“Don’t stay home on your couch alone watching a Lifetime Movie.”
An Austin native, Amber Soletti is a relationship expert, matchmaker and co-founder of the NYC- and Austin-based dating service, OnSpeedDating.com. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Amber worked in global marketing and product development for Fortune 500 beauty companies including Estee Lauder, Avon and Conair. Amber, along with her themed speed dating events and singles parties, has been featured by countless media outlets including The New York Times, Howard Stern, Dateline NBC and more.
Where did the idea to launch OnSpeedDating.com come from?
I was single, living in NYC and all of the men at the company I was working at were either married or gay. I’d gone to a couple of singles events, but they were only based on age and—for the most part—seemed to bring out very awkward singles. I was 5’10” and really wanted to date someone tall, someone with the same political and social views, etc. My business partner and I quickly realized the bar for singles events was super low, and we got the idea to offer themed singles events based on people’s dating deal-breakers: physical preferences, professions, interests, hobbies, lifestyles and more.
My original goal with the company was to subsidize my income and dating life. Almost 10 years later, we offer 100+ themed events in two cities (Austin and NYC), have been the catalyst for countless relationships and marriages, and I am engaged! I’m living in Austin with a 6’6” guy I met at our “Size Matters” event in 2012.
Dating in Austin vs New York?
They can both be rough. I think New York is tougher because people are typically career-focused or just looking to have a good time. I think there are too many options in NYC, and it makes people less willing to commit. The best part about dating in NYC is that you can drink as much as you want without having to worry about driving. (This can also lead to many unintended consequences!)
I see a lot more “day dates” happening in Austin. This is probably because it’s a lot more laid back than NYC, and people aren’t working crazy hours and weekends.
Most popular speed dating event themes with men vs. women?
Men tend to gravitate to physical themes. Our “Cougar” event—for younger men that want to date more experienced women—is super popular. Men also come out in droves for themes such as “Asian Persuasion,” “Latin Ladies,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Skinny Minny,” and “Hot for Teacher.” There is also always a waitlist for our “Hung” event for women seeking well-endowed men and “Stacked Night” for busty women and “breast-of-intentioned” men. Women love our “Size Matters” event (where they get the chance to meet tall men, 5’11”+), our “Rescue Me” nights (where they get to mingle with single firefighters and EMS), “Men With Accents Are Hot,” “Have Passport, Will Travel,” and “Childproof” (for singles that don’t want kids—ever!)
“The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet the one. It can seem overwhelming, but just remember timing is everything, and all it takes is one.”
Your best advice for singles?
Always keep an open mind. You may be at a singles event, give the crowd a once over, not see anyone you’re initially attracted to, and completely shut off or even leave. In reality, you should be talking to everyone. Men and women. You never know who you are going to meet at an event. Could be your next BFF, roommate, employer or maybe even the person that is going to introduce you to The One.
Also, don’t give up or get discouraged. Different people come out for each event, and it truly is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet the one. It can seem overwhelming, but just remember timing is everything, and all it takes is one.
Best dating hack?
This tactic is guaranteed to not only get someone to take your number but also get their digits in return. It requires an over-sized, seemingly disorganized purse, briefcase or bag, and it can be used pretty much anywhere.
I was on a crowded airplane on a flight home to Texas, and in the hustle and bustle, I realized I no longer had my cell phone. In a panic, I turned to the guy in the seat behind me and asked if he could call my phone so I could try to find it.
As soon as I heard my phone ringing, I realized the new super power I now possessed. I had figured out a way to give hot guys my number while simultaneously obtaining theirs.
Turned out, my cell was in my purse. We shared a laugh, chatted before take-off, and ended up going out for a drink later that weekend.
Advice for singles on Valentine’s Day?
Don’t stay home on your couch alone watching a Lifetime Movie. You definitely want to attend a singles event in your city because everyone is in a relationship state of mind. Valentine’s Day is 100% the best night of the year to go out and meet someone. Think about it. It’s pretty much the one night of the year where you’re guaranteed that the singles you’re meeting are legitimately single. We’re hosting two Valentine’s Day Speed Dating events in Austin, and they are filling up quickly. Don’t wait till the last minute to make plans!
Your favorite romantic comedy?
I had watched Swingers before and thought it was meh. I then watched it years later having gone through a traumatic break up f, and it was like a whole new movie that I totally related to. It’s definitely a must-see and one of my all-time favs. Trust me it’s sooooo “money.”
Cover photo courtesy OnSpeedDating.com