Love Debate Comes to Los Angeles

The Great Love Debate Comes to Los Angeles

Town hall-style event seeks to answer the question, “Why is everyone still single in Los Angeles?” but doesn’t include the possibility that maybe, for right now, some of us like it that way.

Wendy Walch
Dr. Wendy Walsh, a member of the 8-person panel at “The Great Love Debate”
fields a question from an audience where the single men sat on one side of the room
and the single women sat on the other.

Earlier this month I attended “The Great Love Debate” at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The event, co-sponsored by online dating oligarch Match.com and created and produced by Brian Howie, is a traveling road show that is supposed to answer the question: “Why is everyone still single?” while providing, of course, an opportunity for attendees to get coupled.

On one side of the theater were the single guys and on the other, outnumbering them by 2:1, the single women. On the stage, eight experts — meaning matchmakers, love coaches, dating specialists, self-help authors — who make a living by fixing single people.

As you can imagine, people like me who say it’s OK to be single were not on the stage that night. The exception was Dr. Wendy Walsh, host of “Happily Never After,” whose parting words at the end of the program were to stop obsessing on your relationship status and become the best you can be, whether you’re single or not.

Women in the audience at the great love debate
A facilitator passed a microphone to women who wanted to ask the panel why it was so difficult to find love in Los Angeles.

My takeaway from the whole deal was further confirmation that online dating is destroying the ability of people to make human-to-human connections. People are so focused on marketing themselves and the expediency provided by smart phone apps that they wouldn’t recognize a real love connection, even if they looked up from their iPhone long enough to notice. Is it any wonder that both men and women are disappointed when they meet face-to-face after initiating a “relationship” with the avatars they’ve created to attract the right consumer? Meanwhile, the abyss between the genders grows wider.

The women in the audience said men only care about getting laid. The men said that women only care about how much money they make. One of the experts on the stage, a Los Angeles-based matchmaker, suggested that women learn to make five dishes because men want a woman who can cook – that would seal the deal. Another kept piping up with her website address and product pitch of how she was uniquely qualified to find your future spouse.

On the other side the guys
On the other side of the theater, the single men, with their own idea of why everyone is still single in Los Angeles.

As for me, I saw a room full of restless people who had been convinced that being single is their problem. The women were mad at the men; the men were fed up with the women. I saw men, who for one reason or another, didn’t fit the “ideal man” cookie cutter in terms of age, height and looks and were likely dismissed without so much as a hello. I saw women dressed in 4-inch heels and revealing dresses who wonder why the men they attract only want sex. I saw a room full of people, single people, who had come to believe that if only they could connect with the best dating coach, craft the perfect online dating profile, attend the right singles event, they would finally be happy.

After the show, during the mixer in the foyer, I recognized people I’d seen at speed dating events years ago, still working the room like they did back then. I saw the furtive hopeful glances and the abject dismissals. I chatted with one man, who looked like he could barely wait to make his escape. I asked if he was single and invited him to join us for the dinner party that SingularCity was hosting on Sunday night.

“Oh, I don’t usually go to singles events,” he said. “I’m only here because a friend brought me.”

“But our events aren’t like typical singles events,” I said. “It’s just some fun, friendly people, who happen to be single, getting together for dinner and conversation.”

“Ah, no thanks,” he responded, making it clear that he could not be persuaded.

I could understand why, after what I saw that night at The Great Love Debate. After all, at least one of those speakers would argue that I would have been better off learning to make five dishes for a future husband — delivered for a price by a dating coach — than spending the last five years trying to reframe what it means to be single in a positive light.

Copyright © Kim Calvert/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.

Kim CalvertKim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.


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5 thoughts on “The Great Love Debate Comes to Los Angeles

  1. My experience has been that men who want to go the distance in a committed relationship AND who want sex, which is all of them, think that sex should begin right away, in the first, second, or third date. I’ve been told this bluntly more times than I wish to count, sometimes in very crude ways: “Sex IS part of the getting-to-know-you process”; I’m not getting any younger, and am not going to court you for 3 months without sex, only to find out we’re not a good match, when there are so many women in L.A. who will give it up right away – and then I will have lost three months of sex”!; one guy who claimed to be serious about me said that sex must start NOW, but either of us may have sex with other people too, and, by the way, just because I have sex with him doesn’t ensure that I’ll be the one he chooses to ultimately commit to: and lastly, one man who made me feel very hopeless by saying, “You’re never going to find what you’re looking for – you’re living in a previous generation. No one is going to invest time in getting to know you if he’s not sure he’s going to get sex.” Very discouraging.

  2. Gratitude to you for recognizing an unmarried or single relationship does not mean we are worth less than those with a ring on their fingers. We can be happy on our own and fill our lives with significant others of the non romantic sense. Getting off the online merry go round is liberating. And being on your own is a helluva lot better than being lonely in a bad relationship.
    If we meet a potential partner, great. But if we don’t, that’s fine, too!

  3. Here’s the problem. Women look at men wanting to get laid as a negative. They think that’s the only thing men care about too. Number one. ALL men want to get laid. Either embrace that idea or become a lesbian or a monk. Number two…Sex is not ALL we want. Maybe sex is all we want from YOU, but I promise you if we think you’re the “right” woman for us we want a helluva’ lot more than just sex from you.

    As for the money angle…if you truly don;t care what a guy makes, then prove it. Take us on a date. You pay. And do it more than once. That’ll take the $ question right off the table.

    1. Steven, that may be true, but when getting laid is what men lead with, it can be highly frustrating for both. Most women want a sexually satisfying relationship–absolutely!–but we don’t want to start there, because it can get weird very quickly–and there are many men who will join online sites *only* to get laid, and with no other goal in mind. So a good operational filter for many women is “don’t f*** on the first date”.

      And the “right” woman brings a lot more than sex, so why start there? Why not allow the relationship time to cook, with all the excellent flavors blending together so that when sex does happen, it’s amazing?

      As for the money angle, damn, dude, you are so generalizing. Many women really don’t care about the money, and then men get offended when women *do* try to pay–and unfortunately that usually takes sex off the table (because many men think “Well, I paid, she should put out.” Am I right?).

      What a conundrum, huh?

      Really, what it comes down to is this: open, clear communication from the outset–and allowing time for friendships to build. And frankly, those are both nearly impossible in this electronically-driven, too-fast-for-our-own-good society.

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