Singles Make Case for Love Using PowerPoint Presentations
WILLIAMSBURG — He wants to click his way into your heart.
Disappointed by a string of unsuccessful attempts at finding romance in bars and on dating websites, Rahul Saggar was flabbergasted to find himself fielding the interest of an eligible bachelorette after she heard a work presentation he made using PowerPoint.
The interaction sparked an epiphany for the lovelorn structural engineer: Maybe single people are looking for mates in the wrong ways.
So, Saggar launched "Presentation Date Night" in his basement, where love-hungry singles use PowerPoint slideshows, poems and cooking demonstrations as ways to try to lure mates.
Saggar provides complimentary alcohol, time to mingle, a laptop projector and other requested equipment at his free parties — and leaves the rest to his guests.
"You're not in a bar and you don’t have to worry about buying a drink. You're in someone's place that’s cozy and everyone is there for the same reason," Saggar said about the perks of his event, which he's held twice in his apartment near the Bedford Avenue L train station. "There's a certain degree of humility, since you know you're there presenting yourself."
Saggar, who is holding his third Date Night this Thursday, has drawn dozens of performers, intellectuals, vegan chefs and other eager singles so far, in an environment that has proven part matchmaking ground, part group counseling, he said.
"One girl presented her online dating profile and started talking about how men have the power [in] dating...and then men there said that the women have power," Saggar explained. "It became like a group therapy session...[The presentations] definitely become a dialogue."
Presenters have included a raw food-only vegan who made a salad to take to a dinner party, a singer with two drag queen backup dancers wearing sequins, a man who read a poem about his likes and dislikes, and a woman who simply made lemonade.
"The variety of acts was amazing," said one of the presentation's guests, Christopher Xavier, a musician and illustrator who said he hopes to present on Thursday a video called "Don't Look at Girls," which is a combination of drawings and a song about the hazards of romance.
"I'm 36 and just got out of a long-term relationship, which ruined me, so I'm trying to find a new gal to make me forget the last one," he said. "But I'd go to Rahul's show even if I weren't single or looking, because I like odd events and I like anything that pulls New Yorkers out of their shells."
Xavier complimented the way Saggar kicks off the presentations with his own revealing act: reading rejection letters he has received from prospective employers and movie submissions, since Saggar is also a documentary filmmaker.
"I think people can find it attractive when you appear to be vulnerable, and it shows that after all this failure, there's still some kind of attempt to achieve something," he said about his choice to share the letters, which he noted he also read at his work presentation right before the woman approached him.
Saggar encourages his guests to share whatever they feel compelled to — but he admitted he had not yet heard of any real success stories originating from the parties.
"I think it's just a matter of people talking more to each other," he said, adding that he plans on giving people more time to mingle at upcoming events.
But even if party-goers don't walk away with matches made in heaven, Saggar and his guests said the event is worth their time — if only for entertainment purposes.
"I like the mystery of the show, too, as there are no rules or guidelines on how you'd sell yourself to the audience," Xavier said. "No two presenters [are] remotely alike."
The next Presentation Date Night is Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Entrance is free and guests can RSVP and get the exact location at firstname.lastname@example.org