Valentine's Day is all about couples, but what to do this Saturday if you're single?
Of course, there's always dinner and drinks with friends, but there are single organizations across Long Island that celebrate singleness in a big way on Valentine's Day. Many people not in a relationship can feel shut out on the holiday, which is geared, fittingly, toward couples and romance.
"It's not like we are anti-Valentine's Day," says Gail Adams, a Lindenhurst resident and the founder of 7 in Heaven singles group, which is running an event in Plainview that night. "It's not like we are against love."
For Sue and Stan George of Plainview, it's personal. Both avid tennis players, Stan met Sue at one of her singles-only tennis events over 30 years ago.
"I used to go to her singles tennis parties, and lo and behold, we fell in love and got married," says Stan George.
In fact, their wedding reception was held at a tennis club in Huntington, where the guests wore tennis whites and sneakers, and hit the ball over the net in between dining and dancing.
All of the organizers say it's OK to show up either with friends or alone, whether you're looking for a soul mate, or just to meet other single people. Going solo is sometimes better, they say, because it encourages more socialization.
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m.-midnight Saturday at Bethpage Park Tennis Center, 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale
INFO 516-576-3467; firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations
Sue's Tennis Parties, which has been in business for decades, brings people together over a common passion.
"It's comfortable," says Stan George, 66. "It's a great social experience as well as a good sport."
Sue sets up the tennis schedule for mixed doubles according to those attending, changing the court positions every hour so people can meet as many other tennis players as possible. Usually 35-40 people attend the monthly events, with a pretty even male-female ratio, he says. Many couples have formed -- and some have even married -- after meeting at these tennis parties, says George.
This Valentine's Day event will have snacks and beverages.
George says that beginners are welcome, but "it shouldn't be the first time you picked up a racket."
WHEN | WHERE 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Marriott Residence Inn, 9 Gerhard Rd., Plainview
INFO 631-592-9804; 7-in-heaven.com
COST $44 at door (with RSVP) and $39 prepaid online
Expect a crowd of about 70-100, with ice-breaking games starting the evening (example: each guest gets half a playing card and has to find its "mate").
Guests are seated by suggested age groups of 32-46, 38-52, 44-59 and 57-69, and will be served an individual meal made during an Asian wok demonstration. There's a DJ.
The interestingly named business, 7 in Heaven, started seven years ago this month, says Adams, 57, inspired by the group's original mission, which was speed dating.
"Especially as a woman, it's difficult to go out alone," she says. "That's exactly why this was formed."
WHEN | WHERE 8-10 p.m. Saturday at Zachary's Nightclub, 1916 Hempstead Tpke, East Meadow
INFO 718-757-6933; weekenddating.com
Weekenddating.com's website has pages of testimonials of the success of its events. In fact, says founder Jay Rosensweig, 44, there have been at least 58 weddings of couples who have met at its events. "I stopped going to the weddings," the Bayside resident says. "I'm going to have to hold an event at Chuck E. Cheese's because of all the babies."
The approach is organized, but laid-back. The event is open to all ages with a light buffet and plenty of ice-breaking games. The event is private from the rest of the club and the music will be kept at a conversational level until 10 p.m. Anyone who wants to stay and dance afterward is welcome.
"It's a tough time of year for single people," he says. "If you are single on Valentine's Day, you don't have to go it alone."