Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fancy lunch? Great ... what's your name?

The Guardian, page 1

By Oliver Burkeman in New York

Jared Nissim wanted to make one thing clear. "This is definitely not a dating service," the 32-year-old New Yorker explained, as a motley group of 18 men and women, many unknown to each other, gathered around a long table at a Manhattan restaurant.
"If I ran this as a dating service, you'd just get a bunch of guys trolling for women. And then the women wouldn't show up, because they'd know it was just a bunch of guys trolling for them. So eventually there'd be no women to troll for. And at that point," he concluded, with unarguable logic, "even the guys wouldn't show up."
Exactly the opposite has happened with the Lunch Club, the organisation Mr Nissim founded in 2001 to combat his isolation as a bachelor living alone and working from home in New York. He wasn't looking for romance, just for friends, so he posted a speculative message on Craig's List, the website millions of Americans use to arrange everything from apartment rentals to random sexual encounters. Did anyone, he inquired, want to join him for lunch?

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