People are single for all kinds of reasons. Some because their lifestyle can’t accommodate time for a partner. Others because they haven’t met the right person. Some of us are really fussy, others just don’t know how to speak to members of the opposite sex.
If you were to ask 100 singletons why they are single, I’m sure most would give slightly different answers. Which makes marketing to singles a bit of a minefield!
Match.com recently launched a series of adverts in tube stations and on the Underground trains, specifically targeted at that particular snapshot in time. ‘Dont you wish everyone in this carriage were single?‘ Or everyone on that particular escalator. Interestingly as the summer has gone on, the slogans have changed slightly – perhaps because of the incensed reaction they received from almost anyone single I know who saw them!
One school friend of mine felt genuinely insulted! ‘It’s not a matter of knowing they’re all single!’ She moaned. ‘For a start, over half the carriage is normally women and children, then there’s the old people! And then you actually need to be attracted to any of the men in the correct age bracket before you’d even be interested in knowing whether they were single or not!’
For my friend, and for most of the attractive, intelligent single women I know, it’s never been an issue of meeting single men. The complicated part is actually meeting someone to whom you’re attracted!
Recently a friend from work drew my attention to a new initiative. Following on from the (ill-fated) success of the LiveStrong wristbands, and the equivalent popularity of the Help For Heroes bracelets, a company has just launched ‘singles” wristbands, called ‘MY Single Band‘ so that single people can display their single status in a cheaper (and arguably far tackier,) way than married people display their position. These days an absence of a wedding ring can mean anything. Whilst more men now wear them than do from my father’s generation, there are still a large number who choose not to wear a band. And just because someone isn’t married, doesn’t mean he isn’t in a longterm relationship.
There’s also the sadder side of things, which I witnessed on the way home from Date in a Dash last month. A man who had just been telling me about a speed dating event he and his friend had been to, reached into his pocket and retrieved his wedding ring. It’s the same problem I have seen firsthand on dating websites like Plenty of Fish – unfortunately, not everyone using dating websites is single. A lot of people see it as an easy source of escapism. An opportunity to sniff out whether the grass really is greener on the other side. Apparently a lot of people in that situation never meet up- they just chat or exchange photos – but personally, if I found out my husband or partner had a profile on a dating website that he had been actively using in any way shape or form, I would find that akin to cheating!
But back to the single band idea. Because it links in nicely with one of the singles events I attended last Thursday night in London.
We started the night at a ‘Red Straw’ event run by Lovestruck.com at Yager Bar, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral. The concept is simple. A normal drinks night at a normal bar. Except if you’re single, you grab a red straw from the bar and drop it in your drink- whether you’re drinking wine, or a pint, or a soft drink. The red straw shows you are ‘single and looking’.
It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not really sure how successful it is. Because on a normal night out, if a guy wants to know whether you’re single or not, he’ll just come over and ask you anyway. And if I (or most of the single girls I know) like someone we see out, we would very rarely approach him (regardless of whether we knew he was single or not). Singles events normally work by making you mix and interact with other singletons, however the Red Straw event simply puts a higher percentage of single people in one place, and then relies on you to do the rest.
The events are really popular, and the large courtyard outside Yager was completely rammed, however people simply stood clustered with their groups of friends, with men occasionally attempting to break into the circles of girls with the same repetitive chat-up line, ‘So do these red straws actually mean something?!’.
We only stayed until 9 o’clock as we had a second singles’ event to attend, and perhaps as the night progresses, and the singletons get drunker, people get a bit more adventurous and confident and begin to mingle more, but the same could be said for any night in a pub!
Whatever the actual romantic success rate, Yager Bar definitely seemed to do well out of it. The bar was absolutely packed, and you could barely find space to stand in the courtyard. It’s an extremely simple gimmick for a bar to run to attract clientele. And as a singleton, it’s a great excuse for after-work drinks, with no extra cost than normal, and an increased number of single guys in attendance.
