There seemed to be a single purpose as I walked into the club with my friend: have an enjoyable evening. Or maybe it was to meet a prospective partner, where the only certain commonality would be our current relationship status.
This was not a typical club night. I was given tickets to a singles event hosted by Events and Adventures and a couple of local radio stations. While I would typically be opposed to (what I would consider) a contrived setup, the tickets were free, so there was no risk.
Having modest expectations at the outset, I was pleasantly surprised. We arrived an hour and a half after the start, and while there weren’t many people at the club, there was certainly a fun vibe. The staff were friendly and upbeat, smiling and cracking jokes. The music was good, and not so loud as to inhibit conversation. There were games: a contest for the worst pickup line, Christmas bingo, and a photo booth with accompanying silly hats and glasses for the perfect cheesy pics. And there was complimentary wine (white of course, in case you inevitably spilled on yourself or someone else).
We walked over to a group of older women and simply introduced ourselves and started chatting. I wasn’t even wearing my “boyfriend material” shirt (the line my friend used to place second in the contest), but absent the pressure there often is on a typical club night, we were free to chat, take goofy group photos and have fun getting to know each other. I made a good connection with one of the girls in the group, and we all went for pizza at the nearby Megabite after leaving the club. A fun night all in all.
So really, what was going on? In my past experience, I’ve found that my best relationships started when I met my partner somewhere I wasn’t really looking: school, work, traveling, sports, through friends.
Scenarios where I was having fun, in a positive and confident mood, and doing things I would normally do in my life. Scenarios where I wasn’t actively out to meet someone.
This is why I haven’t been a fan of the bar scene. The connections are tenuous and overly concerned with image rather than emotion. If you go clubbing or bar hopping just to pick-up, there’s a good chance you’ll be out-alpha’ed by someone with a more attractive image, however vain and fatuous.
And yet, with singles events – where the purpose is ostensibly to meet potential long-term partners, but in fun environments as diverse as clubs or hikes in the great outdoors – I could see it possibly working well.
So is it better for singles to do things they’re passionate about and be open to meeting new people through those pursuits, in the normal course of life? Or just to have fun with other singles even if it’s not something you’d normally do? Maybe there isn’t a single best way after all.