Thursday, January 15, 2009

Disconnect.

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"

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't assume it's the men's fault.

Many women have absurd expectations (and many don't). Although many men also have absurd expectations, I think this phenomena is more prevalent among women.

I'm suspicious that it might be almost fully cultural, but I can't be sure, since I'm only familiar with the urban American experience.

Maybe 'expectations' doesn't entirely capture it, maybe it's a form of neuroses as well.

2:59 PM  
Blogger the wayward o said...

i bet there are a lot of fanny packs and hushpuppies at those events.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous KPC said...

I think you're facing tough competition from Match.com and the like. The men, and women, in my office who are looking all use social media to find appropriate dates.

Also, how many straight guys are there in SF who are single in their 40s? It might be a tough demographic to find.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous,

You could argue that the wholesale dumping of men in the "porn/takeout menu/law and order" basket is a totally neurotic.

Everybody know that the best men are those who watch "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." Those takeout-eating, porn-hooked men are watching "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."

Also, I think you confuse "takeout" with "urban".

Domino's Pizza delivers everywhere.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Uh oh. OK: Anonymous no. 1, there's no blaming going on here. I'm as confused about why men are so averse to our singles events as I am astounded that women are so eager to buy tickets. I think KPC is right that both sexes, when motivated, are turning to online dating. Which is great.

Anonymous no. 2: Hey, lighten up a little. I kid. Would it help if I added a line about women sitting at home with wine, 'Sex and the City' and their neuroses? Or maybe I'm just talking about me.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for linking to everything but the girl with this one. Way to go for takin' it back!

1:59 AM  
Anonymous KPC said...

Wow, Christina seems to have touched a nerve. This has become an uncomfortable moment.

I think it's fair to wonder why an event appeals consistently to one sex, but not the other. The piece never says all men are watching porn and getting take-out; just that some single guys might be doing that. Humor, you see.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i watch porn so much i don't have time for take-out

11:38 AM  
Blogger Jackson Kuhl said...

The Billy Goats Gruff must be around because it looks like somebody climbed out from under his bridge.

I'm not single but those events sound as appealing as jumping in a tank full of piranhas. I imagine anything with testicles wandering in there is immediately swarmed by who are you, what do you do, how much money do you make, what kind of car do you drive, do you want to get married Tuesday and have the baby on Thursday. The only way I could see myself going to one of those things is getting a bunch of buddies, fortifying ourselves with Dutch courage, and bum rushing the show. So my advice is to somehow market your events toward groups of men rather than individuals. Maybe advertise that if a dude brings three buddies, he gets a gift certificate to a massage parlor.

And one more thing: wine is something you serve at dinner, not use as an incentive to straight men seeking SWFs. Seriously. You might as well tell them to tie sweaters around their necks. Serve beer instead. And maybe whiskey or single-malt Scotch.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Jackson, I think your promotional idea is genius. I will relay it to the management and send you a bottle of whiskey when I receive my inevitable promotion. I also enjoy your stereotyping of women here because it calls attention away from my stereotyping of men.

5:20 PM  
Blogger hans q. bungle said...

Do men actually watch Law & Order? They must, because it's been on the air for 20 years. But I've only met women who watch it.

Re: your post: why do these women seem to get more desperate as they get older while the men get more nonchalant? I dunno.

Perhaps it could be Eau Claire Syndrome? The University of Wisconsin's Eau Claire campus has traditionally been about 2/3 women, and from limited anecdotal evidence (stories I heard in college) this ratio has created some very unusual sexual behavior among both sexes on campus. Perhaps SF's huge gay male population (which, I may be incorrectly assuming, is significantly larger than its lesbian population) has created an Eau Claire-like imbalance in the number of single, straight men and women. If this is true, both groups behave predictably: the men get more picky and the women get more aggressive/less picky, because they are subconsciously aware of the odds being with them or against them.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm not sure the SF demographic is so lopsided, but I could be wrong. I just think that a lot of single men are probably going online rather than subjecting themselves to a pressurized "event."

I'd also like to go on record as saying that porn, takeout and 'Law and Order' are all great features of the American urban (and suburban) experience, and I support the right of both sexes to enjoy them.

9:29 PM  
Blogger the wayward o said...

plus, you know, the fanny packs.

11:30 AM  

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