The month of living romantically

Posted on 28 Oct 2010 at 7:20pm

Kevin Richberg turned his quest for a mate into a countrywide husband search

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

RIDE ’EM COWBOY (HUNTER)  |  Richberg allowed himself the full Texas experience — going horseback riding on a date.
RIDE ’EM COWBOY (HUNTER) | Richberg allowed himself the full Texas experience — going horseback riding on a date.

Kevin Richberg is looking for a man. And he’s giving himself a month — and most of America — to find him.

Richberg started his project — 30 Dates, 30 Days, 30 Cities — with a simple premise: Meet a month’s worth of men online, set up dates with one in each of 30 cities, and hit the road. For the month of October, he’s been driving around, starting from his home base of New York City and proceeding south, then west, then north, west again and back to the northeast. And each night, a new man in every port.

Initially the experiment may sound easy — a road trip with a date a day — until you realize it is unrelenting. Traveling and getting ready for a date and making a first impression 30 times in a row. But Richberg says it really was easy.

Earlier this year, “I spent 30 days going from city to city in India, sightseeing but not dating. That [experience] makes this seem like a birthday party,” he says.

The experience hasn’t been what he expected — it’s been much better.

“I went into this with the expectation that unintended consequences — glitches, unforeseen weather or being stood up — would be a part of this. Or that I might have completely misread who I had chosen to go out with and one of the dates would be a monumental disaster. It’s been the opposite of all those things.”

For the first half of the trip, he had near-perfect weather and “met the most amazing people with whom I have gotten along famously. There’s no one I didn’t laugh with or wouldn’t stay in touch with.”

He set a lot of ground rules: He wanted every date planned before he began the trip, using a variety of sites, from Manhunt.net to Gay.com and Craigslist, to find applicants (He didn’t allow photographs or ages to keep the selection process as fair as possible.) Throughout the summer, 1,000 people filled out “proposals” detailing the date they had planned. Then in September, he weeded through them to begin his quest for Mr. Right.

“I asked people in different cities if they would be my date in that particular city,” he says. Some said no for logistic reasons, such as being out of town the day he’d be in their city. At least one other has an even better excuse.

“My [planned] date in Salt Lake City told me right after he sent in the application, he met someone and now they’re getting married,” he says. He found replacement dates each time. (He had only one post-trip cancellation, in Chicago, just days before the project ended.)

Richberg spent two days in Texas a few weeks ago — Houston, then Fort Worth — with interesting results.

“In Houston, I went horseback riding and to the aquarium but the man I dated was very shy. He very politely tried to eat barbecue while I’m stuffing my face,” he says. North Texas was more complicated: His date had three kids and his babysitter cancelled. Richberg ended up going to the State Fair (“which was awesome!”) with the man he had originally asked out; then all three of them, plus the kids, went to a family-friendly restaurant together.

That wasn’t the only “threesome.”

“I did several dates outside my comfort zone,” he says. “I went out with a couple; I went out with an HIV-positive man in Montana, I went out with someone who’s blind, again in Montana — Montana’s got some great gays-with-a-twist.”

Richberg insists it isn’t just a gimmick: He really is on the prowl for a boyfriend.

“I got out of a relationship I was intense about in December 2009,” he says. “When I conceived this in March, it was being newly single and thinking about finding ‘the one’ — I’m 32 years old and wanna have a family. I thought, if I don’t take some radical chances… .”
So he left room for the possibility of actual romance?

“Absolutely. One thing I keyed in on [in the application process] was the feeling that the person [applying] was taking this seriously, the same way I was. Hopefully I will meet someone I will like and we’ll be friends. If all goes really well, we’ll hang out and see if this goes anywhere.”

So how will it all end?

“On Halloween there’s a twist,” he says. “You have to wait to find out what.”

To follow his romantic escapades, visit 30Dates30Days30Cities.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

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