Could this social experiment help me find love? – Cosmopolitan UK

I wore a ‘singles ring’ for six weeks in the hopes of meeting my match
I’ve tried everything when it comes to dating – all the apps,

speed dating, singles parties and set ups. But aside from an 18-month relationship, I’ve remained single for seven years.
I’m not alone – many single friends struggle to meet people or convert app matches to actual dates, and in my opinion, getting chatted up in person is a myth. It’s hard out here for us single folk, so when I came across a new ‘single ring’ online, I was intrigued.
Calling itself the world’s biggest social experiment, the pearº ring is a £19.99 turquoise silicone band that signifies a person’s single status. Wearing one shows you’re open to conversations IRL. There’s no app element in all this – pearº focuses on in-person connections and “the world’s first singles’ festival,” PearFest, promised this summer.
To see if this ring could be the answer to my dating woes, I’ve been wearing it every day for the past six weeks (across six cities and two countries, no less), quizzing the ring’s founders and relationship expert Anna Williamson to see if we’re really done with digital dating and how well this experiment actually works.

After over a decade of dating apps (Tinder launched all the way back in 2012), the concept of face-to-face flirting is, for many, a welcome break from digital swiping.
But pearº isn’t the first of its kind – Irish communities have long worn a Claddagh, a ring with a heart, crown and hands design, to symbolise relationship status. As Claire Roberts, co-founder of The Vintage Ring Company, explains, the heart facing towards your body means you’re taken and outwards indicates that you’re single.
Then in 2013, the MY Single Band, a silicone bracelet, was released. Singles at the time weren’t convinced, so might pearº be any different? The founder of the ring, who asked to remain anonymous, admits that “this thing only works if people wear it. 100,000 rings in London aren’t enough, we need to sell millions.” The brand is currently selling around 1,000 to 2,000 rings a day and recently launched a lilac ring for LGBTQ+ daters.
Part of the ring’s appeal is its move from screen to street. Single people are tired of judging people through apps, and pearº describes itself as “anti-tech, all about bringing it back to real-life connections.”
Anna Williamson, relationship expert and coach at The Relationship Place, agrees that a shake up is needed. “I am pro anything that ignites excitement in dating. People are wanting to get offline. Face-to-face connections will always trump being behind a piece of tech because you have the full sensory experience, which is vital.”
Some daters may not want to tell the world that they’re single and therefore might live alone. The ring also stops you from deterring unwanted advances by saying “I have a partner”. It’s definitely something I’ve considered when wearing my ring, but while it’s still a relatively unknown accessory, I’m not so worried.
There’s also an obvious concern about sustainability – the brand uses recycled and recyclable packaging, but these non-biodegradable silicone rings are likely to end up in landfill once you’re done with them, despite the founder’s hopes that you’ll keep yours as a memento of how you met The One.
After six weeks, I’ve yet to see anyone else wearing a pearº ring in the wild. It’s the same story for Jasmine, 29, who shares her dating experiences on TikTok. “What I like about pearº is that you can choose when to wear it, so if I’m not feeling up to being ‘available’ I can just leave it at home.”
Bel, 30, felt like she’d “completed” dating apps so opted to try the ring. “I’m happy to talk to strangers on a night out, so I thought this might make that easier. I even deleted my apps to really immerse myself in the mindset, but no luck. I’ve seen one other person wearing one on the tube and we exchanged an awkward smile but it felt more like mutual embarrassment.”
Pearº’s founders were conscious that most wearers would be women, but they actually estimate that 55% of users are male. One of them is Joe, 31, who felt like he fluctuated between being “overly critical” of girls’ profiles (“I’ll judge someone with a picture at an Ibiza pool party, when in reality that doesn’t represent them.”) or arranging dates and realising almost immediately that the spark wasn’t there.
“I felt quite awkward wearing the ring and broadcasting my status. If I saw someone wearing one, it would prevent me from thinking that person was sick of fending men off. I don’t want to come across as creepy or make women feel uncomfortable,” he said.
So is this ring worth your pennies? Right now, the jury’s out. There are not enough wearers for us singles to bump into each other easily, and even if we did, would this band be enough to boost our confidence enough to actually talk to someone in the flesh?
As the pear founders say, “this ring can act like a placebo, you might be more chatty with people because you think they’ve seen the ring. I’m not going to lie and say we’ve seen success stories yet, but people are buying into the concept because they’re fed up with dating apps.”
I’m still wearing my ring, holding out hope that today will be the day I meet someone. Because after all, isn’t putting yourself out there the real key to success in dating?

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