For the past five years, I’ve been enjoying the life of a swinging single in Sin City. Well, maybe not that swinging, but I do think Las Vegas is a great place to live as a soloist. There are tons of things to do and people are friendly, open and happy. Almost all of us are here because we want to be here; this is the place we’ve chosen to live.
Yet from both women and men, I constantly hear complaints about a lack of “quality” in the dating scene here, and that might be a fair assessment. Just as Las Vegas is a city full of character, a lot of “characters” are drawn to this place, and many of them are cruising the dating scene. I’ve met a few myself—like the fellow who, 20 minutes into our date, asked if I’d like to see a picture of his 6-week-old baby. Then there was the otherwise delightful gentleman who confessed he came to Sin City to hide from the mob. My favorite, however, was the guy who told me how he started a road rage incident in the parking lot after his anger management class; he’s the same one who had a handicapped parking sticker for a mental condition. See what I mean about the characters here?
That said, I believe it’s easier to enjoy the Vegas single life if you’re the type who’s happy to sample from the buffet—or, as in my case, are looking for new material for your comedy act. I suspect it’s much more difficult for those looking to meet Mr. or Ms. Right, but it’s not impossible! Las Vegas offers many venues for meeting other singles—and some of them are worth a second look.
I’ve found that social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are great ways to meet people—and don’t think they’re only for the kids. I had reservations when my young friends at work suggested I put up a MySpace site, but I’ve had a lot fun with mine and I’ve made quite a few friendly connections. Besides building a virtual community, MySpace provides ample opportunity to express your creativity. In fact, I think you can tell much more about a person from a free MySpace profile than from those on Match.com.
Still, you never really know what you’re getting until you see each other face to face, which is an advantage of the matchmaking event that is popularly called “speed dating.” Here in Vegas, Cupid.com/Pre-Dating organizes age- and interest-specific gatherings at local clubs, cafés and restaurants. Participants rotate through a series of six-minute “pre-dates” and afterward Cupid.com/PreDating e-mails each participant a list of people who indicated they’d like to know more. According to the Web site, more than two-thirds of pre-daters match with at least one person.
For those who prefer to ease into the dating scene and take the “friends-first approach,” I can suggest a few options. Get Out! Las Vegas is an activity club for Las Vegas singles of all ages, whether you’re looking to meet the love of your life or just make new friends and expand your social network. The Web site lists a variety of outings to pack your social calendar ranging from exploring local hiking trails, watching sporting events, making the club scene, and even sky diving.
Not specifically for singles, Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of self-organized local meeting groups encompassing a wide range of categories including arts and entertainment, Internet technology, religion, hobbies, pets and animals, politics and activism, and many more. I searched and found 478 Meetup groups within 25 miles of my ZIP code in Henderson. Nostalgic for the hair bands of the 80s? Everything 80’s Las Vegas Meetup boasts 556 “80s addicts.” Want to connect with other local people who are interested in volunteering? Attend an A.O.K.—Acts of Kindness meeting and meet some of their 581 “amazing volunteers.” There’s a group for everyone—you’ll have a ball browsing the list. Individual group sites give contact information and dates of upcoming meetings, and the site’s infrastructure provides ample opportunities for social networking.
For the younger single crowd, SpyOnVegas.com hosts weekly open bar events Monday through Friday at local hot spots, mostly on or near the Strip. Enjoy complimentary featured cocktails while you socialize and network professionally, but remember, the Strip is dominated by tourists looking to have a good time and to live up to the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” slogan—wink, wink!
Personally, I prefer to meet people through the local music scene; you can often find me in one of the area’s many excellent blues venues. But the bottom line is, you have to get yourself out in circulation; Prince or Princess Charming will not magically appear on your doorstep. Though I confess—I still hold hope that someday a hunky UPS man might come knocking. In shorts.