Carolyn Walton Lynch was dying to see The Ring Cycle at the Kennedy Center. But she was having trouble finding a friend interested in the arduous – and pricey – undertaking, and didn’t want to go alone. Later, she heard about a group of solo ticketholders who happened to attend all four productions spanning three weeks. “By the end of it, they had connected and bonded and count themselves among the Ringheads,” she says.
Lynch, who considers herself adventuresome, regrets passing on the rare opportunity to see the Wagner operas, and even more, regrets losing out on the chance to meet like-minded music lovers. Her dilemma is one that people on their own often face: whether or not to show up solo when coupling seems to be the norm.
“There’s a subtle stigma to going it alone,” says Lynch, a business consultant and CPA who founded an IT services firm. “When you go to a restaurant, you hear ‘Will it be just one?’ with a hint of pity,” she laughs.
Realizing that she wasn’t alone in the world of solos, Lynch came up with the idea for Mixolo, a social networking company that helps those on their own find like-minded strangers to hang with.
Mixolo, which will launch in Baltimore this spring, offers a range of opportunities for members – regardless of relationship status. Lynch is careful to differentiate what she offers from online social networking sites. “While this is a social media approach, the idea is to bring people together,” Lynch stresses. “It’s not something where you communicate with your friends via a device. We want people to come together in person.” Mixolo offers thoughtfully curated events where members feel comfortable showing up alone. “You may arrive on your own, but you’ll soon find yourself in a group of friends,” she promises.
In its early stages, Mixolo is seeking two types of members: those to attend events, and businesses or venues that wish to host gatherings. The initial list of event categories includes such options as outdoor adventures, live theater and music, food and wine experiences, and travel.
Lynch hopes that Mixolo will attract all kinds of people. “This is for people of diverse backgrounds to come together over shared interests,” she says. “Relationship status doesn’t matter.”
Still in its test stages, Mixolo has a live website and Lynch encourages interested solos and event hosts to sign up (it’s free!) and fill out the surveys for members and event hosts. There is a quick sign-up option as well for those who want to stay in touch as the company grows. “Our activities will be driven by members’ interests,” she explains.
Some Mixolo experiences will be ticketed events, like a block of seats at Single Carrot Theater, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company theater or even a Raven’s game. Others might be a hike along the Gunpowder, a sneak peek happy hour at a local brewery, a new restaurant or a Mixolo members reception with an author or artist.
Early sign-ups will have a chance to participate in some of the free* pre-launch events slated for late March.
With Mixolo, Lynch says she hopes to disrupt the stigma of showing up solo. “So instead of ‘just one?’ you’ll start hearing, ‘we’re glad you came!’”