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I'd argue that the addition of the bigger, flashier navy-blue-colored gondolas was the more significant change.
Each car's climate-controlled interior was outfitted with padded seats, TV screens, and speakers, and it made the experience of the ride feel more like being in the back of a limousine, except that it traveled vertically instead of horizontally.
Here's how it worked: The 90 participants—45 women, 45 men—were assigned a number, then packed six at a time into each of the wheel's 41 gondolas to engage in fun and flirty conversations while ascending into the night sky.
Meet someone that piqued your interest and you were encouraged to slip him or her a contact card from a small deck distributed during an earlier orientation session. " printed on the front along with a space to write in your name and contact information.
The intention of Navy Pier's second annual "Spinning Singles" speed dating event last month was more clear than Lake Michigan on a sunny summer day.
All of us had journeyed here to mingle with attractive people while soaring on an amusement park ride, then drinking on a yacht docked in the lake. This wasn't one of those anti-singles parties that defiantly celebrate their resistance to Valentine's Day's Dracula-like suck on America's attention. This was V-Day on steroids, primed to shock and awe its participants into romance. The pink lights affixed to the Centennial Wheel (including a LED-lit cartoon heart the size of a SUV on the central hub) shone so brightly that everything around it looked dipped in Pepto-Bismol.
The evidence was everywhere: Rose-colored tissue paper littered the place. Crass, perhaps, but so is our culture's obsession with performative courtship, the kind in which two parties bludgeon each other with cloying romantic gestures like, well, riding a 200-foot-tall pink-hued ode to true love.
” A man dressed in a casual blazer and jeans whose name was probably, but not certainly, Doug (I was going by the handwritten name tag pinned to his lapel) smirked into a camera, leaned into a microphone, and said: "I'm on a Ferris wheel in the world's greatest city. " Doug's answer was meaningless but perfectly reasonable.
At some point, I let it slip that I was recently single after a breakup. But that second group was so relaxed—it was cool." John also confessed two additional facts: hat seemed eminently achievable after we arrived at the landlocked boat docked to the pier.
The yacht promised everything that the Ferris wheel lacked: alcohol, thumping bass lines, dim lighting.
"Sorry, Devon, I couldn't hear you," I said to the woman lounging on the padded blue seats on the opposite side of the gondola. Regardless, they seemed ready to break out of this stiff format. " John asked the shy college-aged woman sitting side-by-side with Devon and Elliott. On this night, John bravely guided the nervous crew of a more modest kind of vessel by prompting new questions and intervening almost every time there was a hint of an awkward pause in the conversation. The conversation largely ping-ponged between the two pairs of friends and me, our breath fogging up the safety glass keeping the cold air out. We'd earned a small achievement as a group: we'd created a modicum of intimacy in 12 minutes together.
I learned that Elliott was a scientist who wasn't bullshitting about knowing how to make homemade meth, though she warned that she'd never put that knowledge into practice. "It was a fun group to talk to," John admitted as we strolled to the yacht from the Ferris wheel. Sometimes it felt like we were on a job interview where you're thinking a lot about what you're going to say.