Single but not a saddie? Then Swingles could be the group for you. Roopi Makkar reports
SINGLE people are not all saddies - whatever the latest surveys into their lives may suggest. The backlash against coupledom has begun.

Five months ago, Anton Ezer and Christina Wright (just good friends, of course) launched London's only anti-dating club. They had both split up with their respective partners and were sick of fitting in with married friends' schedules ("Can't get a baby sitter Thursday, Friday's no good, maybe next week") or cajoling other single friends to come out, only to be chatted up by a nerd in a bar.

One gloomy November evening they decided to take the situation in hand. Getting together 10 other like-minded friends they hit the bars of Soho with certain conditions. Everyone had to be up for a laugh, no-one was allowed to get off with anyone else on the night, no lovey-doviness could be allowed to infiltrate the group and best of all - you had to be single. The evening was such a success that it has developed into a regular fortnightly event and the increasing numbers who have joined go under the name of Swingles. "There's a whole new trend out there," says Anton, "and it's called living. Most of us are expected to have a wild time in our twenties, get married, get boring and then die. If you are single it's usually something to be worried about, and naturally everyone gets excited when they meet someone. We want to be excited about just being, without the pressure of having to meet someone."

All the people who go along wouldn't dream of joining a regular dating agency, finding them cringe making. Members don't go to a Swingles night expecting a regular time. Drinking starts early and continues into the next morning, no-one cares if you are alone, with a friend, what you've got on, or what contraceptive you use. They start off in one place, usually a bar, and then go on to another bar, restaurant or club. The numbers have grown since the launch purely through word of mouth. Swingles don't mind if you do happen to fancy someone and want their phone number. They are quite willing to welcome ex-members back into the fold when it inevitably goes wrong and offer vodka, sympathy and shoulders to cry on. Existing members are terrified of meeting someone as they know it means that they will be expelled from the group, their card torn up in front of every one else and then sent off, banished to a life of arguments and unhappiness. Future plans for Swingles include the end of the human race as we know it, with all participants opting to stay in the group rather than walking off into the sunset. "I'm thinking of running a Swingles first anniversary in November," Anton muses, "when all the members will be allowed to flirt, kiss and shag with each other - for one night only."

8 Anyone interested in joining Swingles should send details c/o fax 0181 292 1034.

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