Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Carolyn Cooper | Singles Club 876 doing it with prayer

Published:Sunday | May 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Two Saturdays ago, I enjoyed an intimate affair at the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, hosted by Everton Tate, founder of the Singles Club 876. In January last year, I wrote a column, ‘Finding Romance Online in 2018’. It was about my email encounter with Mr Tate. And much more! I was now meeting him in person. He was most charming.

But Mr Tate was not eligible to be a member of his own club. He’s married. I know that many Jamaican men are not married ‘to dat’. They are constantly prowling the streets looking for women and, in some instances, men. Mr Tate gives women the assurance that he weeds out all imposters from his database of supposedly single men.

Of course, he also gives the same guarantee to men. Many Jamaican women are not married ‘to dat’. Two can play the game of deceit. Women are no longer weeping and waiting at home for straying husbands to crawl back. They, too, are on the prowl.

DIVINE GUIDANCE

The event was advertised for 7:00 p.m., which seemed rather early for a Saturday night. I decided to go at 9:00. Nothing was happening. There were only two women and five men! Things didn’t look too promising so I decided to leave. Everybody asked me to stay. I’d increased the female population by 50 per cent.

Soon after, Mr Tate appeared and was just about to start his welcome speech when I mischievously asked if we were not going to open with prayer. Surprisingly, everyone agreed and, since it was my suggestion, I had to pray. In all sincerity, I thanked Father God and Mother God for the opportunity to meet prospective dates and asked for divine guidance in making our selection.

Unfortunately, I had set a most pious tone for the evening. Mr Tate then launched into a rather long sermon about the club. The small congregation got quite restless. Eventually, he stopped and asked each of us to give a testimony. The women were asked to go first. We had to go up front and say a little bit about ourselves and give a description of our ideal partner.

The chairs were set up in rows. Ideally, we should have formed a circle. We wouldn’t have had to get up for Pastor Tate’s altar call. But since I had already imposed prayer on what should have been a quite secular affair, I didn’t think I should meddle any more in the arrangements.

M FOR MATURE

The evite rated the event as M for Mature. All of us women were mature. The youngest was 45, much to the disappointment of the men, I presume! But desire can be rather unpredictable. So you can’t always be certain in these matters.

Three of the men seemed to be in their thirties. The other two looked about a decade older. They all agreed that the ideal age for their prospective partner was 25-35. Dem definitely salt dat evening! But one of the older men seemed to have decided that the 45-year-old woman was a viable prospect.

I guess he was operating on the principle: “Tek wat yu get, til yu get wat yu want”. I wasn’t quite sure that the woman was happy to be taken. But his arm soon came to rest on the back of her chair in a most proprietorial way. And she really didn’t seem to mind at all.

Two of the young men were lecturers, one at the University of Technology and the other at The University of the West Indies. Mr Tate was very proud of them. They confirmed the high quality of the men in the club. But he did admit that some potential male members were not comfortable expressing themselves in writing. When asked to describe themselves, they gave very brief answers.

I suggested that these men could, perhaps, speak about themselves in a voice note. But, I suppose, other problems would become evident. If they weren’t competent in English, speaking would only make matters worse. I would happily go on a date with a man who spoke fluent Jamaican, if not English. To me, he’d be just like a man who is fluent in French, not English. That’s my equal-opportunity cultural politics.

Just as the party was about to break up, a beautiful young woman in the 25-35 age range arrived. Di man dem skin ketch fire. Especially the one who had seemed quite contented with the woman he’d been flirting with! He was so enthusiastic about the newcomer, I had to ask the rejected woman if she was going to continue sitting beside him. She got up.

As it turned out, the latecomer was designed for seduction. She actually works for Mr Tate, doing marketing. And did she market herself!

Like many religious ministers, Mr Tate certainly knows how to sell salvation. Even if it’s only the earthly kind!

The next event of the 876 Singles Club is on June 29 at the Courtleigh. I’m planning to attend. I just might get the right answer to my prayer.

 

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