They claim to have over 120,000 people on their waiting list. It’s so popular with women that the site owners have had to have a one-month ban on allowing new female members to sign up, to prevent the gender balance from getting completely out of control.
The Inner Circle claims to personally screen applicants’ appearance and, more importantly, their level of success. Since its beginnings in Amsterdam, the site has become one of the big dating site hits in a now insanely crowded marketplace.
And they have parties, too. Big ones. Glam ones. Posh ones. There are no cold sausage rolls or warm pinot grigio at Inner Circle events. As I was to find out when I joined about 500 members, I was, as founder Michael Krayenoff assured me, some of the best-suited singletons in a city that, frankly, was rarely short of suitable singletons to begin with.
Perhaps you might think you couldn’t ask for an easier environment to build a love affair, or at least a colossal group of people using that environment to be less inhibited than usual. Given that premise, how could I not approach the evening with the kind of buccaneering confidence usually reserved for Premiership footballers or Wall Street wolves?
Except, as it turns out, it’s not like that at all.
After nearly a decade of having to write about the phalanx of dating “guides” and “workshops,” I have long since come to the same conclusion I got when I first read it How to win friends and influence people ;; That is, if you are not terrible to people, they will like you. There: I just saved you about ten pounds. You don’t have to read a single dating book now.
The only chat-up line I’ve ever used over the years is ‘Hello’. Trust me. Try something Otherwise, if you are a man, you can wear a Hawaiian shirt and use Old Spice aftershave.
Using it at an Inner Circle event, however, comes with a bit more danger. If you get called names at an average bar, you can easily convince yourself that the girl in question almost certainly has a boyfriend, so she wouldn’t have been interested anyway.
This approach to softening the blow to your ego doesn’t work here. Everyone is single. Everyone is (supposedly) on guard. When my advances were spurned and my conversation ignored, I really took it personally.
At least for the first hour of the evening. Located in a private members’ club in central London, it has a rooftop terrace, a dance floor, a chill-out lounge, and enough nooks and crannies for everyone to get better acquainted with the pulchritude of their newly met partner. But was the evening a Bacchanalian orgy, with one percent of respondents barely peeling layers of clothing off each other in a shrill excess of supposed pleasure?