There was a period of my life when at least once a week I was receiving news of another friend divorcing. Ten, fifteen, twenty years of marriage. One after another, yet more pictures of marital bliss shredded to pieces. Then after an initial period of shock (or not), would come a period of realization that divorce is not death. People have a need to love and be loved. Therefore, it was time to think about dating.
I spent many hours at bars, restaurants, cafes and park benches listening to my friends lament their newly found freedom. Many of them were highly successful men — some as young as mid-thirties, others in their mid-fifties. Some were newly divorced; others have been single for months or even years. Yet they all found themselves in similar predicaments: no time to date; no idea where to meet women; even less of an idea of how to approach women and absolutely no clue of what to say or do on a first date. That was totally understandable considering that some of them had not had a date in decades.
Many of these men had well-wishing friends who were incessantly trying to fix them up. And here was where a pattern began to emerge. Men coming out of marriages with women close to their own age were not looking for more of the same. They wanted to jumpstart their lives. They wanted to come out of the humdrum of baby talk and dinners with neighbors. They wanted something more: they wanted to feel alive again. They wanted to feel in love again. And they wanted to feel young again.
Some of them tried their luck online. Some chanced going to matchmakers. That solved the problem of finding women. It did not, however, help these men date: just because they were able to ask women out, did not mean they knew how to make their dates successful.
So my husband and I started inviting them to our parties: the ones to which they were not invited before because they were full of single (and fun) people. The kind of parties where people drank, danced, sang, socialized and generally forgot that they were grown ups. To throw a really successful party is to ensure that your guests are well fed and hydrated, continuously entertained, and most importantly comfortable. For that, a right mix of people needs to be invited so that the energy flows freely. I would, therefore, make sure to invite plenty of single women to each party my newly unattached friends attended. And a remarkable thing started to happen: many of my friends started dating women they met at these parties. Some ended up in marriages, some in relationships, some were just happy to date. Selfishly, I was thrilled because I was no longer spending half of my life offering my shoulder as a pillow for their tears.
That’s how New York Socials was born. It was born out of a realization that there are many single men, who want to meet beautiful and intelligent young woman. Yes, I know you are probably thinking that’s not much of a realization. You are right: that’s a fact. The sad realization is that even if you present them with chances to meet these women, not many of them would know how to start dating them. Just because you can close a multi-million dollar merger, does not mean you can get a woman attracted to you. That is a different skillset in itself, that is, unfortunately, not taught in Harvard or Yale.
So I started organizing parties as a means for men to not only meet women, but to provide them with an environment where they can socialize freely, without the pressure of a one-on-one meeting. After a party, when a date actually happened, it no longer felt like a first date: further increasing the likelihood of a romance. I became a certified professional coach so that I further help these men find love by teaching them how to attract women and conduct themselves on dates and relationships that follow. Later on, I got my certification as a professional matchmaker, to ensure I provide my clients with most qualified expertise I could offer.
The business model had its detractors. The biggest was the skepticism about drop-dead gorgeous women actually wanting to date older men. The word gold-digger came up in many conversations. Many a self-righteous person was prepared to throw stones at something that was considered distasteful to them at best, and underhanded and insincere at worst. To be sure: we’re not talking about eighteen-year-old girls dating eighty-year-old men. These were women in their late-twenties to early-thirties, dating men in their forties or fifties. Still many eyebrows were raised and fingers wagged. It is difficult for some people to accept that dating high-school sweethearts does not work for all of us. Most of the women in my club were not only beautiful but also successful: many worked as models; some had their own business, while others had promising careers. All through their late-teens and early-twenties they did what was expected of them: dated their school mates, boys next door and just generally good-looking jocks, male models and aspiring actors. By late-twenties, these women were tired of carrying their useless-pretty-faced baggage boyfriends, whose life was not aspiring to much more than Saturday night club scenes. What these women longed for was a meaningful relationship. They looked for stability: both emotional and economic; with men who found their places in life and who would treat them as more than party eye candy. Once they found it, they generally appreciated and cherished these relationships, having known much turbulence and unpredictability before. Many such couples met through New York Socials. Many formed long-lasting relationships. Some got married. Some had since had children together.
Seven years later, New York Socials is expanding to meet the ever-growing singles demands. We are having more socials, making more introductions and providing more coaching. Our goal has always been to make dating easy and effortless. Have we succeeded? That depends on one’s definition of success. Mine is the fact that each of my clients has since become a personal friend!