Simonne Chalifoux is well on her way to becoming an expert on the single scene in Whitehorse.
As the founder/organizer/host/everything else of the Whitehorse Singles Group, she has seen what works, what doesn’t work, the failures and the successes in the single world.
Well, being older and single, to be more precise: “People in their 20s don’t need a singles group,” she says over coffee. “They are still using bars.
“They don’t know what they want and they don’t recognize the need for a long-range relationship.
“It happens, but they are not looking for it.”
However, one of those trends she has been noticing is young men calling her – at 668-7134 before 9 p.m., thank you very much – looking for an older woman.
Chalifoux is not operating a dating service, so she tells them about the many singles events happening that they are welcome to attend. The schedule is a full page with at least two events every month. Yet she knows that these young people will be outnumbered by those in their 40s and 50s.
And she knows – because she is the expert, after all – that the women will outnumber the men.
Chaifoux shrugs: “All over North America, women outnumber men in singles groups.
“Men have a stigma attached to being single.”
But this expert also knows that she can increase the number of men at an event by making sure there is food there.
“I’ve learned so much about the sexes,” she says in a world-weary kind of way.
“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus … it is true.
“Women don’t mind two to three dates to see if there is a connection there but, with men, it is all or nothing.”
It is this kind of expert information she has gathered that contributes to the most success any singles group has achieved in Whitehorse. About 30 people show up to every event and there are 125 members at any one time.
On June 28, there will be a summer barbecue at Wolf Creek Campground; on July 16, a summer evening hike along Miles Canyon and, on July 29, Pasta Night at Boston Pizza.
Showing up often on the schedule are coffee nights at Doc’s Diner, one of the local businesses in town that opens after hours to ensure privacy for the sometimes skittish first-timers.
Kopper King is another place that gives them a private place.
Once people get there, there is nothing to be afraid of because, let’s face it, with 30 people or more at an event, nobody is going to stick out.
Chalifoux’s heart breaks when she hears about people who sit in their cars outside of an event because they can’t work up the courage to come in.
It is something that gives her purpose and the strength to work 500 hours a year to ensure single people do not have to be alone.
“Nobody loses here,” she says. “It gets you out of the house.” And, she adds, with more fitness-related activities on this year’s schedule, it is a good way to get exercise.
Besides hikes, meals and coffees, Chalifoux has tried a few speed-dating sessions. It is tough on her because some people take it personally if there is no match. But it has been successful with the last one resulting in “quite a few matches”.
But the most successful event is a biannual two-day retreat. Chalifoux ensures there is an equal number of men and women and they are given the luxury of time to relax and get to know one another.
However, even if someone does not meet their soul-mate at one of these many events, they may meet a new hiking buddy or employee … or employer, says Chalifoux. And dating skills can be practised in safety (it is easier to get your feet wet when the absence of rings on fingers does’t mean much anymore).
And, as Chalifoux has been told many times: “At least I had fun.”
Simonne Chalifoux can be reached at 668-7134 before 9 p.m. or anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming singles events are always listed in What’s Up Yukon‘s What’s Happening Page under “Whitehorse”.