Pop Culture

Love in an Elevator Offers Houston Singles the Chance to Speed Date in a Glass Box

Some people might listen to Aerosmith's “Love in an Elevator” and miss the days when Steven Tyler could still rock skintight, all-leather outfits. Others listen to the late '80s hit, a yowling description of Tyler's (presumably fictional) sexual adventures in an elevator, and think, “What a great idea.”

Or, at least, that's what Renee Edd thought. As event coordinator and director of new client relations for the Houston matchmaking company Rose Matchmaking, it's Edd's job to come up with what she calls “out-of-the-box” events for singles. And with Love In An Elevator speed dating, this Thursday evening at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, Houston singles will get to experience a PG-rated version of the Aerosmith tune.

The event's rules are simple: Partners spend one minute going up and down together in one of the hotel's glass elevators. They then sit together at a private table for a three-minute conversation. And for the rest of the two-hour-plus event, which starts at 6 p.m., guests can mix and mingle with whomever they want.

“A lot of people in Houston, they don't want to go to the normal speed-dating events, or even mix-and-mingles, because a) they're boring, b) it's the same people over and over again,” Edd said. “I think there's just a stigma around singles events…So if we try to make the events wacky and goofy, or just edgy and interesting, then people are going to automatically be more comfortable or not feel that stigma.”

By being in a confined space, partners can immediately sense their physical chemistry, explained Jamie Rose, Rose Matchmaking's founder and CEO. “They don't have a lot of time to get to know each other, so it's just gonna be kind of primal,” she said.

Still, guests aren't tossed into an elevator with just anybody. They're required to send a photo and short bio – complete with age, job and criteria for a potential partner – to Rose Matchmaking before the event, so that they can be matched with an elevator buddy. (Though no one learns the identity of his or her partner until they show up at the event.) Rose mostly uses gut instinct to sense whether or not partners will be compatible, Rose said.

Rose Matchmaking's main focus is more traditional, Fiddler on the Roof-style matchmaking. After signing up with Rose, clients are interviewed about their ideal partner and receive multiple matches over time. However, Rose's speed-dating events offer a way for guests to meet many people at once, in what Rose called the “shotgun approach.”

And many pairings from past events have been successful, Edd said. “For every single event, at least two to three couples emerge. Meaning that they go on more than one more date again, after the event.”

Many of these events have been just as inventive as Love In An Elevator. Edd has arranged singles events from a “pheromone party” – guests brought used T-shirts to share and sniff, and were then paired with people whose smells they liked – to the slightly-more-traditional “Speed Dating in Cars,” where guests sat in Porsches, chatted and sometimes even took a cruise around the block. Edd actually had the idea for speed dating in an elevator years ago, but the logistics to pull it off never quite came together.

She needed a glass elevator, Edd explained, for people who would be concerned about safety. “I myself would not participate in a speed date with someone [when] I have no idea who they are,” she said. “Like no one can see what's going to happen. So with the glass elevator, everyone can see that they're just talking.”

As for the critics who say that a one-minute elevator ride is not long enough to find true love? Rose has a simple retort: “Don't go.”

For her, having an open mind is one of the best ways to find that special someone. “You never know when you're going to find love,” Rose said.

Tickets for the elevator rides are $20 – though the event's capacity is close to full as of press time – but the people-watching is free.
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Carter is the Houston Press fellow. A Seattle native, she graduated from Northwestern University and also has written for Elle, Los Angeles magazine and Ms. Magazine.
Contact: Carter Sherman