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  • Phoebe Robertson

Review: Dating’s a Drag

Experienced by: Phoebe Robertson (she/her)

Dating apps have seen a decrease in usage, signalling a shift in the way people want to approach dating. Selina Simone and Homer Neurotic, two of Wellington's popular drag performers, have come up with a unique solution: Dating's a Drag (pun intended). This event has become an annual occurrence, specifically catering to members of the queer community. I recently attended their She 4 Her event at Mishmosh on May 24th. They also have a They 4 Them event planned for June 7th and an inclusive Queer 4 Queer event scheduled for June 21st.

What exactly is a 'dating event'? You may be wondering. That was my exact thought when I walked into Mishmosh and was directed to the basement via a staircase. Mishmosh has a basement? As we descended the stairs, drag performers greeted us and explained how the night would go. We were given wristbands of different colours to indicate what we were looking for in other attendees. I opted for a pink wristband (looking for friends), while my flatmate went for a blue band (shy, please approach me) and kept a green one in their pocket for later if they were feeling less shy (looking for a relationship). I'm not sure if they ever ended up wearing it or not. Meeting the performers right at the start was a great icebreaker and left us feeling welcomed into the space.

Now, back to the Mishmosh basement situation. The low black walls and ceiling welcomed us as we arrived around seven and grabbed some drinks (with $10 cocktail specials). We awkwardly sat at our table, observing other groups doing the same thing. As the night went on, more friends joined us and the space became increasingly crowded. This brings me to my main gripe of the evening: the noise. Because it was such a small space, conversations echoed and the speakers were close to well… everything. But the flipside of that is that the event had an incredibly large turnout, which was super impressive to see. Even if, in my flatmate's words, it became a bit of an “awkward shuffle” to navigate the venue as the evening went on.

Yes, it was loud. And yes, that was made worse by the fact I was hungover (my bad). But do you know how hard it is to get a hundred queer sapphics in a room? And with the aim of dating each other? That’s pretty incredible. It feels like a staple of being queer is to struggle to date. Is the girl in my lecture actually keen on me, or is she just being polite? Is the attractive person in the Hub queer? Or have they just jumped on the new, trendy Wellington style? Dating’s a Drag gives the unique opportunity to be surrounded by other people who are actively looking for what you are. While another good quote from my flatmate is that “you could feel the awkwardness in the room.” They followed it up with admitting “that’s the culture [of queer sapphics], you can’t get rid of it.”

And the crowd did warm up as the night went on. I was able to hide in a breakout area, and got to sip water and have quiet chats when I needed them. The games that were played were fun, and the night ultimately ended with a Jojo Siwa lip sync battle. Which, if you know me, you know that was the highlight of my experience. I ended the night with a new friend who got a kebab with me and my flatmate after. My flatmate ended it with approximately one crush on someone who she had met and failed to ask the Instagram of. You can lead a horse to water, am I right?

Overall, Dating's a Drag was a lot of fun, but it really depends on your intentions going into it. Out of our large group, my flatmate had the best time because they actively participated in the games and got to know other attendees. Which is pretty funny, because I’m also pretty sure they were the only one with a blue wristband on. If you identify as non-binary or queer and are interested in finding love, I would recommend attending one of their future events. What's the worst that could happen? You'll get to enjoy some amazing drag performances and have a safe night out surrounded by fellow queer individuals. Personally, I can't wait for the first Dating’s a Drag wedding, which I’m sure we will see in the next couple of years. Or maybe next week. We all know how the sapphics can be…


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