New singles club for those in their fifties (more or less)

A newly formed singles group’s goal is to meet others in a relaxed,

casual environment in a local home.

By Ward Lauren / Special to The Malibu Times

Single men and women in their 50s (more or less) now have a local outlet to get to know other singles in a relaxed, informal social environment through the Malibu Social Club.

Conceived by Broad Beach resident Jo Giese, with the collaboration of friends Jewel Simpson and Camille Gaon, the purpose of the group is to provide a face-to-face, friendly alternative to “the frustrating isolation and anonymity” of Internet dating.

“This is a club in name only” Giese said. “There’s no clubhouse, no dues, no obligations.”


One of the group’s first gatherings will take place Friday at the home of Gaon, and will be in the form of a potluck/barbecue.

“And men shouldn’t be intimidated because it’s a potluck,” Giese said. “They can just bring a bottle of whatever they want to drink or a bag of chips; they don’t have to prepare a ‘dish.’ It’s not a cooking contest.”

What it is, she said, is an opportunity for mature single people to meet and mix with adults of generally similar interests, means and circumstances in a casual home environment. The immediate goal is connection, companionship and conversation. The ultimate goal is to be determined by the individual participants.

“It just seemed to me that there must be other people like myself who would enjoy an evening of getting to know other people who are also single in our community,” Giese said. “And there is no venue for doing that here.”

People who want to attend do not need to live in Malibu, she added.

Single since the death of her husband three years ago, Giese said she has found it difficult to meet people of similar circumstances even though she goes out a lot in connection with her volunteer work as president of the Malibu Green Machine and as a journalist. She said she doesn’t like the Internet dating sites because you don’t know the person you’re meeting. In the Malibu Social Club it could be a neighbor or someone else in the community.

“You meet them in context,” she said. “You might not fall in love-it’s really a mystery and some magic when it works and you do meet that person-but we’re trying to create a venue where maybe that could happen for some of us.”

Gaon, a writer who works at home, emphasized that the age range for people who might be interested in joining Friday’s soiree “is not set in stone, but something like mid-40s to mid-60s. We’re just looking for interesting, nice single people who want to have a social life and maybe an ongoing monthly gathering like this, a nice evening of conversation on interesting topics.”

Gaon, who has been single for 12 years, has not tried any of the Internet dating programs, preferring to meet people in a more natural, safer way, where at least somebody knows somebody, she said. She moved to Malibu a year ago, and although she said she loves it here, she finds it somewhat isolated and would like to have more of a social life.

“That’s one of the things that attracted me to Jo’s social club idea, to have a group of single people, mostly local, to hang out and do things with.”

Single for nine years, retired dentist Jewel Simpson has tried Internet dating and found it useful because it allowed her to screen potential dates for many characteristics and attributes, not possible in a random type of meeting.

“But no matter how good someone looks on paper,” Simpson said, “until you meet them in a social setting, can see them in person and talk to them, you don’t know if you’re going to be attracted to them or not. That’s the nice thing about the Malibu Social Club, you’ll have a chance to meet people who are geographically available, and meet them in the kind of environment where you can decide if they’re someone you’d like to see further or not. I think that’s the main difference; it’s a non-pressure sort of situation.

“And you’re not necessarily looking with the specific goal of dating someone. For example, I have a new puppy that needs a lot of exercise, so I’m looking for a hiking partner, for one thing, male or female. And actually I’ve found it’s easier to meet very nice women friends at different homes and social events, so this is another possible benefit of our meetings.”

More information about Friday’s initial home gathering can be obtained by calling Camille Gaon at 310.589.2726 or Jewel Simpson at 310.317.0964 for directions to the house. The gathering starts at 7 p.m.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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