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We're sitting in the dark in a walled-off section of Raoul's, which is hosting a dine-in-the-dark-with-random-strangers-because-that's-really-sexy promotional event for Axe's new body spray. After being seated by staffers wearing night-vision goggles, we fumble around with plates of nibblets in front of us. It's actually pretty fun and surprisingly titillating, despite the shrieking of our fellow diners, who are discombobulated by the darkness (and the fact that I've never met Louis before).
"Is this hot?" I ask him, as our fingers intertwine.
"Well, it would be hot with just two people, as opposed to being with, like, fifty," he says before dipping my finger in a gravylike substance and sucking it slowly. "That tastes kind of sweet," he notes.
After we eat more unidentifiable food items, a red light comes on to reveal all. Louis is cute -- spiky hair, T-shirt straining around his bulging biceps. There's a piece of chicken in my wine.
Why bring this traveling fingerfest to Kansas? "We did a yearly study of America's best and worst cities for dating, and Kansas City came in 80th out of 80," says PR guy Andy Bowman. (Grrrr. Those damned dating "surveys" again.) Nevertheless, the novelty of this party has attracted an outgoing group of singletons, such as Alex, 26, an indie-rock-type guy with spiked hair and glasses, and his friend Gabriel, 31, who sports an almost-shaved head with a small mohawk. Both agree that the dating scene isn't really as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
"When I first moved here, it was fucking horrible," Gabriel says. "It seemed like every woman over 18 was married with two kids. But you find your niche, and it's not as bad."
"Any city is bad for dating," Alex adds. "It depends on your outlook. If you're fun and upbeat, any city is good for singles." -- Jen Chen