From time to time, the company I work for runs events for singles.
Without fail, we sell out of women's tickets every time we have one. And without fail, we are scrambling for men -- anyone with a Y chromosome really -- willing to attend.
The other day, one of our precious male ticket sales called. "Hi, I was just told that I have a ticket to tomorrow's event," he said. "I will not be able to attend. Can I apply my ticket to another class?"
"Sure," I said. "We're having another event for singles in Februrary."
"What about OTHER classes?" he said. "Someone else bought this ticket for me, and... I just found out and... she did it out of self-interest."
"Well... we have some classes scheduled... for couples," I stammered.
"Hmm," he said. "The person who bought this ticket is trying to marry me off."
"I hate when that happens," I said.
"She is about the grandchildren," he elaborated, his anger barely concealed.
I felt for the guy. He wasn't the first emotional person I'd encountered calling about singles classes. I've had a woman call me an hour before the event, asking what she should wear, because she's a single mom and it's the first time been out there in years. Another woman asked if it was OK that she's 52, even though our age guideline is 35-50, because all she runs into is sixtysomethings. Some women, encountering a sold-out message at the ticket site, have tried to buy men's tickets instead.
One man bitterly asked me why he should bother coming to our singles events, given that we don't show photos or profiles of the registered attendees ahead of time. I acknowledge that this would be helpful, in theory. Hell, wouldn't it be nice to get a roster of scheduled attendees handed to you before you went to anything, including work? But my attempts to explain that this wasn't feasible were met with further complaints. He typed that the "couger [sic] thing is out of control" in the Bay Area and that the events he has been to have been all older women and younger men because there are "too many tech guys" in this area.
Somehow, I don't think age discrepancies are this guy's main hurdle.
Still, it makes me sad to see so many hopeful, eager women and more than a few angry and/or apathetic men. But then again, the context is a singles event. I think once you get to the level of "singles event," you have been through some things. And those things are probably not good.
But here's the thing: We are offering a night of food, wine, and at least 15-20 seriously eager single women. Sometimes, when we are in dire straits, we are offering it gratis. And we STILL are scrambling in the 11th hour. What is it, men? My sense is that if you are a guy who is a) honestly straight and b) 35-50, you may be in a sort of recessed zone only reachable via porn sites, takeout menus and Law and Order. Should we advertise on these channels instead?
Music: "Feel This Way"