As a student, dating-wise, you’ve got it made. Since reaching sexual maturity, you have been surrounded by single people your own age.
And though some may have better luck/prowess in this dating buffet, at least you all know that the steam trays of people are stocked should you get peckish.
Cut to after graduation. You get a job (or as the current government would have it, two part-time jobs) and suddenly you’re stuffed into an undate-able mixed bag of ages. Your boss is 60. Your manager is 38 and married. The stock boy? Jailbait.
And because you spend the bulk of your time at work and with already established friends (who begin to couple up) suddenly the East India Company-style buffet of potential partners is nothing but a few dried up pakoras.
So what do you do? How does one encounter potential dates or mates after 25?
Nightclubs? You’re now the oldest person there, avoiding troupes of limb flailing, selfie-taking, inebriated YOLOs. And where are all the craft beers with quirky names?
How about a rec league sports team? An excellent way to get out of your comfort zone, but you don’t do a ton of socializing whilst throwing a Nerf ball at someone’s head.
And friend of a friend introductions? They become few and far between as you get older and your friends begin amassing already coupled friends.
The optimistic might say that anywhere you happen to be is a potential place to meet someone. But not in the same concentration of unattached people as before. Is the person in line with you at the BDI getting a Goog…for one? Do you possess the outgoing personality allowing you to strike up conversations with strangers? As I discovered when attending the Safeway Singles Night a few weeks ago, many many people do not.
The Facebook event that drew 700 single Winnipeggers to the River and Osborne Safeway in hopes of meeting other singles, felt like a frightened Shriner’s parade circling around the bakery section, too shy or perhaps too polite to ask an appealing shopper “Pumpernickel, huh?”.
I saw just how many Winnipeggers are in need of a place to meet, and just be “out” together. And that the current dating infrastructure for the non-YOLO, 25-and-overs is severely lacking.
Whereas in cities like Montreal you can find mingle zones geared toward the 25 and over crowd, 30 and over, even the 40 and over crowd.
Nightclubs with drink specials that won’t give you diabetes.
Slower paced establishments like wine bars, where people go to have a drink and converse (and actually hear one another).
Winnipeg’s options? Coffee shops that close at 5:30.
Nightlife aside, what about purposeful meeting spots? Singles bowling events were once a thing. Our grandparents had mixers and dances. Sound lame? They worked.
Things like Tinder or online dating sites are useful tools, but they can’t compare to flesh and blood people, face-to-face.
We may not be at the buffet anymore, but we’re still hungry.
Jane Testar is a writer and performer with the Winnipeg sketch comedy troupe, Hot Thespian Action, an improviser with local improv troupe, Outside Joke, and the host of the CBC Comedy Factory Podcast.