Mix and mingle a no go for singles

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Local single men missed a good opportunity and great odds last Thursday night when the “Mix and Mingle Cabin Fever” event was cancelled due to disproportionate female-to-male registration numbers.

The event, which was to take place at Oso restaurant at the Southampton Inn, was intended to be a casual gathering for local singles to meet others over a four-course, three hour gourmet dinner. But the evening was cancelled after nearly 20 women and only five men made reservations, according to Southampton Inn owner Dede Gotthelf.

“We thought it would be a wonderful thing to do in the off season, but we’re not a dating service,” Ms. Gotthelf said during a conference call last Friday. “The reason we felt we had to cancel was a combination of the ratio of women to men and the tough weather … I don’t think those numbers would have created a happy event.”

“Mix and Mingle” was to be the first in a series of singles gatherings held during the winter months at Southampton Inn, but due to the poor numbers, Ms. Gotthelf said she is unsure how to proceed, though she is still keen on putting together similar dinners if there is interest.

“We’d love to hear feedback from the community if they want this type of event,” she said, adding, “If the community ends up embracing this, we could keep it up as long as there is a positive response.”

Ms. Gotthelf said she planned the “Mix and Mingle” to provide an outlet for mature year-rounders who want to meet people in a refined social setting.

“The people you’d like to meet in their 30s to 50s are not the ones going out to clubs or bars,” she said. “We know that they are there, but we’re still trying to figure out how to hook them to come out.”

Single guys and gals of all ages who live year-round on the East End often lament the dearth of good dating prospects, or opportunities and venues for meeting same. Some blame the “brain drain,” which creates a vacuum effect in the 20-to-50-year-old age bracket; others complain that there just aren’t that many single people who live in the Hamptons during the off-season.

Even professional dating expert Gail Adams, the owner of Seven in Heaven Singles Events, said she had a tough time recruiting local dating-minded unmarrieds—especially of the male persuasion—when she hosted an event at the Southampton Inn this past December.

“It was a beautiful event and the people at the Southampton Inn did a great job with the food, but I worked very hard to get the people in the door,” Ms. Adams said. Twenty-five people showed up and Ms. Adams said she had to comb through her database from all over Long Island to get the men to the event.

Ms. Adams said that she thinks the demographics on the East End are a big factor in getting singles to break out of their comfort zones and attend a personal networking event.

“First off, there’s 100,000 more single ladies than men in the tri-state area, so we’ve got the most single women in the country, and it just looks sad when you see that number,” she said. “And the total age group in Eastern Suffolk is older and less likely to try something new because they see a stigma attached to it.”

Getting more mature singles to change their habits has proven difficult even for Ms. Adams, who reports that older men tell her they tend to want to “hunt their prey” in bars and feel that going to singles events is “pathetic.” But Ms. Adams reported that she does see that “old-fashioned attitude” turning around once she can convince the older men to walk through the door and they see so many of the younger generation in attendance.

“The young guys, they get it,” she said. “I tell them they have the chance to meet 10 different girls in one night and they’re there.”

Southampton Inn Director of Sales Tony Cotignola said on Friday that he has hope that community events will flourish at the inn, even during the winter months. “We are completely booked for the Inaugural Bash on Tuesday,” he said of the 235 reservations already booked. “Plus we’ve got a lot of special events like wine talks, author discussions and community interest things planned that should have a positive response.”

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