The second event of the night was Love & Lust‘s elite Chelsea Singles Party at Beaufort House Private Members Club. The brainchild of Julie Cockram and Tor Sandford, the events are slick, singles parties, in elite locations around London. The company’s tagline is ‘No games, no gimmicks, just drinks in one of London’s top private members clubs’, and it was just that. Miss32, The Little Mermaid and I arrived at Beaufort House at 9.30, probably about an hour too earlier, however the venue soon filled up. The stylish, modern club was decorated with glass vases and martini glasses filled with free sweets and brightly coloured plastic glasses, and the cocktails were flowing.
The £20 entry fee included a welcome drink, and for a Private Members club, the drinks were normal London prices, and comparable to those at Yaeger. The venue was divided in two, with a busy dance area on the first floor, with producer Jester manning the decks, and a quiet chill-out room and separate bar upstairs.
The atmosphere was relaxed, and it genuinely felt like a party. Interestingly, compared the the hectic crowds at Yager, the busy Chelsea venue was a lot more friendly. Everyone seemed up for mixing, and we were approached by friendly girls and guys. Not in a predatory manner, but simply in an interested, conversational way. Strangers compared notes on boys in the plush loos, and we oohed and ahed together as we celeb-spotted in the crowd.
The Love and Lust event was definitely different to any of the other events we’ve been to recently. For a start there were actually normal, attractive guys there! Not the celebs, but guys who actually reminded Miss32 and I of our male friends – something we haven’t really found before at any of the other singles events. An added perk, the host of singletons attending also included Cheska, Ollie and Binky from Made in Chelsea, former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, and TV presenter Matt Johnson. The first Love & Lust London event was also attended by organiser Tor’s sister Frankie from the Saturdays – so definitely not your average singles crowd!
Love & Lust London definitely delivered. It was a fun party, with no gimmicks, and an elite feel. The only suggestions I might have for improvement would be holding the parties at the weekend (as it was a shame to have to leave at midnight, knowing I had work the next day), and perhaps improving the branding to do the event justice. The white and neon branding was a little on the tacky side, as were the cheap white baseball caps being worn by staff at the venue. The kitsch cool branding undersold the luxury feel of the club, and the air of elitism which were a welcome draw in a city full of singles, and different daily singles events, which are often frequented by guys I know I would never look twice at in a Tube carriage. The entry price could also be higher, to ensure a more high-end calibre of singles nights, with the extra costs going on glasses of champagne, or more cocktails on entry perhaps?
Compared to the ‘elite’ singles night Miss32, Miss Nameless, The Nanny and I attended in Clapham a few weeks ago, the Love & Lust London event won hands down, and we all said we would happily go to the next one (and just take the next day off work!). As a picky singleton, looking for a certain type of guy, this kind of singles event was a breath of fresh air, and a really fun way to spend a Thursday night in London. The idea definitely has legs, and I could see the Love & Lust empire easily expanding to parties in elite city locations around Europe, or parties on yachts or in ski resorts.
For once, we were at a singles event which didn’t make us come away feeling bad about being single! (Though we did leave in a highly ungraceful manner, with me screaming out the window of a taxi at Miss32 to take a picture of Binky and Cheska who had just arrived! Slick!)
But back to the singles bands …
Do you need to know if someone is single or not? Only normally, if they’re chatting you up on a dating website!
For me, it’s not knowing whether a guy is single or not, which is the issue. It’s knowing what a guy is looking for. Internet dating profiles tend to allow singletons to make clear exactly what they are after … though my experience would suggest male daters tend to choose options which make them appear more committed, and female daters try to err on the side of the more casual options, even if that’s not what they really want.
But the problem with normal dating is that people don’t come with labels, or tags saying exactly what they want. If they did, then I probably wouldn’t have ended up getting hurt by either Henley Boy or the Enigma situation!
So whilst I don’t see the point in wearing a wristband to show you’re Single, I could see some merits in a band that denotes you’re ‘Single and looking for a relationship’! Or ‘Single and just wanting to get laid!’ Though I can’t imagine too many of the ‘normal’ single guys I know signing up to wear one of those! And even if they did, would they be telling the truth? Or would the band just go back in their pocket the minute they left the bar or club?
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx