I launched Dining With Strangers four years ago today.
Back then I had precisely zero interviews planned other a lunch with my friend Joe, where we came up with the idea for the site. At least, I’m going to claim I was 95% of the inspiration for site, he just provided the 5% of mockery.
Since that time I’ve met some genuinely nice people that I’ve stayed in touch with — for example, on visits to New York City I can call on Cuban singing sensation Margarita Pracatan for fun conversation, plenty of wine and some attempts at singing. Then there’s the circus clown in Los Angeles whose Facebook updates always put a smile on my face. And there’s the writer who won my friendship by getting me intoxicated before a flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. and keeping me laughing throughout dinner. He’s since moved to Germany but we keep in touch by email.
Others I’ve met just for the interviews are interesting folk with careers I’d never otherwise have been educated on: a voodoo priestess, a tattoo artist, Santa Claus, a tightrope walker and many others. It’s been a great experience so far.
The only interview I’ve done on my actual birthday was in 2010, when in mid-July I sat down for lunch at the apartment of gay-for-pay porn star Malachi Marx. It’s one of the longest interviews — mostly as we spent many hours talking compared to the usual hour or less for these interviews, and also prompted the most backlash in the comments section. But whatever anyone might think of Malachi (which you might guess is not his real name), I’m still grateful for the improvised birthday cake that he and his girlfriend made for me.
Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun.
To the handful of loyal readers on this little-visited website: thank you for reading and please continue to visit.
When I started this site I traveled a lot more for work than I do now, so the regularity of interviews has decreased. But I’m still looking to take interesting strangers to dinner, and despite recent lies by myself to the contrary, the 46th article is on its way. After that’s online, I don’t have anything coming until 2013, but I’m already reaching out to potential interviewees for next year.
Here’s to another four years.