Beyond Food: Finding Love At Festivals
Not all food festivals are made for singles
There have been roughly three million articles written about the best places to look for love. The library! The grocery store! Church groups! Devil worshipper speed dating nights! No matter where they tell you to go, it all boils down to the same piece of advice: go to a place where you can meet people with common interests. For a food-loving idiot such as myself, that means the farmer's market, a cooking class or a food festival. I happened to be at Pebble Beach Food & Wine last week (check out my PBFW coverage here), so I thought it was the perfect place to put the common-interest theory to the test. Could I find love at a place guaranteed to be filled with foodie women?
At the Opening Night Gala, I was optimistic. For one thing, it was all isolated to one hotel, so anything that was going to happen that night, was going to happen there. On top of that, the situation was completely conducive to meeting people. There were tons of great chefs, all kinds of wineries, and general milling about was completely encouraged. All I needed to do was keep my eyes open for some single ladies around my age and the rest would fall into place. Or so I thought. Little did I know that "single" and "around my age" would be qualities that applied more to the wine than the women. Since the pickings were so slim, I opted to eat as much food as possible and listen to rich people make inane comments about wine. "Mmm... it's so...tasty!" Sure it is, champ. Sure it is.
The problem persisted pretty much all weekend. It came down to logistics. PBFW is a four-day event comprised of a ton of individual sessions that range from small wine seminars to full-blown celebrity chef tribute dinners. The problem is, it's really expensive and it's in the middle of Monterey County over two hours south of San Francisco. That means that the majority of people that are going to Pebble Beach for the weekend are wealthy older couples that can afford to be there and don't mind being completely isolated for four days. The only groups of women I saw that didn't seem attached were either elderly or working the event in some capacity.
While there weren't many options in terms of actual attendees, there actually were some eligible ladies amongst those staffing the event and invited guests (i.e. writers like myself). While I did hit it off with one such woman at the after-party, the whole thing fell apart at the end of the night and, in retrospect, I'm so glad it did. The next day she started revealing the fact that she has some pretty serious issues and apparently didn't understand that when I said I wanted to make out with her, I didn't mean "start a family." Consider that bullet dodged.
I ended up spending most of the rest of the festival with a beautiful publicist friend. While we never made out, we did have a great time and planned a pretty incredible hypothetical wedding, complete with holograms and statues of dictators. Perhaps next year I'll bring a hypothetical ring with me.
So I didn't find love at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, but I learned some valuable lessons. First, stick to one-day food affairs in your own city. They'll attract a wider cross-section of the population and if you meet someone great, you can line up an actual date without having to be pen pals for a while first. Also, know your audience. I should have known the Pebble crowd would have been out of my demographic. From now on, when I'm looking for love based on common interests, I'll stick to places that fit me better. Like a devil worshipper speed dating night.