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Event helps get singles together

Date: 2006-10-05

So you’re 50. Around 50. Fiftyish, let’s put it.

You’re divorced, or widowed. Or you’ve never been married but have chosen to remain single.

You might have kids, or grandchildren even. Maybe you see them often, and that’s a wonderful way to spend your free time. You have good friends, although many of them are married and lately you’re feeling a bit like the odd one out.

In other words, you’re happy with your life. But it’s not quite the same as having a significant other. A partner. Or even a good friend.

And here’s the trick. You want to meet people, but not just anybody. You’re a successful professional and young-at-heart. You’re looking for the same things in a mate.

Three local women, feeling the same way, decided to do something about it, which is what led almost 40 singles, all in that fiftysomething age group, to Bangor’s Cafe Nouveau on a recent Monday evening.

Jan Dowd of Hampden, Lee Taylor of Brewer and Darlene Oliver of Bangor, together with Cafe Nouveau owner Leslie Thistle, organized the event in hopes of gathering singles for what they’re hoping will become a regular event on the fourth Monday of every month.

The foursome decided on an entry fee of $20- good for a glass of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and defraying the cost of a bartender- in hopes of drawing a more upscale crowd. The fee might seem a lot for a weekday evening, but it’s not so bad when you consider that events like 8-Minute Dating cost around $35.

The women, who posted fliers in spots like downtown Bangor businesses, local gyms, bookstores and golf courses, got the demographic they wanted. The crowd was sophisticated, attractive, talkative, well-dressed and well-heeled.

Conversation was constant, tinged with laughter and quiet moments, although the crowd was mostly women, as happens at many singles events regardless of the age group. More on that one later.

Dowd, Taylor and Oliver, who are all divorced, came up with the idea for the evening based on their own dating experiences. As they pointed out, life doesn’t stop at fiftysomething. Men and women want healthy emotional and physical relationships. And they want to have fun.

I don’t know if any connections were made during the event, but it was a lively evening.

There was already a lot of conversation when Dowd, Taylor and Oliver handed out a sort of Bingo game in which participants were asked to find people in the room who had, say, been on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or visited Paris or were Yankees fans (I’m not sure if there were any of the latter).

That jazzed things up even more as the men and women scurried around the restaurant, filling out their cards.

Beverly Buzzell of Eddington, who has been divorced for 15 years, said she’s not necessarily seeking a partner. But she does want someone to spend time with.

"I’m not looking for romance," Buzzell said. "I’ve been there, done that. I can do what I want now. I love to dance, and I’m looking for someone who loves to dance and have fun."

Frank Edwards of Orrington, who has been divorced for more than 16 years, said he has tried the personal ads and didn’t meet with lasting success.

He showed up at Cafe Nouveau to give things another try.

"I’ve been kind of a recluse for quite a long time when it comes to dating, so I thought it was time to get out and meet people," Edwards said.

I counted seven men at the gathering, which is typical for a singles night. Women usually outnumber the men. Who knows why- Edwards couldn’t put his finger on a reason- but that’s the norm.

It didn’t seem to matter to the group, which chatted away regardless. To me, that was the best part of the evening. Here’s why.

Many of the men and women I met said one of their frustrations was a lack of single friends. Most of their friends are married, which creates a third-wheel situation.

This isn’t exclusive to the fiftysomething set, by the way. I’m going through it now in my 30s.

With the Monday night group, not only do you have the potential to meet a mate, but also to make single friends who are also interested in social activities. That means more opportunities to get out and meet other people.

The potential is there to make a few good friends. Now all the group needs is a few good men.

For more information, call Cafe Nouveau at 942-3336.

By Jessica Bloch
Bangor Daily News

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