove the awkwardness. (It doesn’t.) So I decide to put the system to the test. I choose Number 140, based on the maxinum number of characters in a tweet, and send out a message: “#140 you’re cute. #92.” Then we wait for this mystery person, boy or girl, to see my message and find me. It’s all very Serendipity – until no one comes looking for you. Eventually, I end up vigorously rushing from corner to corner trying to find this random person I’d selected because they weren’t finding me back. (The big fear, of course, is that they took one look at my mug and ran.) The game gets addictive. Suddenly, everyone wants to help. I find Number 138, who was friends with Number 142, but they don’t know the people corresponding to the numbers in between. I find Number 141, who doesn’t know 140 or 139, which means they came together. Number 96 contracts out a kiss if Number 127 finds 140 for me. By 11 p.m., attendees total at least 198. Some are wearing numbers around their ears and glasses—literally, like cattle. And it turns out Number 69 has moves like Jagger.
I’ll admit, #CrushTO drew a delightfully peculiar, and colourful, group of people. And that’s kind of like what first time sex is like anyway—hot, yet strangely weird. Part university bar, part middle school dance, part speed dating. (Except you don’t have to spend $50 to endure hearing about some guy’s super successful law career.) It reminds me a bit of a Key Party.
It’s interesting: we’re all so hyper-aware about being a room full of singles, but the biggest complaint you hear from single people is how they hate being around a bunch couples. This was like shooting fish in a barrel. Like a box of chocolates. Or the joy of a pack of condoms that come with free lube. And yet, you can’t win!
Roberts and co. say they hope to be back next month with more sexy singles. Judging by Twitter feeds and the Facebook wall, people had a rad time and got lucky. Later that night, on another patio closer to home, I finally meet Number 140—virtually, that is—who was led to me through the hashtag after we found Number 139. Say hello to Mandi everyone. She’s single and ready to mingle. (I think. You ask her.) Oh well, there’s always Plenty of Fish, right? I hear that’s even more successful. And yet I’ll probably still wake up alone. Again.
Caitlin Roberts’ next Body Pride workshop happens Friday, June 1 for ladies and June 8 for co-eds. Find out more here. Look for the next mixer in late June.
CORRECTION, MAY 28, 2012: The original version of this article listed the name of this blog incorrectly. The correct name is Taken But Available.