Social clubs give you the chance to find a soulmate
One of the great things about living in Dubai is the ease with which you can meet new people – it seems everyone is keen to socialise and make new connections. But what happens if you’re not meeting the right people? Step up networking and match-finding groups such as Gooseberry Dubai and Quintessential Club: the former will send you to events where you’ll meet like-minded food enthusiasts, and the rather more startling latter aims to bring together wealthy men and attractive, intelligent women.
In the name of research, we went through the interview process for both groups to get a feel for what you can expect, and we’ve also scouted out some more casual alternatives.
GooseberryDubai.com Offering the three Fs we all live for (fun, friends and food), Gooseberry is best described as a Dubai-based dining club. While everyone is welcome to join, you have to meet founder Michelle McDonald before you can become a member. It’s so she can get your details (age, where you’re from, dietary preferences and so on) and find out if you can hold a conversation.
While we were a little apprehensive about how formal the consultation might be, Michelle was incredibly friendly and approachable, immediately putting us at ease, and within a few minutes we were talking about everything from our families to what we did last weekend.
What puts most people off is the joining fee of Dhs1,000 (you’ll be paying for meals separately), but it’s actually fairly reasonable as it allows you access to any eight Gooseberry events of your choice (there’s four every month, from casual cheese and grape nights to high-end meals), so it works well for anyone with a busy schedule. This month’s Gooseberry events include a canapé night at Mango Tree, Souk Al Bahar (December 6), an à la carte Italian brunch at Certo at the Radisson SAS, Dubai Media City (December 9) and Battle of the Chefs! at Nineteen, The Address Montgomerie Dubai (December 16). Michelle also ensures that everyone brings something to the table (so to speak): you’ll be around people who are looking for the same things as you. Good food and great company – we all need some of that in our lives. www.gooseberrydubai.com (04 421 1450)
Quintessential Club A matchmaking and concierge company that operates in locations including Miami, London and New York, Quintessential Club claims to have an extremely large client base in Dubai. The setup is simple: it ‘offers successful men the ability to discretely meet and interact with exceptionally beautiful and intelligent women, in a relaxed atmosphere.’ According to the club’s 25-year-old owner, former model Mya Hassan, the basic requirements are that the women are beautiful, and the men are successful (though not necessarily millionaires) and looking for meaningful relationships, and there is a strict vetting process for both male and female applicants.
Hassan set up the agency after noticing her female colleagues in the modelling industry had trouble finding men who weren’t intimidated by ‘their beauty, worldliness or schedules’. She had been raised around business-oriented men who found it difficult to meet women who understood their workload, so she decided to help both parties out.
It’s worth noting that any member found using the service in an unsavoury manner will be removed from the database immediately. Men are required to sign up as members in order to have the chance to meet one of the many beautiful women (as evidenced by the website) on the company’s books, while women are required to submit professional photographs of themselves, along with their measurements.
After we submitted a (female) application, we were called for an interview and ‘psychological evaluation’ (you can’t really blame them for wanting to weed out the crazy, otherwise you may as well just go to any bar in Dubai). The questions range from the reasonable ‘Do you have children?’ to the more invasive ‘Has anyone in your family ever suffered from depression or alcoholism?’ For the record, Time Out scored the dubious honour of passing the vetting process with flying colours. www.quintessentialclub.com