single in the city?
If you’re single but not quite sold on the idea of letting your folks match horoscopes with a stranger on a matrimonial website, check out some novel dating networks that bring together like-minded people and act as a catalyst to serendipity
It’s ironical that in our hectic urban life, surrounded as we are by an ever swelling sea of humanity, and with abundant technology entrenching itself into our daily lives, many of us crave for a slice of privacy but still want to shed the bouts of loneliness that attack us every now and then. Thanks to our frenzied work timings and the walls we create around us to prevent strangers from stepping in, we often want to discuss an author’s work with someone, or dissect a classical dancer’s abhinaya, dwell on a Sufi singer’s lyrics, chatter about the merits of a vegan diet or even do mundane things like relishing blue cheese, but can’t just because it’s so tough meeting that one special person in this crowd of millions.
“A few years ago, I was at a party in Bengaluru where there was a platter of Roquefort blue cheese,” recalls Siddharth Mangharam. “Though most folks don’t like its pungent flavour, one attractive lady was really enjoying it. That got us chatting about our shared passion for cheeses. We built an instant connection that would never have been possible if we had met online or even if we were introduced to each other by friends. This serendipitous interaction led us to forming our company and ultimately, getting married.” Mangharam and his wife, Simran, run Floh (floh.in), India’s first singles network.
Savouring a piece of Roquefort blue
cheese may not be the only raison d’être for several singles networks that have mushroomed all over the world. The idea behind these networks—which are very unlike the conventional marriage networks—is to catalyse serendipity (i.e. a happy accident). They all believe that a shared experience is worth a thousand
If you look up companies organising
interesting events around the world, you are bound to stumble upon Muddy Matches (muddymatches.co.uk), a UKbased company that brings together rural lonely hearts and has even ts for single farmers, countryside lovers and equestrian singles looking for love. “Like all great ideas, we came up with this one in a pub in London,” says Lucy Reeves, co-founder of Muddy Matches. “Nursing hangovers, we were discussing how popular community, social-networking and dating sites had become and how, through them, lots of our friends had met some pretty amusing people. However, we found that there were no sites for people who love the countryside and aren’t afraid of mud. It doesn’t matter whether you like walking or shooting, whether you actually live in the countryside or just like to spend time there as long as you are not averse to mud.” Who would’ve guessed that their Mud Lover’s Ball is quite popular and sees several hundreds of people making merry?
The inherent idea that these ventures are based on is that a soulmate should be the kind of person with whom one can spend the rest of one’s life, is likeminded, and can participate and enjoy activities and hobbies similar to yours. Imagine getting hooked to a person because of his or her looks, money, family background or qualifications and then finding out that while you love music and operas, s/he is tone deaf; or while you love playing sports, they would rather plonk themselves in front of the telly; or that while you devour the works of Rowling, they, in fact, prefer Dostoyevsky!
So, you have sites where there are members who are only vegans, animal aficionados or environment lovers, people who love the arts in any form or are even in the older age group segment. You will also stumble upon websites for kids who want their single parent to have friends. The variety is immense. Of course, there are mass social networking websites like Facebook, but verifying the authenticity of the charming stranger on any of these is quite a task. When you register for one of these groups, though chances are that each group member has been verified, and their backgrounds have been dissected. For example, though Floh works mostly on invitationbasis, you can also write to them to join in, after which you can expect your profile to be screened to see if you fit into the ‘like-minded group’. Rejection rates, the owners claim, are high.
Encouraging social skills among singletons is often backed by research, as is the case with eHarmony (eharmony.com). Having practiced as a clinical psychologist and a counsellor for married couples since over 35 years, Dr Neil Clark Warren decided that there has to be a better way of finding mates than leaving it to
odd chance, thereby launching his USA-based company that has branches all over the world including Asia. J. Harry from their customer care cell tells us, “We investigate and understand what makes long-term relationships successful by conducting ongoing, rigorous scientific research to keep the matching model up-to-date and relevant for domestic and international markets. Every geographical region has different culture and lifestyle. We keep this in mind when we get people to meet up.”
It turns out that these websites have members that are open-minded, educated and mostly urban in their thinking if not always their geography. Adds Mangharam, “At Floh, we have urban, independent individuals and those who have a passion for diverse experiences. We have doctors, lawyers, MBAs, bankers, individuals working with nonprofits, architects and even a TED Fellow. The common thread among the members is that they are highly educated.”
Before you click the ‘join’ button of a dating website, though, you must check its authenticity. Do check out the site’s review column, talk to friends and do your research. Most websites have a customer care department where the manager verifies the information sent by hopeful members. However, do have your guard up if the website promises you free membership.
Get clicking, and your life might take you down the road it took Kriti Sachdeva who met Polish computer engineer Maciek Kolbusz on Veggie Connection (veggieconnection.com), a website that gets together vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists and those following a macrobiotic approach. Today, they are known to the world as Mrs and Mr Kolbusz!
Log on to find Love
The web has shrunk the world. You can be friends with anyone from anywhere but be sure to make a careful and judicious judgment. To help you out, we shortlist some dating sites to choose from:
● mysinglefriend.com: For your single friends
● friendfinder.com: For those looking for an online magazine with plenty of good housekeeping tips and advice. You can chat with your new friends via a webcam.
● zoosk.com: For romantic rendezvous; comes with a Facebook dating app
● telegraph.co.uk/dating: For those aged 40+
● sagaconnections.co.uk: For those aged 50+ (turns out that they are the fastest daters these days)
● lovearts.com: For singles who love the performing arts, especially theatre
● datingvegetarian.co.uk: For vegans whose lifestyle is based on conviction, power of will and the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle
● greensingles.com: For the environmental, vegetarian and animalrights communities and people who value outdoor life
● indiandating.com: For local singles
● fropper.com: For making new friends, finding dates and having fun