Monday, August 29, 2005

This Just In: Men Afraid of Singles Events

These are the times that try single men's souls. Which is why, when it comes to singles events, most of them would rather just stay home. This results in a gross imbalance that most women have noticed; there are precious few men in attendance, and lots of women to compete over them. (Of course, the fact that most of the men in attendance probably will be too fearful to make an approach makes the women present feel even less attractive.) The Indianapolis Star reports that "intimidation," "fear of humiliation," and "fear of rejection" are some reasons that men give for not attending singles events. But the number one reason? "Um, I didn't know about it." That's right, good old "lack of information" was the number one reason. But further analysis of the results points to the fact that men aren't so much uninformed as they are insecure.
Joe tells us, "I don't fancy myself a good mixer, so the prospect of being someplace where I know nobody, and where the environment is conspicuous by its grand design for people to mingle, would scare the bejabbers out of me. I admit I have never attended one of these activities, so I speak with a profound sense of ignorance, based largely on nightmarish adolescent experiences attending dances and the like."
So he's basing his knowledge of singles events on his never having attended them, and drawing analogs to his experience as an adolescent. I do love his use of the word "bejabbers." That's adding some local flava, fa shizzle.
Bob explains, "Men do not generally like structured dating situations because they do not like the feeling of being trapped in a place where they have little or no control over their own situation."
Um, dude? Remember that SNL skit where the guy said "I always feel like I'm falling!" And the host of the talk show told him to "Look at yourself. Are you falling?" And sure enough, the guy understood that he wasn't falling. You're not trapped. And you have all the control! You say you'd be flattered if a woman were to show interest, but it is the experience of most online daters that you hate it when women approach you, and you humiliate us the way you're afraid you'll be humiliated. So be a little open-minded, and it'll probably open up your heart, too. Here are the other reasons:
  • Lack of information (17 percent)
  • Single parenting responsibilities (15 percent)
  • Fear of rejection (12 percent)
  • Fear of humiliation (9 percent)
  • Work (8 percent)
  • Shyness (6 percent)
  • Lack of time (6 percent)
  • Not wanting to get involved (3 percent)

I can't wait for the boys to weigh in on this one.


Shoshana said...

I recently went to a singles event where there were plenty of men in attendance - the problem was that they were all way too old and really geeky. The reason why normal men don't go to singles events? Anyone?

T.A.B. said...

Here's an idea: why don't the women approach the men? Or is that too radical of a concept?

Mike said...

I stopped going because the first few I went to had many more menthan women. Of course statistically speaking guys are more likely to end up in events that have more guys, and women are more likely to end up in ones that have more women. It probably clusters even worse than you expect because guys would be attracted to different events than women.
Like how in jdate and com there are many more men than women, but in eharmony and there are more women.

Rye said...

I find that going to too many singles events in a short period of time can cause an "industry: effect. You feel desensitized and familliar to the same people week in and week out. I find that if I go to a singles event every other month, I stay fresh and intriguing. People won't see me at every event, and I always have new stories to tell.

I'm glad I read this blog because it has inspired me to evaluate the way I perceived singles event. The next time I go to one I am going to try a new tack. Instead of looking at all the women as a whole, I am going to look for one person who might knock my socks off. Stay at the event for a shorter duration, and really key in on what I am looking for.

Anonymous said...

I've been to one or two.

Usually I avoid them for several reasons:

1) Many folks, like me, do not do well AT ALL in large crowds, and are usually shy folks, easily crowded out by the "alpha males". (We just slink away into the corner, since we already see some other loud-mouthed guy is chatting you up, or there's a line of other guy folks waiting for the next slot already).

2) Corollary: The girls all hang out together as a group, creating an intimidating situation. Men aren't sure whether it's OK to even go up and put things on the line, since they are often left feeling like the girls would rather hang with their friends than get to know you. Big hint to the women-folk: If you want a man to approach you, you need to make an effort to leave your girlfriends at the door and leave yourself clearly open in the crowd. Many men don't like the pressure and judgement of being scoped out by your friends when he's already nervous.

2) If it's a Shabbaton, being trapped all week-end bunked in tight quarters with weird, negative older men, and being stuck in a bad scene where you can't easily leave definitely turns me off.

3) Too many New York types, who all know each other and are cliques. I'm much more likely to attend a singles event if there will be a more varied crowd, and more sane dating attitudes.

4) Creepy girls who hang with you, when you really have no interest in them, but their girlfriend, who you'd prefer to meet - not wanting to "spoil it for them" - won't give you a chance. Instead, you can spend an awkward event trying to ditch someone who's not your type, without hurting her feelings.

5) It just feels weird to try and mingle and connect with lots of people at once - it goes against the natural order of focussing on women person and vice versa.

In short - we men simply don't like singles events, and all the above baggage.

Give me a shadchan and a one-on-one setting any day.

I loathe singles events.

Anonymous said...

Fresh controversy -- thanks Esther! "Singles events" continue to exist because singles still go and some actually get together and form relationships. The better singles events are organized to help everyone socialize -- they'll have ice-breakers and round robin seating, for example. Speeddating succeeds because it's a highly controlled atmosphere where there will always be the same number of men and women, and the activity is time-limited.

The best way to meet other singles is to go to events where you're doing something you enjoy, such as hiking, biking, cooking or doing charity work. For example, many cities have departments of parks and recreation where they have volunteers doing everything from painting benches to pulling weeds, and then get together to socialize afterwards. Some other examples -- for Jews, try the Jewish Outdoors Club (where I know a couple who met on one of their hikes) and for everyone there's Meet Market Adventures.

Also, once singles -- men & women -- are actually informed about an event, it behooves them to do a little investigation beforehand. Find out about the activity and who their target audience is in terms of age. That way, you decrease the chances that you'll be stuck at an event where you're just cruising the crowd and attempting to meet someone based solely on "glance appeal."

Giving into the "fear factors" of dating won't get you any closer to creating a meaningful relationship. You'll just be rejecting other singles from the comfort of your own living room.

Dr. Janice

Gatsby said...

I agree with Dr. Janice. The best singles events are those that aren't singles events. You should be out doing things and just talking to people. Without all the pressure of "meeting someone", I'm more able to relax and actually meet someone. If not, i'm likely to find some friends. New friends often have single friends as well!

Chutzpah said...

The reason there are no normal men at Singles Events is because they encounter plenty of women of every type in their regular daily course of events who throw themselves at them as soon as they sense a shred of normalcy.

Simcha said...

The Groucho Marx Syndrome: I wouldn't marry someone I met at one of those fakokteh Jewish singles events.

afroblanca said...

I went to a JDate mixer once. Dumbest d@mn thing I've ever seen. Seriously, if I were the kind of guy who could hack that sort of environment, would I be going to some stupid JDate mixer? Please.

"I know, let's make a bar scene for people who hate the bar scene!"


(Oh yeah, and I disagree with your synopsis of guys not liking women who approach them. WTF?! What guys are YOU talking to?)

R.J. said...

"Normal" doesn't exist.

The definition will always be subjective.

Grow some ovaries and approach the men you want to approach.

Then you will know why men don't attend "Singles Events".

Men are tired of doing everything and getting little or no return on their efforts from women who bring very little to the table.

To those women who actually have it "together" and get it: You rock, and deserve the best.

but otherwise, no, I'm not buying you a drink.

You gotta earn it.