In western Colorado, being single isn’t always singular



8-Minute Dating will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, and at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at The Feedlot, 456 Kokopelli Blvd., in Fruita.

The speed-dating event will be divided into groups for 25- to 35-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds. Each participant will have eight eight-minute, one-on-one “dates.” At the end of the evening, participants can log onto the 8-Minute Dating website to express whether they met someone they’d like to see again for dating, friendship or networking.

Registration is $34.88 per person and can be done at


If you’re looking to get out and about and meet new people, try:

■ Grand Junction Social (, a social group whose more than 93 members get together for game nights, potlucks, wine tastings, movies, a book club and “basically anything that’s going on around town,” said founder Ron Rehberg.

■ Roaring 20s/30s (, a social group for people in their 20s and 30s, whose members get together for trivia nights, hiking, movies, pub crawl scavenger nights and other activities.

■ A Taste of the Valley (, a group whose members get together for culinary walking tours, wine tastings, wine pairings, spirit tastings, scotch and cigar pairings, dessert samplings and other activities.

■ Western Slope Adventurers (, for people who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rafting, skiing, snowshoeing and anything else outdoors with other like-minded people.

■ Events at Mesa County Libraries (, including book clubs, game clubs, story nights and hobby groups.

Somewhere there’s a place where the single people are plentiful. Where they’re employed and active and never utter the words “my probation officer says…” Where they are kind to children and animals, possess the majority of their marbles and tell the truth most of the time.

This also seems like the sort of place where they would ride unicorns to work and have troupes of singing woodland creatures to help them with the housework.

Unfortunately, this is not that place.

Depending on whom you ask — and how long they’ve been single and how good/bad their last date was — western Colorado could be described as challenging all the way to impossible for meeting other cool, single people.

“I don’t think it’s always easy to be single here,” admitted Marybeth Kavanagh, who’s recently had experience wading back into the dating pool as a divorced mom.

Based on what she’s learned about dating in this area, Kavanagh said she decided to become an 8-Minute Dating organizer. Her first 8-Minute Dating event will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at The Feedlot, 456 Kokopelli Blvd., in Fruita.

The speed dating event, in which participants will have eight eight-minute, one-on-one “dates,” will be divided into groups for 25- to 35-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds. Registration is $34.88 per person and can be done at

“I think people are looking for different avenues to make some different connections,” Kavanagh explained. “What I like about (8-Minute Dating) is that you have the option to say whether you’re interested for friendship, for dating or for business. So, hopefully people will make some connections.”

And, she added, it’s something different in an area not necessarily known for its single-friendliness.

“But I think that’s something you could say about most places,” said Ron Rehberg, founder of Grand Junction Social (, a social group of which about 80 percent of the members are single. “I think it depends on your attitude. If you want to meet someone, you have to get out and be around people.”

And that means all people, he said, single and married. If they’re married, they might know people who aren’t, he said. The point is to keep an open mind and perhaps, on occasion, swallow a little pride and ask for a set-up or join an online dating site.

At a meeting several months ago for single members of Grand Junction Social, Janelle Maurin said that in this area, online dating is one of the most common ways to meet people, but as for the outcome? She shrugged. It’s a mixed bag out there.

Plus, Tamra Grosse added, the back and forth of emails and instant messages can take months and be a soul-sucking process. Meeting for a public, non-committal coffee is so much easier.

But that circles back to the issue of how to meet someone with whom to have that coffee. At Safeway? On Mary’s Loop? While making a circuit around Cactus Canyon on a Friday night? Yes to any and all of those.

Ninety-six episodes of “Sex and the City” and an infinity of romantic comedies boil down to this very issue: How do you predict when and where lightning will strike?

Nobody can, is the problem, and that’s the quandary of being single if meeting someone is a goal. And it doesn’t get easier with age, said Susan Rankin, an organizer with Grand Junction Social. Trying to meet someone in your 50s or 60s in this area can seem like an acute form of torture on the wrong day or in the wrong frame of mind.

Again, Rehberg emphasized the necessity of getting off the couch and getting out — to a book club, a wine tasting, trivia night, anywhere people are going to be.

“Even if you’re not meeting people to date, it’s better than sitting at home if that isn’t what you want,” he said.

So, if you throw enough darts, at least one of them is bound to hit the dart board. Which is all very vague, and not very helpful for the magic bullet seekers. But that’s just it: There’s no one place or one club in this area where you’re guaranteed to meet someone interesting and dateable.

Like so many things in life, dating in western Colorado is trial and error, a lot of terrible luck and some good, and not giving up hope (entirely) that nice things are around the very next corner.


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