Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Carolyn Cooper | Trouble at the Singles Club 876

Published:Sunday | July 14, 2019 | 12:00 AM

On the last Saturday of June, the traditional month of weddings, I went off to my second mixer hosted by the Singles Club 876. June is named after the Roman goddess, Juno, who was known as the protector of women. Especially in marriage and childbearing! This explains the popular superstition that June weddings predict good fortune. Obeah comes in many forms in different cultures.

The ad for the mixer promised ‘Music + Mingle + Connect + Enjoy’. Sexologist Ray Saunders was scheduled to speak on “burning topics”:

“How to attract a great partner, how to keep them ‘hooked’ the right way, dos and don’ts for a first date, plus much more!” The enticing ad was quite specific: “If you’re single, get introduced to someone special. If you’re attached, bring your significant other and enjoy the event together!”

Despite the hype, my expectations were rather low, based on my experience at the previous mixer. The men all wanted women in their 20s and 30s. But in my column, ‘Singles Club 876 Doing It With Prayer’, published on May 5, I’d said I was going to attend. Lots of people told me they were looking forward to my report. I didn’t have the heart to disappoint them.

SEVEN WOMEN TO ONE MAN

As soon as I entered the room, I knew there was going to be trouble. There were 21 women and six men! Three of the men were working at the event – Everton Tate, founder of the club; the sexologist; and the DJ. So, technically, there were only three available men. The 7:1 ratio of women to men reminded me of this alarming verse from the Book of Isaiah 4:1 (Good News translation):

When that time comes, seven women will grab hold of one man and say, ‘We can feed and clothe ourselves, but please let us say you are our husband, so that we won’t have to endure the shame of being unmarried.’” It seemed as if that time had come. But I don’t think the women wanted to marry any of the available men. They were just out for a date.

One of the men had been at the last mixer. He was the ‘gyalis’ whose interest in an older woman evaporated as soon as a hot young lady arrived. But only he, Mr Tate and I knew his weakness. And he seemed quite lookable. Seven women who didn’t know better could easily have grabbed him. The other men were much younger. One was an artist and the other a university lecturer. They looked rather unsure of themselves with all those frustrated women! They were not good prospects for grabbing.

PENETRATING QUESTIONS

When I got to the mixer, the sexologist was winding down. The audience was quite animated and seemed to be enjoying themselves. But appearances can be deceiving. The women soon started grilling Mr Tate about the poor showing of men. Things took a definite turn for the worse. The women had expected to “get introduced to someone special”. So they were not amused. Some of the sensible young women left quite early when they realised they were just wasting their time.

The mood became rather mutinous. There were four older women, in particular who wouldn’t let Mr Tate off the hook. They asked penetrating questions: How many marriages over the club’s four years? Only four! How many registered members? About 500! How many men? One hundred and fifty! The ratio is not as bad as 7:1. But it’s not good. Mr Tate admitted that about 20 of the men lived abroad so that further reduced the number available for the local mixers.

Things lightened up a bit when a not-so-young woman made the mistake of admitting that she just couldn’t imagine women over 50 having sex. “No, sah! Dem a go cock it up?” she asked in disbelief. Well, she an di woman dem over 50! We laughed her to scorn. When I asked her how old she was, she said 32. Little does she know how soon 50 will catch up with her. If she’s lucky!

DAMAGE CONTROL

After being batter-bruised, Mr Tate decided to do damage control. He took the decision to make the next mixer a members-only event. But, of course, there’s no guarantee that any of his 130 male members in Jamaica will actually turn up. It seems as if Mr Tate has been using the mixers to attract new blood. Fair enough! But if the events fall below the expectations of patrons, he’s always going to be in trouble.

When Mr Tate asked in public if I was going to write about the mixer, I told him I didn’t think he would like what I was going to say. He didn’t seem to mind. He obviously believes the old public relations lie, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” All the same, here’s my advice to all those hopeful souls looking for love at the Singles Club 876: don’t take my word for it! Puss an cock no have di same luck.

- Carolyn Cooper, PhD, is a specialist on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.