SOUTH Korea's "battle of the singles" - a highly-anticipated mass dating event organised on Facebook - fizzled out yesterday, with thousands of lovelorn men at the venue but few women in sight. The event was triggered last month after two young men jokingly floated the idea on the social networking site and eventually prompted more than 36,000 Facebook users to sign up.
But only about 3500 people - mostly men in their 20s or 30s - turned up. Many of the women who did show up brought male partners just to watch the event.
"Apparently most of the participants were young men ... many left fairly quickly as the place was increasingly filled with guys," a police officer in Seoul told AFP.
Romantics who braved temperatures of around minus 10 degrees Celsius mostly milled aimlessly around the venue in a city park during the two-hour event.
Women had been asked to dress in red and men in white when they gathered at the park in Seoul's Yeouido financial district.
The two groups were asked to stand facing each other a few metres apart until the event started at 3pm, then walk towards a potential date and grab his or her hands.
But the face-to-face fizzled out after it became clear that there were simply not enough women to cater for a horde of men.
"Where the hell are the girls? I can't find any," said Kim Sung-Sik, a 23-year-old college student, describing the event as "utterly disappointing".
"This is awful... I didn't come all this way to get stuck in a bunch of smelly guys," said another male participant who declined to be named.
"It looks like there are more doves flying around here than there are girls ... I feel like I'm in the army again," he said, referring to the two years of military service mandatory for all South Korean men.
Similar male-dominated scenes have been reported in other cities where the same "battle of the singles" events were arranged.
Out of a population of some 50 million, South Korea - one of the world's most-wired nations - has 31 million smartphone users and nearly 20 million users of either Facebook or Twitter.