Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match

The Toronto Starby Judy Steed

The singles dance was planned for Saturday night. Suya, 42, our filmmaker/ESL instructor, was planning to go, but when the time came she almost changed her mind. It was raining and she wasn’t in the mood. “On the bus ride up, I was even thinking of not getting off the bus. But when the driver called out my stop, I felt I had to get off.”

She had never been to a singles dance before and was amazed by the crowd that showed up for the Single Professional’s Network shindig at the Crowne Plaza Hotel: 350 people in a huge ballroom with adjustable lighting — the lights go down as the evening goes on — and a DJ playing music.

The owners of the network, Peter Finch and his wife Diane, greeted everyone — Peter told the men to “make sure you ask someone to dance” — and steered the Star’s Get A Relationship participants to a table reserved for them. They were having a lot of fun together, Peter observed.

“They’ve got a real rapport going. It looks like they’ll be friends for the rest of their lives.”

That’s how Suya feels. “All of you are just awesome!” she wrote. “You are now my singles’ posse. We probably had the most fun at that joint of all the people there. Wow! I had a blast. Thanks, Frank, for daring me to get out of my comfort zone.”

Frank, 54, a call centre consultant, is experienced with singles events. He observed Suya’s nervousness. “I don’t think I can do this,” she fretted to him. “I’ve never asked a man to dance. What happens if he says no?”

Frank said he’d pay her $10 for every man who said no. Needless to say, he didn’t have to pay.

“She was great. She didn’t care what direction she was facing,” Frank says. “She wasn’t choosey, she just got out there and did it.”

Suya had a major breakthrough. After asking the first man to dance, it was “a piece of cake” to ask others. “No one said no. In fact, they asked me to dance plus new guys asked me to dance. I was dancing for most of the night. Some (men) wished to see me again either at the (future) dances or for a date. Some asked for my number but I didn’t give it out, instead I asked for theirs. Just in case … safety.”

She was impressed by how nice the men were. “No sleazy pickup lines, no groping, no drunken men slobbering all over me. I danced with young guys, guys who looked around my age (42) and all the way up to grandfather types. I danced with short and tall guys, skinny and overweight, all ethnic backgrounds, shy and talkative ones, you name it — I danced with them. By the end of the night, I was pooped. I left the evening feeling high as a kite. Plus Diane and Peter and their staff were gracious hosts”…