Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America

October 8,  2007  



Singles groups offering friendship, not matchmaking

By Thomas F. Coleman


When most people think of a group for singles, they think dating, matchmaking, and potential romance.  After all, isn't that what most single people want?  To become unsingle?

Not necessarily.

Some recent news stories offer a glimpse of other types of singles' groups.  The kind that offer friendship, camaraderie, recreation, and socializing with people sharing at least one other trait in common.  They are unmarried.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel just ran a story about "Loners on Wheels."  This club is for RV-driving singles and has 48 chapters hosting monthly social events across the United States.

Founded in 1969, LOW is has about 2,500 members who are unmarried, divorced or widowed individuals.  The group of mostly retired people is not your typical singles club.

Instead of match making and romance, LOW offers a sense of camaraderie and companionship among its members, with campouts that include events such as wine tasting and live music in addition to occasional potlucks.

According to the Sentinel story, Al Atlansky, 66, joined a LOW chapter just six months ago. His wife died about three years ago.

At his first encounter with the group, Atlansky was immediately impressed by the warmth of the other members. "These are strangers, people you don't even know, and they treat you like you're family," he told the Sentinel. "After the first event, I knew I was going to join."

His decision to join LOW was just another proactive step in his decision to live a happy life.  Atlansky believes that others would find the club just as inspiring.

"There's bound to be loads of people out there who would want to be in a club that's about traveling, getting together and having a good time," he told the paper.

Then there is the story which was just published in the Detroit Free Press about a social and travel club in Michigan known as the Selective Singles Social and Travel Club.

Referring to the group, Peggy Parmentier told the Free Press that "We are like an extended family. We have fun together."

Selective Singles Social & Travel Club provides an opportunity for its members to meet other single people with some similar interests in a nonthreatening environment. The club is open to anyone 35 and older who is divorced, widowed or has never been married.

The story says that by offering a large variety of activities, including day trips, long-distance travel, picnics, card games, dinners and breakfasts, the club helps its members find travel companions, meet new friends and learn new things.

Other news stories or events pages show that similar groups exist in other parts of the nation.

Take, for example, the Single Sailors Association in Alameda, California.  The group offers an opportunity for single people who love to sail to get together to share their common interests.

And then there is the SAMI group in New Jersey, which during this fall season is sponsoring an apple picking event for single people.  SAMI is a club for Single, Active, Mature Individuals.

So, although these singles groups cannot match the size of or Yahoo personals, they do provide something that usually does not happen with dating or matchmaking services.  The formation of true friendships and a sense of extended family relationships for single people.


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Unmarried America 2007

Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.  Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried America. E-mail: Unmarried America is a nonprofit information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.