Potholes are sites of destruction and artistic inspiration—but generally, they’re not widely regarded as the best setting for a date. Bayleigh Frickey’s experience says otherwise, though. Last weekend, she went on four dates. Instead of meeting at a park or a bar, she went to a giant pothole outside Evangeline Lounge on Toulouse Street.
“We brought a little table and fold-up chairs and a vase and flowers,” Frickey said. “We had small talk about how ridiculous this was, as cars were passing. The pothole was a great conversation starter and made it a lot more fun. We were cracking up.”
As an icebreaker, potholes have a lot to offer, but Frickey said stilted conversation isn’t the only problem people face in the dating scene. There’s often endless back and forth before users set up a face-to-face meeting, and once the date actually happens, no guarantee that it won’t be a boring waste of an evening.
The speed date in a pothole was a publicity stunt for The Meetery, a dating app Frickey cofounded along with Stephanie Hilton. New Orleans native Elizabeth Kukla with FullyStacked, LLC developed the app, which launched June 12 and has been in the works since 2019.
“We’re getting it out there since everything is opening from COVID-19,” said Hilton.
Right now, there are about 500 users on the app, which is available for people to beta test in New Orleans, Nashville and Virginia. The Meetery is set up to facilitate 15-minute mini-dates. A user could set up multiple dates over the course of an evening, creating a solo speed-date session.
“The whole premise is less chatting, more meeting,” Frickey said. “You have more connections after a face-to-face meeting happens. You know within 15 minutes if you want to hang out with someone again.”
Despite the fact that she facilitated a speed date in a pothole, Hilton is said safety is very important to The Meetery’s team. The app includes selfie verification, so users can’t “catfish” people with misrepresentative photos. Users can also text date information to their friends so that someone knows where they are going, who they are with, and when they should be expected home.
“(Frickey’s date) was for promotional reasons,” Hilton said. “We don’t encourage people to have a date in a pothole.”
Safety concerns aside, a pothole isn’t the most romantic setting, even with flowers. None of Frickey’s interactions led to a second date.
“They were all very nice,” Frickey said of her suitors. “One of them (could lead to a second date), maybe one day.”
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