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.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Singles in the News: 7/26/09-8/1/09

This was such a fantastic week for "Singles in the News" that I worked on this digest until the eleventh hour! There are lots of meaty topics to be explored, so jump right in!


"Best Cities for Singles 2009"
By Lauren Sherman
It's that time of year again--time for Forbes' annual Best Cities for Singles list. This year, New York has reclaimed its throne despite its particularly miserable financial figures in the past 12 months. However, its nebulous "coolness" factor and active online daters propelled it to the top, with strong scores for nightlife, culture, and number of singles boosting it to a solid first-place finish. Boston trails the reigning champ, mainly on the strength of its culture and singles population, and Chicago rounds out the top three, scoring big points for its online daters. Seattle, Washington, DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee (a surprise newcomer to the top 10), and Philadelphia complete the elite of singles-friendly cities. Dallas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and Phoenix, which all had strong showings last year, have fallen out of favor, and poor Jacksonville still sits dead last. Of course, how much we can infer from this "study" is questionable to begin with. But if clubs, theatre, online dating, and that certain je ne sais quoi float your boat, you may want to pay attention to this list.

"Why Is Development Work So Straight?"
Institute of Development Studies
Summary: Great Britain's Institute of Development Studies (IDS) reports on its recent workshop addressing heteronormativity in its many facets. More questions are raised than answered, but that appears to be a start for the IDS. Division of labor, alternative family arrangements, singlism, and LGBT rights are some of the issues raised.

Singleschmucker Award
"Why People Get Married"
By Samantha Brett
Summary: I knew it couldn't be good when the article opened with "Something snaps inside single women when they hit 30, actually more like chimes. Like church bells..." I wasn't disappointed. Over the next few paragraphs, I was assured that a) my solo social life is "boring," "immature," and "pointless," b) I am lusting after blood diamonds and Vera Wang, and c) I must be doing something wrong since I'm still prince-less with my biological clock about to chime midnight. The subject of this article is supposed to be why we get married, and the Australian columnist arbitrarily suggests that turning 30 might be the magic factor. Thankfully, her readers actually invested some thought in the question, although most of the men quoted spout stereotypically cynical plums, while the women are all sap and saccharine. (One smug married even boasts that she suffered through the ceremony so her love could inspire her single friends! To give her high-end gifts, I suppose.) About three quarters of the way through the article, a survey pops up to inform us that Australians marry for happy, pre-approved reasons like love, companionship, and the demonstration of commitment. At least Brett throws singles a bone at the end, quoting a reader who says, "I don't believe you need a piece of 'legal' paper to keep a couple together." Still, one line can't save this article from...the Singleschmucker! Dum dum dum!


"Cancer Group Bids for Younger Demographic"
By Jennifer Gibson
Athens Banner-Herald
Summary: The American Cancer Society of Athens, GA is luring young singles to its latest fundraiser by auctioning off 29 eligible bachelors, ages 23-56. The single men, who range from a firefighter to a banker to a county commissioner, will take their high bidders out, all expenses paid, for fun activities such as dinner, kayaking, and wine tasting. The goal is to raise $5,000 and attract more single volunteers in their 20s and 30s.

"FP Financial Services Recognized by Leading Financial Advice Industry Media as a Top Wealth Management Firm"
By Danielle Ackerman
PR Newswire
Summary: Wealth Manager and Financial Advisor have both named FP Financial Services, Inc. a top provider of wealth management services. Why is this news on Singletude? Because this Illinois firm specializes in financial planning for singles.

"'More to Love,' Not Worth the Weight"
By Tom Conroy
Media Life
Summary: This review of More to Love, the new reality dating show for plus-size singles, questions the producers' motives. Are they really trying to prove that all people are worthy of love or cash in on stereotypes of overweight single women as no-life losers?


"How Do Canadian Men Define Infidelity?"
CNR Group
Summary: This press release for, which sounds like the Canadian version of AskMen, details a poll of 489 Canadian men, who responded to questions about what constitutes infidelity and whether they had ever been unfaithful. More than half the respondents drew the line at physical contact, while less than half thought cheating extended to hands-off pleasures like flirting, viewing porn, and attending strip clubs. Slightly over 50% of those surveyed reported that they had been unfaithful by their own definitions. Interestingly, married men had looser definitions of infidelity than single men did.

