Where To Stay

13 Things I Learned as a Contestant on ‘The Dating Game’ this Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day I decided to try something a little different. The good people at The Hall invited me to be a contestant in a live Dating Game show at their speakeasy Holiday. This new Joie de Vivre hotel on South Beach is the “little sister” brand of The Thompson (i.e., more affordable, still stylish and hip), but I prefer to refer to it as Ace Ventura’s old apartment. Yes, The Hall restored both the historic Haddon Hall and The Campton apartments (where Ace lived) to create this tropical modern campus on Collins Avenue.

Going into the game, all I knew was that I would be the bachelorette with my pick of three lucky bachelors. Here’s how it played out:


1. I used the occasion to understand fashion bloggers’ beauty routines.

Aren’t they always posting pictures about getting their hair/makeup done?

Well, I wanted to try! So I ordered up a couple of Glamsquad stylists to get my hair/makeup done at my room at The Hall. I was reminded that:

1) No matter how “natural” the stylist says she’s going to do my makeup, I always feel like I’m wearing a mask.

2) Contouring. No. Scary.

3) Somehow, I’ve figured out how to do my hair equal to or better than most professional stylists.

So… I’m pretty sure I’ll be Glamsquad’s best new client. 


2. Don’t go into it on an empty stomach

By the time the show was about to start, I was famished. Fortunately, Sunny’s swooped in to save the day. I snacked on their rice balls, fried avocado tacos and guacamole (apparently, I can live on avocado alone).

And it was all delicious, in spite of this very publication’s review that raked poor Spike Mendelsohn and Co. over the coals.

I actually want to go back and try more.


3. But still… drink as much as you want.


I kept my whistle wet with a gin punch in a ceramic parrot (very Pet Detective!) and Holiday’s special Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi Ce Soir cocktail of the evening, which had… I don’t know what in it.


4. They found the bachelors on the street . . .

And here I was like, hopefully I’m not picking from a bunch of media dudes I already know. Maybe they’ll actually find some cute, interesting guys from different fields in Miami that are totally outside of my typical social circles. Maybe this will be fun!

Nope, they just asked a few tourists on the sidewalk that afternoon if they wanted to play a game.

5. . . . And two-thirds of them were from out of town

So much for even the potential of a long-term relationship. However, that ratio really helps you stack the deck if you’re a commitment-phobe.


6. When I asked, “So… what do you bring to the table?” 

Bachelor #3 (our Miami representative) said: I’ll bring weed to the table. Lots of weed. 



7. Bachelor #1 (New York) had no personality and sadly no game:

Me: Plan a perfect date.

B1NY: Umm… Cocktails and a nice conversation…

Me: Awesome. So creative! Okay, what’s your best or worst pick up line? 

B1NY: Umm… I don’t know…

Me: And that works for you? Cool. If you could go back to any time and place for a day, where would you go?

B1NY: I’d go back to the day JFK was assassinated and find out who the real killer was.

Me: Fun… That’s totally what I’d want to do too. I’d never say 1920s Paris, hanging out at cafes in Montparnasse, drinking absinthe, living as a sort of high class courtesan/poet, so I could date everyone in the Lost Generation, from Hemingway to Picasso to Apollinaire and be their muse. No. That would just be… weird. I would definitely want to be embroiled in a conspiracy theory murder mystery. You’re right, conspiracy theories are fun! Great date conversation too!


8. Don’t tell a travel writer you’ll take her on a trip around the world if money was no object.

Which, if I remember correctly, 2/3 of the bachelors used as their answer. Come up with something a little more original! I’m already taking myself on trips around the world. Or at least sell the idea a little better as something YOU actually want to do! Bachelor #2 (DC) said he’d really like to take me to Croatia. Well, B2DC, been there, done that!


9. B3MIA didn’t know who David Sedaris is.

And look, that’s fine, dude. Sedaris isn’t exactly a household name. (I mean, he only has a few New York Times BESTSELLERS.) He’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But come on, I’m a writer! Will you understand my love for Gary Shteyngart, Junot Diaz and Billy Collins? Or even get all the weird comedians and TV shows I love? Doubtful.

Oh, right. But you’ll have weed. Lots of weed. Cool, bro. 


10. In the end, I picked… B2DC!

He at least seemed the most verbal.

11. And… B2DC was 12! 

Okay, maybe not 12. Maybe he was like 21 and a half. And he hadn’t even been paying attention! Because if he had, he wouldn’t have had to ask me where I was from (California, live in Miami) or what I did (travel writer). Because I already told the whole audience that at the beginning of the show! 


12. You don’t really have to go on a date with the person you pick.

As a little girl watching Singled Out, Next, Elimidate, Blind Date (with Roger Lodge!) and even the old Dating Game (gosh, there were a lot of great TV dating shows), I always wondered if the contestants really had to go out on the dates afterwards.

Of course they don’t!

I chatted with B2DC for a few minutes. And then fell into my typical role as a walking talking travel guide suggesting bars and restaurants for him and his brother to hit in South Beach. And then we said goodbye. Peace! No digits exchanged. And why should we? The poor kid’s just in town this weekend. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Now, I have a $100 gift certificate to Seagrape to do as I wish!


13. I ate my words about man buns. 

Upon meeting the bachelors that I didn’t pick, I learned that B3MIA was sporting a cute little man bun topknot with the rest of his head shaved.

I joked to my friend that I could never go on a date with a guy with a man bun and take him seriously. She disagreed. But later that night at a party at The Thompson, I totally met a guy with a MAN BUN and flirted with him the rest of the night. 

We’re probably getting married! 

Just kidding! 

But I guess it’s true what they say about the laws of attraction. If you put yourself out there, something’s bound to turn up. And you never know when love (or a flirtation) will materialize out of thin air. 

Isn’t that what they say?

They say a lot of things.