I made an unusual New Year’s resolution for 2017. Although happily married myself, I decided I was going to try to help my single friends meet people — via Facebook. Enough of bad, sad and mad newsfeeds, I would use this powerful tool to transform lives and create happiness. The 2010 Facebook film was called The Social Network for a good reason. I conservatively estimated that with my 400 or so FB friends, we could bring together fifty or so single friends. We just needed to make a concerted effort.
Many unmarried women in their forties struggle to find suitable partners. Typically, guys their age are looking for younger partners, in the hope of starting a family, while the much older men are just much too old. And where can a girl meet people? One friend told me that the prospect of going to ‘single’ events is as appealing as a cattle market. Moreover, if it’s a public event, she said, it attracts random types, and the evening can feel very depressing.
Then there are the dating apps. One problem with these is that without a matchmaker, people can behave really badly — not show up, or drop you without an explanation. Moreover, you are meeting complete strangers which makes it all rather dodgy. No information about background, personality, history or reputation, is not a good way to embark on a relationship.
I have around a dozen unmarried friends. They’re capable, intelligent, motivated and attractive. One candidly admits that she “missed the boat,” and now warns women in their twenties to be proactive in their search for a lifelong partner, as the luxury of choice has evaporated by the time you hit forty.
As sad as this is, I am still a believer in the power of networking. I think that with social media, we can create more choice than at any time in the past. The problem is that it is not being exploited to good effect.
I am not a matchmaker, nor do I intend to become one. However, I figured that through the Facebook network, we could pool our contacts and bring together friends of friends. In this way we fix a point of reference (the mutual friend), and generate the possibility of connecting like-minded people. We just need to get on with it.
So I posted a message that I was organising an informal drinks event and yes, I used that word “singles.” I know, I know. But my Facebook friends needed to understand the objective for this plan to work. The post told people to message me with names of those who might want to attend. That whole day my phone was a-buzz with Whatsapp and Facebook messages, recommending the names of many a “great girl.” Eventually I estimated that I had a three-to-one ratio of females to males. My plan was flawed. There are so many eligible women out there, but a real dearth of suitable men.
So I edited the post: “No date as yet as it depends on getting the right balance of guys and girls (ATM a lot of girls).” Then I waited . . . and nothing happened. And then I edited the post to tag a few friends who might have missed the post. Still nothing. Along the way I was meeting a lot of people who congratulated me on my initiative and offered me yet another eligible girl.
I also heard stories about girls from South America and Melbourne travelling to the UK, to find men because of the imbalance in their home towns.
And yet I couldn’t find any men for my home-grown girls — apart from the near-misses. One mum messaged me on behalf of her lovely-looking son, who promptly objected to her meddling. Another friend raised my hopes when she recommended two “very eligible” guys, but both were impractically based abroad.
Not ready to give up, I decided it was time to step up the campaign again. For the third round of my Facebook post I decided not to call it a singles event any more. Instead I now invited anyone and everyone to attend a drinks evening. “Please put your thinking caps on, and message me names of single MALE friends. With your help we can help them!” I urged.
In spite of my good intentions my New Year’s resolution has not got off to quite the start I had hoped for. (A bit like my previous resolutions to quit chocolate) Where are all the men, I keep asking myself? So I’m moving beyond Facebook to the pages of the JC. If you’re a single male between 30-50, then I’ve a glass or two of wine awaiting you.