One Austinite’s weird is another’s painfully vanilla, and Feeld is here to suss out the balance. The alternative dating app — favored by the nonmonogamous, kinky, and queer — is hosting its first in-person Austin event on Friday, December 16, gathering Austinites for “An Unusual Night In Austin.”
Feeld users are invited out for a bar crawl to Lolo Wine, Lefty's Brick Bar, and The Liberty, with free pedicabs in between, followed by performances by DJ Cassandra and Bob’s Dance Shop (the fabulous cowboys who backed up Sofi Tukker at Austin City Limits Festival). Attendees will mostly be left to their own social devices, but should have plenty to talk about, given Feeld’s nonconformist reputation.
The app looks like any other that makes matches through swiping, with sections that may be harder to find on other apps: a broad range of sexualities that may prompt many users to break out a progressive dictionary; connected profiles for couples searching together; and tags for desires (dominant or submissive, friendship, texting, etc.).
Most importantly, the app has curated its own microculture among users that mirrors the greater themes at play in kinky or more intimacy-expansive communities. Feeld is a place to discuss wants and needs with more specific language and candor — some users list fantasies, while others state a noncommittal desire for someone “likeminded,” a word Feeld uses often in marketing.
“The reason [the “unusual” event title is] italicized, and the reason where we're sort of claiming this, is not because we think it's unusual to have a diverse range of interests in your sexuality, or to be someone who is curious about different desires and experiences,” says market expansion lead Maceo Keeling. But the rest of the world isn’t always on board. “Feeld is a place for those whose romantic experiences [or] their gender identity — the dating app world at large has decided that they were unusual. So Feeld is the place where the unusual are usual.”
Keeling chooses new markets based on organic interest: Feeld had not done any advertising in Austin, but users were popping up independently. Now, the app is in a stage of getting to know the area, in order to launch it as a “core city,” meaning that users can continue virtually meeting Austinites even if they aren’t physically there.
In addition to the scheduled events, some community partners will be around: FSG will be doing its famous live screen printing, and Peach Fuzz, Austin’s local “old school nudie mag,” endorsed the event.
“There are a lot of people that are interested in Austin, even if they might not be physically located there, and they want to stay in touch with the community in and around it,” says Keeling.
Feeld is one of those interested parties. Its main goal for the event is to “approach with a little bit more intention,” so Austinites should show up as their full selves and simply enjoy the spotlight.
“An Unusual Night In Austin” starts at 7 pm on December 16. More information is available on the Feeld app, and in a designated group chat for the event. RSVP on Eventbrite.