A singles event is an activity or program made available specifically to the romantically unattached, often with the underlying or explicit purpose of fostering dating or relationships among attendees.
The themes of singles events can cover a broad spectrum. These can include, for example, ski trips, Academy Award viewing parties, dinners, holiday parties, art gallery visits, and Valentine's Day mixers.
Some of the most strongly attended such events are the Christmas Eve parties targeted at young Jewish singles in major cities in North America, particularly the Matzo Ball and its large city competitors.
The attendees of singles events have been criticized as "needy folks without a lot to offer". Dating via religious-sponsored singles events has been criticized for fostering invasion of daters' privacy and undue expectations. Sex ratios of singles events have been criticized, with many either having too many women or too many men depending on location or targeted race, age, and income groups. As a result, many events often have a policy to even out sex ratios before the event starts.
Singles events, including those organized by religious organizations, have been criticized for frequently being meet/meat markets—places where attendees are rapidly sizing up members of the opposite sex with objectifying criteria, such as attractiveness, wealth, and fashion sense, before taking the time to get to know attendees on a deeper level.
Naming and 'Young Professionals' events
The stigma that developed in the 1970s around singles events led some organizations to switch to the euphemism "young professionals events". (However other organizations specifically for young professionals insist that they are not "singles groups".)
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- Caroline Tiger, How to Behave Dating And Sex: A Guide to Modern Manners for the Socially Challenged, 2006, pp. 16, 51
- Stephen Fried, The new rabbi: a congregation searches for its leader, 2002, p. 57
- Engaging Generation Aleph: A Resource for Young Adults in the Synagogue, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, ed., 1997, p. 81
- Engaging Generation Aleph: A Resource for Young Adults in the Synagogue, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, ed., 1997, p. 96