Ahead of the holidays, Kat Delaney and her girlfriends had an idea — throw a party, but for total strangers.
The rules were simple: Delaney, 24, and her pals would each bring a guy to the soiree, on the condition they find their plus one through a dating app. There could be no prior connections with anyone attending.
After wrangling 15 willing men to attend the event, held at a share house in Santa Barbara, the Dec. 2 party was a huge success. Not only did it result in three second dates and one date switch, it also led to a viral TikTok video — with 5.4 million views and counting — that’s inspiring viewers to throw their own “chaotic singles party.”
“When you’re with a big group of people, [the vibe] is different,” Delaney, a social media manager, told The Post. “Definitely lower stakes.”
On paper, the plan seemed relatively easy to pull off, but some of the girls admitted that their invitees look a little longer to convince.
“Wednesday rolled around, I was like, ‘I don’t have a date,’” Delaney recalled, adding, “It felt like prom.” A lot of men she’d asked demurred, with one telling her it “‘sounded hella awkward.’”
“I was savagely texting all of these men on dating apps and swiping like crazy,” she laughed.
“I had one guy ask if he was about to get robbed,” quipped fellow party-goer Caoilinn McDonough, 24.
As the deadline drew nearer, Delaney threw caution to the wind with her strategy to entice a plus one.
“I decided I’m just gonna put in my profile: ‘looking for a holiday date,’” she continued. “It worked!”
Miraculously — and surprisingly to some — everyone’s dates turned up, and the night kicked off with drinks and party games to ensure it didn’t end up feeling like a “networking event.”
Although there were some nerves before the group of single strangers convened, the hosts said the group dynamic made it far easier.
“Everyone hit it off,” the girls said enthusiastically, although their guests did approach the end with some trepidation.
“I was thinking whether or not I should wear shoes I could run or fight in, because a small part of me seriously considered the possibility of getting jumped by catfishers or scam artists,” John, who declined to give his surname, said of the unexpected invite.
“I’ve gotten my ass kicked before and it was never too bad,” the 27-year-old graphic designed joked. “Therefore, I was willing to take the risk to get drunk around new people. Overall it was a fun time and I would do it again — it wasn’t awkward in the least.”
Even though every attendee wasn’t romantically a match with their guest, the low pressure environment set the scene for some to meet someone special.
“I love all the girls so much, so I was like whatever happens with my date, I’ll be fine,” Jackie George, 25, said. “[The guys that attended] were really open-minded and didn’t take themselves too seriously.”
The Santa Barbara-based barista said she was much more comfortable meeting up with a stranger in a group setting than she would have been on a one-on-one date.
“It was [a] way to like, cut to the chase and see how they act in a group,” she added.
For the Delaney and her friends — who had all previously dabbled in online dating with varying degrees of success — the safety-in-numbers element was another reason they loved the party.
“It’s safe way to get to know people,” McDonough pointed out enthusiastically. “A couple of guys I talked to said [they didn’t] really know a lot of people in town, so it’s a fun way to meet people in general.”
Elated by their experience, the girls are positive they’ll throw another chaotic bash in the future.
“It’s like utilizing what technology is there, but gets rid of the hiding behind a screen,” she added.
The night ended in romance for some. Delaney revealed two weeks after the party that her friend’s date asked her out — “which was totally fine,” she assured — and another couple are now dating.
“My date came into the coffee shop [where I work],” George chimed in, giggling. “So that was kind of fun. We’re gonna go get a drink tonight.”