Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Single and mingle in Dubai

Male expats comprise about 70% of Dubai population and single males constitute the majority of them. However, these single males are labourers and low pay workers who may be married but due to restrictions, cannot bring their families.

There are other restrictions of being singles in Dubai. Certain residential areas are not for singles to live even by sharing. Some public parks do not allow singles to enter. Some times, these single males are nuisance with their kind of flirting around.

It is not uncommon to see single males walking by holding hands...well, I guess that's their culture.

The report below is about western single people in Dubai....please read with open mind.

Mingle in the City
Although Dubai is a multicultural melting pot made up of hundreds of different of nationalities, one thing the majority of us have in common is that we’re expats.
And while living in the UAE offers us fantastic opportunities to experience other cultures, learn new languages and customs, it can also mean that close friends and family are thousands of miles away. So just how easy is it to make new friends?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest complaints heard among expats is that it can be difficult to meet new people and establish friendships. This city, which needs to be navigated by car, doesn’t allow for easy interaction; many work long hours and barely see the outside of their office, nevermind mingle with mates, while others grumble that friends have married or moved away in this typically transient society.
After living for two-years in Dubai, Lara Young from the UK, decided that she was going to offer Dubaians an easier way to network and socialise. She set up ‘Single in the City’ (SITC) - Dubai’s first networking and events company that gives the unattached in the city the opportunity to try out new hobbies, meet like-minded friends and get together at weekly organised events, including karaoke nights, salsa dance lessons, art classes, sports and more.
“In the last two years of living in Dubai, I always went out to the same places with the same people,” says Lara. “I found it really hard to meet new people and was sick of going to the same hotels and bars. So I thought I’d create something like a Facebook, where you can meet people but also have the end result of bringing them together.
“I saw a real need for SITC here. Many of us are in the same boat: expatriate, away from friends and family, and working hard,” says Lara. “SITC is a way of trying to bring this community of people together at interesting events and enabling them to network and make like-minded friends.”
There are things to do in Dubai, but Lara says as a single person it’s never as much fun, so the idea behind SITC is to give people the opportunity to do things together as a group, which is more interesting.
“Single in the City is for people who are looking to broaden their social circle - and there is nothing wrong with that. But we are not a dating service - in no way, shape or form a dating service,” stresses Lara.
Dubai is reportedly one of the top cities in the world for the use of social network sites, so people here are obviously keen to interact. It’s no surprise then that in the six weeks since SITC launched, over 2,000 members have signed up.SITC member, Alexandre Sivirichi, 23, from New York, says that he finds it hard to make friends in Dubai because it’s a very isolated city.
“There are not many options apart from hotel restaurants, bars and clubs to have a drink at and socialise. I tend to go out with my co-workers. I think people stick to themselves more here than in New York.”
Elodie Calvet, 29, from Paris blames Dubai’s ‘superficiality’ for her difficulties making good friends. “It is not difficult to meet people in Dubai, but it is difficult to meet ‘good’ people. “It is a very superficial city and people play roles. You need to fit in the mould,” says Elodie. “Joining SITC means I can meet lots more new people. It is great to have fun activities organised; the last karaoke night was a lot of fun.”
For Max, 28, from London, the fact that many of his friends are now married, and settled, led him to check out SITC.
“I think if SITC can create a real fun single social community that would be great for me and many others like me in Dubai,” says Max. “I’d hope they can deliver on bringing us new and exciting places/things to do; things that get people out of their comfort zone and away from hotel bars,” he adds.

Mingle if you’re single
From fancy gala dinners, private parties, lively karaoke nights, wine tasting evenings, sports outings, book club debates or even a round of golf - each week Single in the City organises events for members to attend. It is free to sign up as a ‘silver’ member, however, ‘pearl’ and ‘diamond’ membership categories charge an annual fee.
For more information log on to www.singleinthecity.ae

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