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By Poppy Jasmine Hawkes
here can you meaningly connect with fellow Queers? The answer is appropriately fruity: A Whole Orange. Thanks to Kim Malone Crossley, A Whole Orange is an LGBTQ+ dating service that provides all sorts of matchmaking events.
“My whole business is to provide something for the people where the system of clubbing and going to bars doesn't work. So, for the people who don't really vibe with that method of dating and are sick of dating apps, I want to create events that are built to help you to connect with people, which means taking it into different environments.” Kim explained.
This Friday, Kim has organised the Fruit Salad Salon- a femme-friendly Queer singles event at Shoreditch Nails. With refreshments and a 30-minute manicure to enjoy, the possibility of meeting your other half is just around the corner.
“Any part of Queer dating that is difficult at the moment, that's what I want to tackle.” As a femme presenting person, Kim recognised the challenges that come with being femme in the dating scene, such as not being visible to other Queer people. The LGBTQ+ matchmaker, based in London, recently hosted a love advice pop-up event at Lush Oxford Street, uncovering the issues with Queer dating.
This led to the idea of having the event at a nail salon, “A lot of the Queer femme people that I spoke to said they always really wanted to get their nails done, but never felt comfortable going into a nail bar on their own because it feels like a very specific space and it's a bit intimidating.” Fortunately, we now have the opportunity to be in a fun and flirty space, where the femme fantasy of getting the perfect manicure with other Queers can become reality.
"Kim recognised the challenges that come with being femme in the dating scene, such as not being visible to other Queer people."
During their studies at university in Netherland, Kim started a feminist collective for people to converse, and eventually, attendees formed relationships with each other. Realising they had a skill for curating safe spaces for relations to unfold, the idea for a Queer matchmaking service was born.
Crossley’s best friend would often speak of a romantic Spanish saying that translates to being part of an orange in search of its other half and in November of 2019, A Whole Orange ripened into a full fledged operation.
Even for the creator of the LGBTQ+ dating organisation, nervousness to join the community affected them. Coming back to London, the Queer scene was intimidating, as if everyone already knew each other, “That was another reason why I wanted to put on events because there is no secret central group! We're all just showing up connecting with each other, even though it can really feel that way sometimes.”
A year onwards from the official launch, the need to relate and meet with other Queer people feels more prevalent than ever, after months of lockdowns. Post-pandemic, Kim was informed that people who weren’t ready to go to an event, suddenly found themselves desperate to attend. “It really is a space and a time that is curated for connection, to prioritise people getting to know each other, and the reason I think that's important is because it's what we all want, but for some reason, we don't have it yet.”
“It really is a space and a time that is curated for connection, to prioritise people getting to know each other"
Considering that there is only one lesbian bar in London, and the majority of Queer events centre around drinking and clubbing, spaces to find LGBTQ+ people in a wholesome and comfortable way are scarce. “No more lonely Queers!” Kim proudly states, capturing the A Whole Orange purpose, providing a space for LGBTQ+ people to come together and truly bond.
Matchmaker Kim Maline Crossley talks dating ahead of the upcoming singles event at Shoreditch Nails
By Poppy Jasmine Hawkes