Why hundreds of single veggies are getting ready to mingle with this new dating initiative...
Dating can be a disheartening chore at the best of times - even when we haven't placed any set restrictions on finding our potential partner. But what about when you're looking for something particular?
Time to set a scene - one, I know, many of you dear readers will be familiar with.
You know the feeling – you’re approached by a cute guy (or gal). Seems witty (tick). Holds interesting viewpoints in life (tick). Perfect height (double-flip tick). Interesting career and even more interesting hobbies (tick and tick). Non-smoker (tick). Drinks on the odd occasion (tick). Wants kids (tick). Respects the fact that your one guilty pleasure in life is watching Made in Chelsea (buy me the ring already tick).
You finally feel like you've struck gold with this fella. He suggests dinner as date two. Great! He whizzes you off to a fancy restaurant in the city. All going well so far. And then it happens. He calls the waiter over and asks him which dish he’d recommend - the lamb or the veal? Ah, no wonder it felt so good to be true. Non-veg. That disheartening feeling hits you again. As does the fact that you now have to watch him carve his way through a poor dead lamb for the next two hours. Another man and another lamb bite the dust!
I’m not a vegetarian (I know my dear friends will LOL when they read that) but I know that heart sinking feeling when everything just seems so good. And then it isn’t. And I do know a few veggie guys and gals who’ve faced similar situations to the above.
But fear not! One lady is solely on a mission to change all of this with her dating project, Veggie Single Mingle (VSM) - an initiative focused on finding love for veggie singles around the world. Meet Reena Dahya, financial whizz by day, cupid to single veggies by night.
At first, it was hard for me to relate to Reena’s project because I’m very obviously not her target audience. But her passion and desire of wanting to do something for others with nothing in return, aside from just sheer joy, was, well, heartening to see in today’s age of ‘me, me, and more me’. So enough about me. I sat down with this inspiring lady to find out more about her and her awesome project.
'Have you found anyone yet?' I mean, that's quite possibly the rudest and most intrusive question on this planet. And yet the amount of single folk who are asked it, usually by total strangers, is shocking. And it can be even worse when you know that that someone can't be just 'anyone'. Most of us deal with this question by either biting said person's head off or by crying in the corner. I must admit though, I much prefer your approach.
(Laughs). Veggie Single Mingle was born on one sunny July afternoon. My cousins and I are at a family engagement and everyone’s asking each other that very question – Have you found someone? Nudge nudge, wink wink. And it’s during this conversation that it dawns on me that everyone around me is looking for a vegetarian - but they can’t find them. It’s like; all of a sudden the UK male veggies have become an extinct species!
So with that thought, on 1st August 2014 at 8am, VSM was launched on Facebook, and as the word spread, the first mingle was organised. Then veggiesinglemingle.com was launched on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi September 2015. And we’ve never looked back.
What kind of members do you currently have?
We have members from all kinds of backgrounds, with different interests and from different age groups. We have VSM’ers signing up from Ascot to New York and further afield. And it really is open to all single veggies, regardless of your previous dating or relationship history. As long as you’re serious in finding your one, then come say hello and mingle!
So what can a new member expect from VSM (apart from love, of course)?
It’s a chance to meet and mingle with kindred single veggies, take part in some really fun activities and just have a good laugh. And, if you find someone that you just happen to click with, then that’s the cherry on top of the mingle cake, really.
Tell us a little bit more about these fun activities you host?
Gosh, we’ve done so many things - from crazy golf to salsa dancing. The last event was a very chilled (but competitive!) afternoon of playing an assortment of games and quizzes in a cute gastro pub. All activities, regardless of what we do, VSM’ers are encouraged to mix and mingle in a relaxed fun environment; there’s no pressure and no expectations. That way, they can be themselves and mingle to their heart’s content.
You're a financial analyst by profession, which is a pretty demanding career in its own right. How do you juggle being the Asian Cilla Black with your full-time job?
Well, it’s the total opposite to numbers, so that helps! No seriously, you know, for me, I don’t see this as a chore. I find fulfillment from it. Helping others to help themselves to meet and mingle and as a result, creating good karma. And there really isn’t anything tangible in it for me; membership is free and VSM mingles are either free or organised so that net proceeds go to charity. Previous mingles have donated to UK charities Sightsavers and WaterAid. Plus as you know, I’m not the type to be idle; I’m always up to something. Aside from my job and VSM, I am passionate about holistic healing and practice reflexology and reiki healing. And when I get a chance, I like to pick up my passport and go travelling.
Tell us a little bit more about upcoming events for VSM?
Ah, I’m very excited about our next one. We’re hosting a ‘Cocktails & Dreams’ mingle in one of London’s wackiest bars. The Trapeze Bar in Shoreditch is where your childhood dreams of running away and joining a circus finally come alive. Our members can try some truly eccentric cocktails and veggie nibbles whilst submerged within, what looks like the trophy room of a retired ringmaster. It’s definitely a place where your Veggie Single Mingle will go down with a swing. And like always, all the event proceeds will be going to a UK charity, this time to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – New Vet Hospital Appeal.
Interested in joining Reena’s awesome Veggie Single Mingle? Then find out more here.
Interview by Rema Chandran - A marketer, with a love for cricket, romance, bad-ass Bollywood, samosa chaat and men in capes.
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