It’s a rainy Tuesday night in May, and Lindsey Metselaar and Lucie Fink are sitting at City Winery discussing relationships. “What’s the nice kind of jealousy?” asks Metselaar, after Fink shares the story of her recent engagement. “Do you ever get annoyed that you’re both engaged, yet you’re the only one who wears a ring?”…“How do you keep your relationship fresh after nine years?”
But this isn’t a confidential chat between friends. This exchange is happening on a stage in front of 100 or so buzzing New Yorkers, and a week later, a recording of it will be broadcast to thousands more on Metselaar’s podcast, “We Met At Acme.”
Metselaar started the podcast in 2017 as a forum to discuss and examine millennial dating, specifically in New York City. “I was very single, and I had always been super interested in why people do the things they do when it comes to dating,” she says. The 28-year old explains that she wanted to use all of her dating experience — good and bad — to become a sort of big sister to others. “It was really born out of a need for a dating podcast that didn’t exist at the time.”
When it came time to turn her idea into reality and actually give the podcast a name, Metselaar looked to the iconic NoHo restaurant and bar ACME for inspiration. “For me, ACME is such a hot spot, and it’s kind of timeless,” she says, and since the focus would be on New York dating, “We Met At Acme” seemed like the perfect fit.
Not even two years after starting the podcast, Metselaar has recorded more than 90 episodes of “We Met At Acme,” each featuring a conversation about dating with a guest. From comedians and reality TV stars to dating coaches and bridesmaids-for-hire, every person invited to speak on the podcast offers his or her thoughts, experiences and opinions on what it means to date in 2019.
But the “We Met At Acme” brand has extended far past its podcast roots, and like any good millennial, Metselaar was quick to bring her project to Instagram. The @wemetatacme account is, of course, a hub for pre-existing listeners, but it has also become an interactive destination for those who have never even heard a single episode. This is in large part due to polls, which Metselaar poses to her more than 20,000 followers on her stories every day. “How long does it take to fall in love?” one might ask, with choices of “4-6 months” and “7 months-1 year.” Another reads, “Would you give someone who ghosted you a second chance if they came back?” while still others ask how long you should be dating before you go on vacation with your partner’s family and if a follow-up thank you text is necessary after a date if you already said thank you in person.
“A lot of it is inspired by my personal life,” says Metselaar, who met her current boyfriend through Hinge just a few months after starting the podcast, “but I’m also lucky that I have such an engaged following that reaches out with their own questions and concerns.”
Metselaar initially opted for a podcast rather than say, a YouTube channel because she didn’t want her own persona to take away from the dating focus of “We Met At Acme.” But since it began, many of the podcast’s listeners and followers have grown increasingly curious about the woman behind the questions and polls. As a result, the host released one episode where she is actually the one being interviewed and has offered her own advice and opinions on a number of topics on both Instagram and in the podcast. Metselaar also signed with major talent agency ICM last year and is now working on several ventures with them, including a tour of the United States.
“We definitely want to continue the tour,” she says, “and in the future, we’re even working on a book about millennial dating with a twist.”
The dating guru also offers her guidance by way of consulting. Clients hire her on a one-off or ongoing basis, and for $100 an hour, Metselaar will help them with dating app profiles, give advice on how to behave on dates, and even provide some astrological insight (though she notes she has no formal training in this). “I have one guy who just moved to the city from San Francisco and is trying to meet people,” she notes. “I’ve met with him a few times — I helped him set up his app profile, and we talk about how to engage on the app and what to do on dates.”
But the real crowd-pleasing expansion of “We Met At Acme” is the slew of events that Metselaar now hosts in New York and around the country. “It actually started pretty early on,” she explains. “A venue reached out wanting to do a live podcast recording, and it was a really big hit.” The young podcaster has continued doing live recordings, like that with Lucie Fink, quite regularly and has even teamed up with City Winery to host them.
And although Metselaar believes “dating apps are actually the preferred option now,” she’s also begun holding singles dinners in collaboration with her friend Josephine Wear, a former matchmaker and the founder of hospitality company AWEAR Global. There have only been two of the invite-only dinners so far, and they have consisted mostly of Metselaar’s friends and friends of friends, but she is hoping to host more in the coming months and make them available to the public. “At the very least, it’s a great networking opportunity, and at the very most, we’ve gotten some consistent dates and maybe even relationships out of it,” she says.
Metselaar has also played host to several live panels in recent months, including one in Chicago with four local influencers and entrepreneurs just last week, and on Wednesday, she will lead a conversation between "The Bachelor’s" Nick Viall; CEO of Hinge, Justin McLeod; comedienne Tori Piskin; and writer and editor Alyssa Coscarelli at the Bowery Ballroom.
And as for any advice that Metselaar might have for others, whether they listen to “We Met At Acme” or not, she thinks the best thing people can do is take chances while they’re young. “Try to get everything out of your system while you can. Be open, don’t shut things down, and don’t say you have a specific type,” she says. “The happiest people I know are the ones who say yes and who take risks.”
IF YOU GO: Lindsey Metselaar of the We Met at Acme podcast will host a live panel at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Bowery Ballroom. Click here for tickets.