In the age of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, an offline dating service may seem like an antiquated concept, but singles like Karen O’Reilly say internet dating lacks the facetime many folks feel they need to make a connection.
“I’ve been on all of them,” O’Reilly says. “(With dating apps) you don’t get that personal-ness. You don’t get to actually see their characteristics: their body language, eye contact, you don’t get any of that. You could be talking to someone who is completely phony and is just lying.”
Locally based Singles in the Peg hopes to provide a solution for those who are unsatisfied with online dating. The service organizes group activities like dances and speed dating, targeted to specific demographics.
“Lots of people had nowhere to go to do activities (and) to meet other singles,” Singles in the Peg owner Carolyn Alexander says. “There are socials and the bar, but that isn’t necessarily meeting singles (exclusively), and I really wanted to develop something where different demographics (of singles) could meet.”
Singles in the Peg works with three different demographics. Alexander offers singles events like dances, dinners and speed dating nights to hetrosexual people who are 21 and older, 40 and older and to an LGBT-exclusive group.
O’Reilly, who is a 50-year-old lesbian, says Single in the Peg “is fabulous, because ... I can meet other lesbians in that group setting, as opppsed to going into a bar, and you don’t know if (the person you are talking to) is a lesbian or not.”
Through Single in the Peg, “I can meet women of all ages, from all different backgrounds, different ethnicities,” she says. “You get to meet amazing individuals. It opens up a wide variety just for you,” by organizing groups based on age and sexual orientation.
Meeting face-to-face, Alexander and O’Reilly agree, is key.
“It is a lot of pressure to meet someone on your own. With a group, (you have) a safety net,” Alexander says. “You can’t really hide who you are in person. Behind the computer, you could be anyone you want.”
“With speed dating, you get to meet a few people because of the time limit, so if you ask the appropriate questions, and they give you their responses, you get a better understanding and a better judgement to actually go forward,” O’Reilly says.
Currently, Alexander is testing an online speed dating option for people living in rural areas.
People have contacted her to say “they want to meet people, but they don’t necessarily want to drive in (to Winnipeg),” Alexander says.
She is continuing to develop new activities and is conducting research about the demographics of singles in Winnipeg and other cities.
New activities coming up include a night of dinner and drinks, called “Cocktails in the City” and a bowling night of “Single, Mingle Bowling.”
Registration for these activities is available online at singlesinthepeg.com. Discounts are available with a membership.