Being single in Colorado Springs can be a bit tricky. Add being queer to the equation, and it’s a nightmare. And it’s not just me who thinks so. Dating as a queer person is so rough, even the straights know about it.
Meagan Thomas, co-creator of the podcast Single in the Springs, started hosting singles mixers back in November. What started off as something to fill a need for her and her best friend Madeline Hoeppner, became a bi-weekly event; their last mixer hosted more than 125 people at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. They also do speed dating events and events for singles above the age of 45, with ideas for more activities on the horizon.
“We wanna do some fun dating profile makeover events,” Meagan said. “Some roasting of profiles. And an event called pitch a friend.” Meagan explained the idea of a best friend pitching their single friend to other singles, like some moderated wingman/woman/person situation.
When I commented on how much Meagan does (she also runs a food blog), she laughed and said, “It’s probably why I’m single!”
But apparently she’s not doing enough, since she’s now decided to launch a new event series: LGBTQ mixers.
At her day job (yes, Meagan also has a day job) she had a friend and co-worker who she’d invite to all her events. He never came. Feeling a little worried and sensitive, she finally asked him why. Turns out, he doesn’t come because he’s gay.
While all people, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation, can attend Meagan and Madeline’s events, Meagan came to realize in that conversation just how hard one of her events could be for a gay guy.
“[You] go to an event, and there’s like 100 people, but you can only date maybe 10 of the people there and maybe half of them would be people you would be interested in. Like, that would suck.”
In hopes of helping her friend and more LGBTQ people across Colorado Springs, she launched her first LGBTQ mixer in March. As a single gay man myself, I was ready to give it a go.
Small problem: I hate talking to strangers. However, I didn’t think about that till after I interviewed Meagan and Madeline, put on a wristband to signify I was single, and became too intoxicated to drive.
Someone, send help.
Luckily, there were a bunch of psychopaths at the event — the kind who like to walk up to random people and introduce themselves, or grab a seat on a couch between me and someone else, or squeeze themselves between three strangers on said couch.
In fact, my preference for being a wallflower completely backfired on me, as I ended up with three phone numbers by the end of the night. How the hell did this happen? I’m blaming Meagan and Madeline and their genuine desire to make these events as friendly and accessible as possible. It’s as though the energy they carry bleeds out into every person, and it truly makes what would usually be a nightmare for an introvert, pleasant.
In addition to organizing and hosting these events, one of the key things that Meagan loves doing is helping socially awkward people connect with the person they’ve been staring at for the past hour from across the room. It’s like her God-given superpower: matchmaking, like Yente from Fiddler on the Roof, except she’s way more successful.
Before launching the LGBTQ event, she interviewed a ton of people from the community to see what would be most helpful. She also chose to host the event at Happy Tap specifically because of how the owner responded to the idea.
“When I came to meet with Bret [Helton], who is actually a Major League Baseball player, 26, really attractive, and also single,” she said, obviously very focused on the event, “I was naming some of the events we could do. As soon as I mentioned the LGBTQ+ event, he said that, ‘I’d love for this to be a safe space for them to come.’” He even made sure there was a food truck for the event because he so wanted it to succeed.
While Colorado Springs can be hard for single people, and even harder for single LGBTQ people, seeing those like Madeline and Meagan and Bret come together to try and help their friends and the community was truly exciting. Hopefully, with these events happening every month, being single in the Springs won’t be so bad after all.
Keep up with Meagan and Madeline’s podcast and singles events at facebook.com/SingleInTheSprings.Editor's note: This column has been updated to correct the spelling of Meagan and Madeline's names.