A few weeks ago, my usual Google search on Greek Australian news generated an article titled ‘6 Best places to meet a Greek Single in Melbourne’. Posted among similar blog entries with tips relevant to Melbourne’s diverse communities, my curiosity led me to get in touch with Roshi Kalpa.
A finance professional, born in Sri Lanka but raised in Botswana and the UK, Ms Kalpa operates Perfect Puzzle Dating Services offering events that cater exclusively to ethnic single of Melbourne.
The idea, she explains, came from her own personal experience and that of her small team, all of whom are from ethnic minority groups.
“We’ve been through the same issues encountered by those singles we serve,” she says, prompting their discovery of a gap in the market.
“Melbourne is very multicultural, there are lots of people migrating here nowadays, but it also has a huge population of ethnic groups already established for years.
“For a lot of people, I think it’s important to have a partner sharing the same cultural background and links to language, or say the same approach on raising children […] especially in cultures that are quite family-oriented.”
It was in the UK that Ms Kalpa observed this first-hand while assisting a friend, who ran a business organising dating events.
“What I noticed from my experience there was that people were more inclined to match with someone in ethnic-specific gatherings compared to open events.”
Together with her team, they run what she terms ’boutique’ dating events, facilitating a space where up to 15 culturally compatible singles can take their chances in finding “the love that they deserve”.
They are given eight or nine minutes to interact with each of their potential dates, and upon conclusion are invited to socialise within the group.
Matching scorecards are filled out and handed to the facilitator after the event, with attendees given the opportunity to add more names over the next 24 hours.
Scheduled events for the upcoming months include one for singles aged 25-35 years of European-Mediterranean background. Ms Kalpa reveals she has been asked to facilitate an event targeting exclusively Greeks, and though not yet confirmed, she says it could definitely happen if sufficient numbers express interest.
Speed dating has been around for ages, way before dating apps and social media, and in a way, Ms Kalpa believes it is a more authentic experience to online.
“When online you can pretend to be anyone,” she says.
Having said that, she does not reject the use of dating apps altogether, nor does she promote dating events as the only way to meet someone.
“What I would say to every single person is that if you are looking for a culturally compatible partner, you have to be in places where this can happen, wherever that may be.
“Just keep trying and do it without doubt, without fear … those two things hold us back. You just have to put yourself out there and remember that past experiences are not an indication of your future.”