It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air ... well, for some, at any rate. It’s not easy being single in Donegal, ask anyone who is and they’ll soon tell you, and especially when you’re over 40. So where to start looking for that certain ‘someone?’ On the Internet? ‘Been there, done that’, you say. Where next? Dances? ‘Yeah, done that too’. So what happens when you’ve used up all your options? You resort to staying in, watching TV and eating too much comfort food for your own good. But still at the back of your mind you’re thinking “there has to more out there, surely this can’t be it? “ You think about what would drag you out the house on a cold February night, and then you organise it yourself!
That is exactly what Kathleen Steyn did when she returned from overseas to Donegal last year. At 54, divorced and with no romantic prospects on the horizon, Kathleen formed Kindred Spirits, a one to one introduction service for the more mature in Donegal. After a few months when she realised she was swiftly running out of men willing to take the plunge and join, she took a step back and decided to go the ‘Single-Mingle’ party route instead. “But it had to be something special, not just getting people in a hall and leaving them to their own devices. It needed to be more ‘personal’.
Her first big event was in Kee’s Hotel in Stranorlar in January, and with the help of some friends acting as ‘Hosts’, Kathleen put together a night of dancing and mingling. Over 200 people attended, which shows you how big the demand is out there. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing, most first events rarely are, and there were things that had to be addressed to make it better, but she has taken all this onboard and the next Single-Mingle on Friday next, February 17 should be a night to remember.
“I want the night to be all the things that people would enjoy in an evening,” says Kathleen. “A smiling face to greet you, some good music to dance to, a feeling that you can talk to anyone there without being thought forward or cheeky”.
She has learned quite a bit about people and their expectations and made the following observations.
“There are two main obstacles for the singles of Donegal to overcome,” says Kathleen. “The first is having your ’25 year old head on.’ A lot of people seem to think that men or women will be the same as they were years ago, and we get so disappointed when they’re older or not as good looking as we’d like. Of course this also reminds us that we are getting older, and nobody likes to face up to that.
“The second obstacle is the ‘secrecy’ of Donegal. God forbid someone sees you out and will be talking about you the next day! Let’s face it, if they see you out, then they’re also there, so what have they got to talk about! You have one responsibility in life, and that is to look after yourself and do everything in your power to make yourself happy. By the time you reach retirement age or older, you better have your husband/wife/friend/companion/partner by your side or it’ll be a bleak future. I’m determined to get the singles mingling and forging new friendships for the future,” she says.
As we head towards summer and the (hopefully) better weather, Kathleen intends to start hosting other activities that would bring people together. “I’ll be asking people at the March Single-Mingle party for their idea’s on what would be good days out. A trip to the Galway races in July maybe, a trip to Belfast or Dublin for the theatre, any good local venues that have a great Sunday lunch and music afterwards etc. Anything and everything that would be a good day out for the craic.”
If you have any questions about the upcoming Single-Mingle night in Kee’s Hotel, Stranorlar, on Friday February 17, from 10pm-1am, or idea’s for Kathleen, she can be reached at (086) 251 9781. www.kindredspirits.ie or e-mail: Kathleen@kindredspirits.ie
You can also write to her at PO Box 34, Lifford, Donegal.
Will Valentine work his magic this week, Kathleen and her single-mingle friends certainly hope so!