Edison Farrow presents
Wednesday, April 30th 8pm to 10pm
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On your mark! Get set! Meet!
So many men, so little time. Two minutes to be exact.
Gay relay dating has come to South Florida. It's a variation of speed dating (or eight-minute dating) that's become the rage among straight singles in San Francisco, New York, London and Paris.
''After two minutes in a bar, I know if I want to go on a date with this person -- or slit my wrists,'' promoter Edison Farrow tells 50 players at the start of gay relay dating, which he presents twice a month in South Beach.
Lance Steinbeisser, 33, a Miami court reporter, signed up because he is tired of finding the wrong kind of men in the usual places. ''It's not hard to meet someone,'' he said. ``It's hard to meet someone who wants more than just sex.''
Farrow said gay relay dating is just like straight speed dating, with one exception: ``At the straight ones, the women just sit around a table and the men move. Their 50 percent have to meet the other 50 percent. At mine, every person has to meet every person.''
It works this way: 50 single men spend $20 each hoping to find Mr. Right. Their names are printed on large ballots. Next to each name is a ''yes'' and ``no''.
The men sit in two rows facing each other. Each pair has two minutes to get to know each other. Then, Farrow blows a whistle. The men change chairs and meet the next person on line. This repeats for about two hours, or until everyone has spoken.
Players indicate whether they want to date a person by circling the yes or no next to his name. Afterward, Farrow collects the ballots and matches the responses. If two say yes to each other, Farrow sends them photos and e-mail addresses.
The rest is up to them.
''It's always surprising to me when I do the results who gets the most matches,'' Farrow said. ``Sometimes the most average guys get the most matches because they are not intimidating, and in two minutes people want to get to know them better.''
The fewer men a player says yes to, the worse his chances of getting a date.
''One person only chose two people. A lot of people chose him, but there were no matches. He was one of the most popular people there, but he only chose two people and those two didn't choose him,'' Farrow said.
``If you can't find someone among 50 people, you're too picky.''
Since beginning in January, all of Farrow's dating events have sold out. The next event will be April 2nd at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach.
Farrow, 39, runs SoBe Social Club (www.sobesocialclub.com), which hosts a Traveling Tuesdays Martini Club that rotates weekly among chic South Beach bars and hotels. Participants come from Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Tuesday night, the Martini Club celebrates its second anniversary at the Raleigh.
''I've been doing the martini parties for two years and people are always asking me about a dating night,'' said Farrow, a part-time actor. ``It's hard to meet people here.''
Relay dating is better than meeting in chat rooms on the Internet, Farrow said.
''Instead of looking at 50 photos and hearing 50 lies, you're shaking 50 hands and you know what they look like,'' he said.
Most relay-dating contestants are average guys in their 30s and 40s.
''It was a little bit of a shock when I found out the range of age,'' said Jose Gonzalez, 28, of Coral Gables, who wants to go out with someone up to age 33.
Half the prospects Gonzalez met asked how old he is. One joked, ``Are you 12?''
``I asked how old are you? Forty-five?''
Another player said he didn't like being asked what kind of car he drives. The most offensive question of the night: ``Are you wearing underwear?''
That didn't bother Beach massage therapist Lohan Bruguera, 40. 'I just laughed. I said, `I am, are you?' ''
For the record, he wasn't.
Early in the evening, most men are very nervous. Some are sweating. A few drank shots of whiskey.
''You're not really getting people at their best,'' said Bruguera, who said yes to 10 men and got four potential dates.
Steinbeisser, the court reporter, is now seeing one of his three matches, a 40-year-old graphic artist.
''Awesome,'' Steinbeisser said after the first dinner date. Things went so well, the next day the new couple introduced their pets. 'We went to Lincoln Road. All three of our dogs sat at the edge of our feet while we were talking. Then, we took the `kids' home and met later for dinner.''
Although romance has blossomed, Steinbeisser said he and his beau are taking things slowly.
''Lots of kissing going,'' Steinbeisser said. ``But I'm a very old-fashioned kind of guy. I'm not the kind of guy who would jump into the sack right away.''