Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Anti-Love Drug May Be Ticket to Bliss by John Tierney: A Singletude Response

On January 12, Dr. Larry J. Young of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center caught up with New York Times reporter John Tierney to discuss a world without love.

Well, all right, not a world devoid of any form of affection. As singles everywhere know, romantic love is not the holy grail of human emotions. There are plenty of other opportunities to give and receive love in familial and filial bonds. Nevertheless, the prospect of manipulating romantic attachment has captured our collective imagination since we were drawing on cave walls, inspiring everything from Wiccan love potions to self-help books. Now, Young believes we may be on the verge of some scientifically verifiable spell casting.

In Anti-Love Drug May Be Ticket to Bliss, Young reports that oxytocin, a hormone that contributes to bonding during sex, has been used in a nasal spray to increase feelings of trust and empathy and theorizes that it may have future applications in troubled romantic relationships: "If you’re in a marriage and want to maintain that relationship, you might take a little booster shot yourself every now and then," he says.

Now try explaining that collection of syringes to your spouse: "I'm sorry, honey, I'm addicted to love."

However, Tierney is more eager to see the new technology used to inhibit the twitterpated and points to research by Dr. Helen Fisher and Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., which suggests that antidepressants can suppress the neurochemical response to the body's attempts to pair us off. In addition, reduced levels of oxytocin (in prairie voles, at least) and vasopressin (in prairie voles and human males!) have been shown to weaken the urge toward monogamy.

Hmmm. So, in other words, ladies, if he doesn't call, maybe he's just not that into vasopressin?

Tierney pushes it a step further, proposing a "love vaccine" that would restore the likes of Britney Spears and Larry King to their right minds. (Although, in the case of the former, there would, of course, have to be a mind to restore first.) As Tierney puts it, "Spouses going through midlife crises would not be so quick to elope with their personal trainers; elderly widowers might consult their lawyers before marrying someone resembling Anna Nicole Smith." The days of report cards complaining that Little Johnny kisses the girls at recess would recede into mythology as love vaccines were administered with every infant's dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella.

While the findings covered by the NY Times are interesting, how plausible would a love vaccine really be? Moreover, would we want one? Tierney notes that a love stimulant could provoke feelings of lust for inappropriate objects of affection but fails to acknowledge that a love vaccine could have a parallel effect, making it difficult to form emotionally healthy bonds with the people we do care about, not to mention the potential for these kinds of drugs to become the next generation of roofies!

On a more philosophical note, although singles may sometimes love to hate love, I'd be curious to find out how many would actually want to eradicate romance. In an era in which more adults than ever before are single, are we as a society ready for romantic love to go the way of bustles and elbow-length gloves? Are the majority of singles reaching the conclusion that life is better without it? Or, on the other hand, if we had the option to help love along a bit, perhaps some of those very singles who seem the happiest in their solitude would be the first lining up for samples. One way or the other, it would be fascinating to see what the possibility of engineered love, if you will, would reveal to us about ourselves.

Do you like the idea of a love potion or a love vaccine? Would you use either? If so, in what circumstances? Do you have any ethical concerns about using such drugs? Do you think singles today are getting tired of romantic love, or do you think it's something most singles still want?

Fun Link of the Day

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have a rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a Singletude Q&A or your rant or rave in a Singletude Sound-off!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sherri Langburt of A Singletude Interview

Well, I'm back from the Mexican Caribbean and want to thank everyone who wished me a bon voyage! I only lost a few of my appendages to sharks but have all the rest intact, so I'd say I'm ahead of the game. ;)

Today Singletude presents our very first interview, with Sherri Langburt, founder of the singles lifestyle site (You can read my introductory comments on Single Edition here.) In the past year, Single Edition has emerged as one of the leading sources of information about all aspects of single living, and Sherri was kind enough to contribute her thoughts on undertaking such an influential web project, monitoring trends in the singles community, and living life to the utmost with or without a partner.

:, which you founded, is the first online singles lifestyle hub of its kind. What inspired you to embark on such a unique venture?

Sherri Langburt: A culmination of factors and realizations led me to launch The assumptions of people with whom I worked and of the companies where I worked about my life and relationships when I was single and the lack of support available to the singles consumer segment were primary drivers. Then came the day when I received a "join with your spouse and save" promotion from a local gym. That was the minute the decision was made.

S: What was your biggest challenge in getting Single Edition off the ground? What are your goals for the site now? Any new additions that we can look forward to?

SL: Finding a reliable and suitable technology partner was a struggle at the start, but we are very fortunate to have found a company on which we can depend. Since we are a new brand, our main focus is customer satisfaction, and that all begins with our product offering. In addition to editorial programming, we plan to add a comprehensive membership program which will give singles the discounts they deserve as well as other lifestyle support offerings. From a functional perspective, we plan to add message boards, user-generated reviews for products and places and more interactive features in the year to come.

