In All The Wrong Places

Exasperated Boston singles, tired of the “incestuous” and “cliquey” area dating scene, leaped at the opportunity to expand their horizons—on
By Jannie S. Tsuei

Exasperated Boston singles, tired of the “incestuous” and “cliquey” area dating scene, leaped at the opportunity to expand their horizons—on national television. NBC canvassed the area looking for men and women ages 21 to 32 to audition for its new reality show, “Looking for Love.” The set-up, secret thus far, will involve 15 men and one woman, and will premiere in May. Last Sunday, the would-be stars gathered at News 24/7, a hip restaurant in the Financial District, in an atmosphere that was suprisingly relaxed. Their first task was filling out a form reminiscent of college applications, only with a romantic twist. The reality show prospectives then participated in a group interview with an NBC casting manager. No decisions were made that day.Most of the participants took the possibility of rejection in stride. Jeanne, 31, a one-time model, has a laid-back attitude. “I’m just going with the wave,” she says. Nevertheless, Jeanne was excited about the possibility of dating multiple men. “I was just telling my girlfriends the other day that I need to date five or six men to find out what I’m really attracted to,” she adds. Judging by the pool of potential male contestants—which included students, accountants, social workers and bartenders—any woman would have her hands full.

Most of the hopefuls shared not only romantic aspirations but a dream of making it big, at least in the way that Evan Marriot and Trista Rehn are big. Jimmy, a bartender at News 24/7 was clear about his acting dreams. “I don’t watch TV,” he says, “I want people to watch me on TV.”

Alex, 24, would also like to be watched, but his reasons are primarily fiscal. According to him, only some jobs are lucrative in all economic situations. “As far as stuff that’s steady through the economy, there’s only the entertainment industry, crime and politics,” he says.

While getting an edge in the entertainment industry wasn’t the main goal of all the hopefuls, neither was finding a soul mate. Eriq, 24, expressed a blasé attitude toward the possibility of actually meeting someone. “If it does happen, it does,” he says, shrugging.

The show’s casting crew, on the other hand, has a very proactive attitude toward finding the perfect contestants. In addition to the audition, they will be recruiting throughout the city, according to Hollis, a casting director. And while no Harvard affiliate showed up during the time FM was at the audition, that may not be the case for the show. During a group interview, one woman suggested a certain Cambridge locale as a possible hot spot, saying, “You’ll find the most eccentric style in Harvard Square.” Look out, Harvard: NBC is “Looking for Love.”