The Society of Single Professionals and the group It's Just Lunch, combine forces for a singles mixer at Peachwoods on Tuesday.
Hayne Bendick glanced around the bar at Peachwood's Tuesday night, and then speared another bite of her complimentary watermelon.
"It's a little slim pickings, tonight," she said. "I've only seen one person that I'd really like to converse with, but he was already snapped up." Bendick gestured in the man's direction. He stood nearby, hair neatly combed, animatedly talking to another woman.
Fortunately, I'm getting all the watermelon I can eat."
After being referred by a friend, Bendick, 51, a Santa Cruz resident, went to the Inn at Pasatiempo to find who she calls "Mr. Almost Right." After putting a focus on her career -- she's part owner at the Center Street Antiques collective in Soquel, and has started four other businesses -- Bendick has never been married, doesn't have kids, and this was her first time at a singles event, she said.
About 40 other people swirled around her, pairing up, playing a "mixer" game called "Find Somebody Who " -- "Find somebody who yachts in their spare time" is a sample question -- drinking and eating the free hors d'oeuvres provided by organizer Rich Gosse, founder of The Society of Single Professionals.
Gosse, who throws about 150 such parties all over the world each year, billed the meet-up at Peachwood's as "Silicon Valley Meets Silicon Beach." The cost was $10. Gosse invited professional men from over the hill to socialize with Santa Cruz women.
Gosse started the society 32 years ago in San Rafael. He met his wife at one of his own events 12 years ago. Gosse said Santa Cruz women complain about the lack of available men in the area.
"Santa Cruz women love to meet the Silicon Valley bachelors," he said. "If you talk to the women in Santa Cruz, they say the men are all starving artists, gay or college students. And Silicon Valley is the only major metropolitan area in the U.S. to have a surplus of single men."
The Tuesday night crowd was a bit smaller than normal, Gosse said, where a party could fetch up to 200 people. He mentioned a party in Australia where he had to turn away 1,000 people. Still, he was happy with the results.
"Every day you meet people who are secretly attracted to you," he said. "But nobody ever talks to strangers. My job is to help you find a relationship of quality."
~ Santa Cruz Sentinel