Although you're now married, you've said that you were single for nearly two decades. How do you think the experience of being single has changed in that time?

SL: Nothing is too personal for the public. Sex and the City propagated a society of single bloggers, novelists, and public speakers, which has in turn eliminated many of the traditional stigmas of single living and brought many issues to light. I also believe that people are just beginning to embrace their independence--it's akin to the start of a liberating new movement. People are more comfortable dining out alone and are excited about solo travel, which was hardly the case during my single years.

We've reached a historical milestone at which single-headed households account for slightly more than half the U.S. population. In your opinion, are more of these singles solo by choice or due to an unprecedented difficulty finding the right partner? What reasons for remaining unattached are you hearing in the singles community?

SL: Whether by choice or circumstance, my opinion is that more singles are learning how to live and love on their own. And, it's becoming more acceptable to stay single longer. We are witnessing first-time marriages happening among people in their forties, which gives many the inspiration (and time!) to pursue their passions. Personal accomplishments and friendship clusters have never been stronger, to which our readers can attest, which gives many the confidence and support to remain unattached.

One of the things I like about Single Edition is that it features Q&As with a panel of expert advisers, so you must hear a lot about the concerns of today's singles. What do you think is the most common or distressing problem that singles currently face, and how can we work toward a solution?

SL: I am so glad you enjoy our featured expert's series. Our advisers address each question personally and try to deliver feedback that is not always available to singles. Based on the queries we have received to date, meeting new people and finding social activities is the number one concern among singles. Of course, many of our readers have expressed interest in recipes for one, a topic on which we continue to focus, as well as independent travel ideas, trips and tips.

You encourage singles to get out and be active in order to meet like-minded people. What would you say is the best venue for singles to connect with each other?

SL: For me, dining out alone is by far the best way to meet new people. Dinner alone is a great thing. Over the years I have learned that people are drawn to those who have the courage to go out alone. There is something intriguing about the independent spirit that makes people curious or compassionate and ultimately leads to new conversations and connections. And restaurants are increasingly catering to singles, with communal tables and full service bar areas that promote socializing.

S: Single Edition has a really neat section called "Just for One" that showcases single-sized products. As you know, it can be quite a feat for singles to find affordable products and services in our couples-oriented world of bulk groceries and family gym memberships. What tips for frugal living would you give to budget-conscious singles?

SL: We have come such a long way since coupon cutting, with so many helpful online resources that help you save money. Apartment swapping is a great way to save and still enjoy time off, while bartering/selling platforms are a worthwhile tool for singles that are willing to trade or sell stuff. I also believe that generic brands can be a fine and affordable solution, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals and food shopping.

S: What is your favorite book, magazine, movie, or other resource for or about singles?

SL: Many of the top culinary institutes offer courses specifically for singles that are fun and entertaining for cooking enthusiasts like myself. I must also confess that for me personally instant messaging technology has been a saving grace. We have become so accustomed to it as a means of communication, but it really makes it easier staying connected to family and friends.

S: As a successful web entrepreneur who got her start as a single, you must know firsthand that it can be daunting to launch a business by yourself. What advice do you have for other singles with dreams of self-employment or small business ownership?

SL: The most important lesson that I have learned is that there is always a "yes" after every "no." For every negative response there is always a person/company on the other end who simply did not "get it" or was not in a position to try to "get it." There is always another door to break down or window to crack--you just have to find the opening.

What did you enjoy most about being single? Are there any things you miss about the single life or wish you would've done while still on your own? What should all singles do at least once while they're not married?

SL: I am filled with wanderlust and simply loved taking trips to faraway and exotic places. Though I still travel, I have worked non-stop throughout my adult life and wish I would have taken some time off to travel the world and create the book I always wanted to write. Traveling alone to a foreign country is my recommended must-do before marriage.

Sherri Langburt is a lifestyle expert and founder of, which launched in December 2007 as a content-driven destination that embraces the culture of single living. Langburt has 14 years of new media and technology experience working for Fortune 100 firms such as Weight Watchers, Altria/Kraft, AIG, CSFB, and Nestle. She has been quoted and published in media outlets such as The New York Times, ReadersDigest, New York Magazine, Good Morning America Radio,, and more.

If you or someone you know is doing something of interest to the singles community and would like to be interviewed by Singletude, please send in your suggestion!

Fun Link of the Day

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have a rant or rave about singlehood?
Write in, and you just might see your question in a Singletude Q&A or your rant or rave in a Singletude Sound-off!