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Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm single in Singapore but not by choice

Hello. My name is Yuhui and I've never been kissed.

It's not that I'm averse to kissing nor am I shy about it (as far as I know, given my lack of any real experience). Also, kissing my mother doesn't count.

No, it's about the lack of partners to kiss with. Actually, at this point in my life, I'd settle for a partner - singular.

In Saturday's Straits Times newspaper (reproduced at, there was a full-page article, "Never been kissed". It described the issues around the growing number of singles, a.k.a "singletons", in Singapore. And yes, this being Singapore, those issues include marrying late and having babies even later or not at all.

As I read through the stories, I found that mine did not match any of those. So I thought I'd share my side of Singaporean singlehood. In doing so, I hope that I can show that my experience isn't a quirk or "the exception that proves the rule".

I didn't attempt to start dating seriously till I was in university. Before then, the closest I'd got was with a girl from junior college -- who brought a friend along. During my National Service days, I watched my buddies hook up while I was left hanging.

But you have to understand. I was young then and believed that I had all the time in the world to find a partner. That was about 15 years ago. Time is no longer a luxury I have. And in the intervening years, I've tried to make up for lost dates.

Yet, I found myself continuing to attract only two kinds of girls:
  1. those who already had boyfriends (or *gasp* were on the verge of getting married) or
  2. for one reason or another, didn't want to be in a relationship now and "can we just remain as friends?"
(As time dragged on, friends suggested that I let go of my principles and pursue those in the first group, i.e. those already attached. After all, these days, even a marriage isn't forever. However, I'm glad to say that I haven't stooped that low.)

The ironic thing is that some of those girls in the second group getting married!

To find Ms Right, I even joined a dating agency. Yes, I forked over good money for a number of dates (20, I think). I went on two repeat dates (supposedly the measure of success for a dating agency), though things fizzled out after that. And by that, I mean I received no replies when contacting them subsequently.

But almost all of the girls were just looking to widen their social circles -- and I somehow never ended up being a part of anyway. This is where marketing met reality. The "dating agency" promised partnership, but its database consisted of people looking for friends. It was a big "what the f--k" realisation -- not to mention seeing good money go down the drain.

Some dating articles suggested that I look nearer, like in the workplace. (Though a friend advised: "why eat and shit at the same place?") One day, I plucked up the courage to ask a colleague out (you know who you are!). She gave the "I don't date colleagues" response, which I guess was acceptable. But even now that we're not colleagues, she can't bring herself to date me.

Other colleagues are -- you guessed it -- already attached or "not looking for a relationship right now".

It was then that I pretty much gave up. After that, if anyone wanted to introduce me to someone, I gave my contact details freely. It's truly a "what's the worst that can happen?" decision. People who know me would probably pair me with someone compatible, right?

If so, I wouldn't be writing this now.

So that's my story, and I hope I'm not the only Singaporean single male who's "suffering" through this.

Oh yes, I'm still open to being matchmade. (Or if you're my previous/current colleague, you could try to "psycho" that ex-colleague to give me a chance or point my in another direction.) After all, "what's the worst that can happen?"

On a sidenote: I read an article (from a man's magazine, naturally) that it was cheaper to hook up with prostitutes than it is to date. With the former, there's also guaranteed sex for the fee, whereas with the latter, you hope that your "investment" in dates culminates in a marriage and therefore sex (going by the traditional means of having sex). This suggestion is really not an ideal option for me.