Yesterday afternoon, I was explaining to a good friend of another faith just why I'd go to church to find fun people to do things with.
I explained the organization of the Church -- the Church as a whole broken down into areas, stakes, wards, etc. -- and added that where membership is high in a given area, they have a ward (or many wards) set aside for singles in any given stake. That is, a Singles Ward.
"And you go to this ward to meet fun people and date them, yes?" he asked. Ah. Very perceptive.
"Well...yes," I replied. "I guess that's the purpose of the ward. So singles can meet other singles and become not-singles."
"...so it's just like a singles bar in New York!"
Now, I've never been to a bar in New York (of any variety), and the ones in Maine certainly aren't the sort I'd go to meet people and try to become not-single (though I've spent a good deal of time in a couple of them with friends). But after we eliminated the drinking (of course) and the random hookups (I hope) and made the music a little more spiritual, the description of a singles bar that he gave sounded -- well, it sounded a lot like a Singles Ward, except without the religion.
I wonder if something like this exists in more cultures than just 'Mormon' and 'New York' -- if any culture wherein the young are expected to choose mates for themselves necessarily has some sort of pool they can all jump into for the purpose of accomplishing that.
And I'm sure there could be a really deep point to this post about LDS dating rituals, but my experience with them is limited, and anyway, I really just wanted to share the mental image of 200 clean-cut, tie-wearing or long-skirted LDS singles crowding into a New York bar.