Check out this event, now passed, in Manchester. It’s a meetup group for people who want to meet new mates. 150+ people RSVP’d to the night out last night, which was basically a pissup in Lock 91, a bar at the end of Deansgate Locks in Manchester.
As there were so many people RSVP-ing, I knew the organisers wouldn’t have a clue if I hadn’t actually notified of attendance. I just asked the doorman and he let me in to the cordoned-off area.
The organisers- one of whom I suspect is a closet homosexual, flamboyant and drunk from the 7pm start- didn’t seem bothered that he didn’t recognise the name I gave, but fixed a luminescent wristband to me and welcomed me into the group. I just waded in and started saying hi to people, leaving him to drape himself over the next arrivals.
It’s a hugely popular group and the event was rammed. The bar was nicely designed, stony and house-like, but it was a small venue for an event as popular as this. On the upper floor, the bar’s only window looked out onto a brick wall, adding to the claustrophobia.
I got talking to a very plain young couple, both utterly hammered, and the girl was banging on about her love for nights out in Rochdale and 5th Avenue, an indie club in Manchester. She couldn’t have been further from the type of person I wanted to talk to. But I was stuck with her, waiting for my moment to get a word in edgeways and excuse myself to the bar. Her boyfriend went ballistic at her towards the end of the night, the most entertaining moment.
By 11 the area had mellowed out and a lot of people had left. I gave some thought to the group: there are so many people eager to meet new people, but when you’re presented with a hundred or so people and nobody knows anyone, how do you know who is your type of person? What are you there to find, exactly? It’s a hard one to gage. I found myself wishing that I’d singled out a couple of topics to discuss with people- careers, and smart bars. If people were working in a similar field to me, I’d stop and talk. If they weren’t, I’d check their taste in nightlife. If that still isn’t compatible, I’d move on again.
It says something about people and society today that an event like this be so poular. There’s obviously a lot of people like me reaching out to make more friends, people marooned by other people’s weddings or divorces, or being uprooted from their hometowns due to moving for a job. It’s a motherfucker, but Meetup is helping for this. It’s an international website, so there’ll be something happening wherever you are. For meetup groups like this one, where the purpose is just to meet people, you might as well be polite but ruthless and move on when the person isn’t what you’re looking for.