A big crowd forms in Yeouido Park, Seoul, Monday, to participate in a mass blind date social event on Christmas Eve. Thousands of participants came to the park in search of partners. / Yonhap
Event ends with not many finding partner
By Yun Suh-young
Single men appeared to be more desperate than their female counterparts to find a partner before Christmas.
On Monday, when a "Mass Dating" event was held at Yeouido Park in Seoul, about 90 percent of the participants were men.
According to real-time messages uploaded online by people at the event, the proportion of attendees in the park was made up primarily of police followed by pigeons, men, reporters, vendors and finally women.
Much to their dismay, many men failed to find a partner at the park, despite enormously high enthusiasm for the occasion.
"There are so many men here it looks like a military training session," said a blogger. Another tweeter by the ID: @sangria*** said, "There are more police and pigeons here it looks like they are confronting each other."
The event was finally held at Yeouido Park despite controversy between the organizers and park officials on whether it was against the law to hold it at the park.
The event was first suggested by a 24-year-old college student using the ID: "You have started dating" on Facebook to help singles find partners on Christmas Eve.
The student, Yoo Tae-hyung, and a friend pushed through with organizing the event although representatives of Yeouido Park, the chosen venue, strongly protested against it being held there, claiming that it was against the law on city parks.
Yoo denied the claims saying that the event would be held in the form of a flash mob and was therefore not an illegal rally.
The event started from 3 p.m. Monday at the park. The dress code was set for the participants so that they can easily recognize each other. Male participants had to wear white and female participants red. But not many appeared with the clothing of the set color.
The rules of the event were also changed from the original. The initial plan had been for men and women to stand across from each other at the park and run toward each other until they find a match and walk off hand-in-hand.
However, due to concerns from the public and the police regarding possible sexual harassment and other criminal activities, the plan was changed so that participants walked toward each other in lines until they found a person they wanted to be with.
But the event ended with not many succeeding to become a couple. There were too many men heading for the women, leading some of the latter to leave. The event was over in an hour.
There were fewer people who participated than expected. The organizers had expected more than 10,000 participants as 22,000 had initially expressed their willingness to participate online. However, the police estimate as of 4 p.m., was about 3,500.
In most of the other regions where the same event was held, hopes for becoming a couple also were in vain.
The event in Daejeon was cancelled, the one in Cheongju also ended with low participation. On Jeju Island, only three turned up on the scene _ all men. In Busan, 500 participated but most of them were men so the event turned into a wrestling competition, according to those at the scene.