friendormate saidTell me though. You mention the successes in this group but for ever couple formed how many men never met anyone?
Well "met" can't be the operative word. For example, chances are very high that everyone in one of the three day weekend retreats (averaging around 30 attendees) "met" everyone else.
So, I'll assume what you're asking is, how many guys ended up dating others within the group and of those how many ended up in relationships?
First let me say this was all during the late '80s to late '90s. I haven't been active in any of these organizations since, although I know the first Pacific Center
and the second, the Discover Community
, still exist. So everything I have to say is from old memory.
I think I should also say that the focus of both groups is more on "community building" than "match making". I have no idea if either of these groups have done an official self-study to determine whether they're successful. Although, obviously, their longevity (if nothing else) suggests they do serve a vital need in the larger gay community. What percentage of "couplings" has arisen out of it is anyone's guess. For me alone there were two (8 years apart) and many dating situations prior to the first and in-between the first and second.
I feel I need to go into some detail about how all this worked. You can skip this if you're not interested:
Around 7PM on a Monday evening (gay men's groups night), Pacific Center participants would begin showing up at the 3 story house where the events were held. Guys would be milling around talking to one another and of course some would be more engaged socializing than others. The ages ranged from 18 on up and it was an ethnically diverse group but predominantly white. The number of guys showing up varied but was usually around 60 as I recall. Also during this time the (4 to 6) trained peer facilitators were meeting in private to discuss what 'rap groups' they were going to lead during the evening. (For a year or so I was one of these facilitators.)
At 7:30 the facilitators would call the assembly to the back porch of the house where community announcements were made. After that, each facilitator would announce his 'rap group' theme for the evening and which room the group would meet in.
After that the assembly would disperse, everyone choosing which group they wanted to attend. A group might have as few as 6 to as many as 30 participants but they usually averaged around 10 or so.
The themes of the groups ranged from various challenges or personal issues that most gay guys face -- coming out, being out, safe sex, dealing with drugs, dealing with anger, finding 'mr. right', building communication skills, and many many others -- they really could be anything the facilitator thought would be an interesting theme to discuss. And they weren't all serious, either; some were obviously just meant for fun and, of course, the themes often reflected the diverse personalities of the facilitators themselves.
The groups would meet for an hour and a half; so, to 9PM. Generally they began with a go-round of 'check-in' where guys would sort of say where they were, what was going on in their lives at that time, and then the group discussion would follow. The function of the facilitator was to open the discussion and then make sure everyone got an opportunity to express his POV on the topic. Sometimes mediations were necessary when people began to argue over opinions.
After the groups there was usually more milling around at the facility, mingling and so on. Usually *some* of the guys would wander off (either in small groups or in couples) to coffee shops or restaurants in the nearby neighborhood to carry on conversations and getting to know one another.
So, as you might imagine, these events were great ways for guys to meet other guys and learn about themselves and one another in a supportive environment. There was an overall 'structure' but no specific 'pressure' to do anything in particular other than participate if one felt like sharing. Like many such social organizations there were guys who came every week, who'd never miss it, some had been coming for years. There were always new people showing up who might or might not come back. So, there was no 'demand' that anyone 'join' anything… one could come and go as often or infrequently as one wished. But because there was a more or less permanent 'core group', there was an over-all sense of community, people who *knew* one another. (Whether or not they *liked* one another, that's another matter, lol!)
So, you see your question is very difficult to answer. I do know that guys met, sometimes they hooked up (of course), sometimes they dated, sometimes relationships formed out of those dates. But obviously not always. I have *no idea* how one would quantify it.
The couples group that formed originally had 9 couples in it and we weren't the only couples in this mix. We originally cut membership off at 9 because we felt that 18 people was already a sizable group given what we had in mind. Every 3rd week we'd meet at one of the couple's homes on a weekend evening, have a sociable pot-luck dinner, and then spend two to three hours talking about (and sometimes actively working through) our relationship issues.
Over the course of the first year or so, three of the original couples either broke up or dropped out of the group and were replaced by two other couples. So, six of the nine original couples were in the group for seven years and two other couples participated almost as long. All of us felt that participation in the group was instrumental in keeping our relationships alive. Obviously we got to know one another very very well.
More over, our larger social circle included Pacific Center and Discovery. So, it wasn't unusual, for example, for some of the couples from the group to also be at one of the retreat weekends. So in a sense we were role models but like I say, the 'couples group' couples weren't the only couples.
Hope that helps.