Love Island. MAFS. The Bachelor. TV dating shows are nothing new. But, what ever happened to the dating shows of yore: a time of talking robots and garish neons? We’re talking about Perfect Match: a peak-‘80s Australian game show, featuring contestants hidden behind an on-set divider, as suitors asked them personal questions before a live audience.

Turns out, the spirit of the show is alive and well in Brunswick.

Human Love Quest is a live onstage dating show that brings the golden age of television dating shows into the future. The future being now – today! Hosted in the beautiful Brunswick Ballroom, Victoria (Australia, for our overseas readers), anyone can participate in this classic trope of three hopefuls vying for the attention of one contestant; regardless of how they identify, what they’re comfortable with, or what they’re looking for in an encounter.

Our very own pleasure educator Chanelle spoke with the team from Human Love Quest to explore their antidote to the isolation of 2020; the antithesis of modern dating apps.

Chanelle: The obvious. What was it that set you love-crazed hooligans off to create Human Love Quest? 

Human Love Quest: Well, we had the idea for the show at some point before the pandemic, and the wheels were in motion to put it on in early 2020when, you know, the pandemic happened.

The Captain came on board right before that, as the genius jack of all trades he is, and Dr Gretta joined us about a year after our first show. Her monthly interview segment is a great opportunity to hear first-hand from people who work in the dating-adjacent world! We wanted to have a dating show where everyone was welcome, and everyone could find love. Except for bigots, of course. No time for them.

The Human Love Quest team sitting at a table

C: Aside from maybe finding their ‘one true love’ sitting on the other side of the divider, what do you hope folks might get out of experiencing HLQ, as both a contestant or audience member? 

HLQ: A sense of community, a lot of laughs, to feel supported with a reinvigorated feeling of connection with each other. Also, it’s fun to have a fun night out with your friends, and maybe make some new ones!

C: Out of you, love maestros, who's Cupid and who’s Aphrodite? Who’s the mooning-butt, flying baby and who’s the horny diva in the sky? 

HLQ:  Well, at our most recent annual Halloween Spooktacular show, Xander dressed as Cupid, so that’s an easy one. But also describing Conor as a horny diva in the sky isn’t totally inaccurate.

C: In the digital age, where the quest for love is mostly devised through apps, how does HLQ combat the societal norm of a quick ‘swipe’ in determining the next potential future lover?

HLQ: When people sign up to be a contestant (apart from personal things like age, gender, and who they’re looking to date), they also have the space to tell us about themselves. We endeavour to match people up with all their preferences as closely as we possibly can.

Honestly, most of the chemistry comes from learning about each other when they’re onstage in the show. Most of the questions the contestants ask/are asked and the subsequent responses, are equally heartwarming, hilarious, honest, and relatable for everyone in the room. Such a great way to get to know someone, and put the human back into human interaction, rather than swiping on someone based on their trading card-like dating app profile. We say this with all due respect to trading cards.

C: If the great ‘love’ thinkers of our time Socrates, Voltaire, and Nietzsche were contestants on HLQ, who do you think would be the winning sweetheart of the night? Who would be a hard NO?!

HLQ: Ooh, it really depends on what the solo contestant was looking for in a date! Socrates would probably suit someone who valued wellness and mindfulness, so maybe a coffee at CERES and a walk. Nietzsche would be more of an ‘after 10’, dimly lit dive bar hang, we also feel like he’d value snacks. And Voltaire would be more of an activity date person, so maybe a gallery hang, or a book fair. It would be funny to take Voltaire to a cabaret to see if he got the niche joke about the niche industrial band Cabaret Voltaire, but I don’t think he would, given when he was alive. Regardless, all three dates would be pretty intense.

C: HLQ has a segment called ‘Ahoy there’, where secret-admirer letters from the audience are read out live. Now, give us the SALACIOUS goss. What’s been the most scandalous confession of admiration?

HLQ: We don't know if the most salacious ones can be printed, they get pretty thirsty! And the scandalous ones are best experienced live, so you’d have to come to the show to hear them for yourselves.

But, one that recently struck a chord with everyone in the room was, “Everyone here is fucking gorgeous. Probably the 10th person to write this. I’m recently single, and this gives me hope”. The whole room burst into applause, what a lovely note!

C: Dexter – the co-host robot of the original Perfect Match – where is he now!?

HLQ: We don’t know about Dexter, but Conor has legit pitched for a robot to be in the show since day one. The world is not ready.

C: How the hell can I get my heart-throb of a mate on HLQ?

HLQ: Get your mate to sign up to be on the show!

The application form is available here or you can get it via the link in our bio on both Instagram – and FB if that’s your thing!

C: And of course, what are your top 3 most spectacular, cheese of all cheese love songs of all time? 

HLQ: Laura Branigan – Power of Love, Jeremy Jordan – The Right Kind of Love, and

Projection – Lovestruck (12” Remix).

Tired of aimless scrolling, swiping, small talk and stunted conversation? 

Head over to the Human Love Quest: putting the human back into actual human interaction since 2021.