"How to Be Single in a Couples' World"
By Jennifer Benjamin
San Francisco Chronicle
Summary: This pro-singles article drops a few tips for getting in the right mindset for the single life after a break-up. There's nothing really fresh here, but you may want to check it out for a little pep talk if you're not happy about being single. (Anyone? Anyone?)

"Is There Even ONE Straight, Kind, Solvent Man in His 40s Left in Britain?"
By Anna Pasternak
The Daily Mail
Summary: The single British 40-something author complains that more and more English chaps her age just wanna have fun, and those who claim to be serious about settling down raise the bar so high that only Liz Hurley could meet it. This is a difficult article to review evenhandedly because although it's predicated on singlist assumptions about everything from why men remain single to the glorification of marriage in the States, it also takes issue with the very real phenomenon of predatory dating, which, I hate to break it to Pasternak, isn't confined to the British Isles. Unfortunately, Pasternak doesn't seem aware that there are lots of reasons men choose to be single other than unquenchable lust, immaturity, or stratospheric standards. However, I appreciate her point that there is a growing segment of the population that takes advantage of its single status to toy with, mislead, and sexually prey on those who are looking for relationships. (Whether the predators are most often male and their prey female may vary depending on whether you ask a man or a woman, though.) Singletude supports the single life and those who live it but also proposes that those who date should date responsibly, with regard for the feelings of all those involved. In other words, dates should be treated like people, not disposable items in a catalog. Because Pasternak calls irresponsible daters on their behavior, I'll let her off easy on the singlist comments, which I found more sad than offensive.

Singles With Singletude Award
"Newsweek's Misleading Account of Latest Marriage Study"
By Bella DePaulo
Huffington Post
Summary: I caught the tail end of CBS's coverage of this report and immediately headed to their web site to find out which latest study they had twisted into headlines of "Married Couples Healthier Than Singles." To my surprise, the report was nowhere to be found on the site, and I did conduct a pretty thorough search. So I was relieved when it surfaced a day or so later with the incomparable DePaulo at the ready to refute it. The bottom line is that the study looked at four different measures of health, and on all four measures, singles outranked the divorced and the widowed, and single women scored as well as married women. With the men factored in, singles lagged behind marrieds a bit on three measures but ranked the same on the fourth. In addition, for married men, there was an inverse correlation between number of years married and health scores; the longer they had been married, the more their health deteriorated. The truth is that without DePaulo's incisive commentary, most of us would probably just be nodding our heads blankly at the TV, absorbing whatever lies about singles the media cared to serve us. Due to her consistent effort to debunk falsified claims from the pro-marriage crowd, the word is out that marriage is not a miracle cure and singlehood isn't second best. It was only a matter of time before one of her articles won the Singles With Singletude Award, and today is that day.

"Single Women, Listen Up! You Have the Most to Lose in the Single Payer Healthcare Debate"
Summary: Horrifyingly, 49% of single women in America are uninsured. This article will slap you with some other hard facts, too: in many states, single women are forced to pay higher premiums than men of the same age and health status, and lots of plans don't provide maternity coverage, bankrupting pregnant single women at the very time they most need the money. Here you'll find an extensive analysis of the Blue Dogs who oppose Obama's public health option as well as a video from Heal Health Care Now, a physician organization dedicated to health care reform. But, disappointingly, SingleMindedWomen never really explains why a single-payer system is the best option. For that, Singletude urges you to visit the Blog.

"Take the Single Guy's Pledge"
By Phil Amylon
Summary: The pledge would be cute and worth taking if it weren't so misogynistic.


"China Sees 13 Million Abortions Annually, Most Done on Young Single Women"
By Steven Ertelt
Summary: In the U.S., pro-choicers and pro-lifers spend so much time debating that we forget to be thankful that debate is even an option here. In China, 13 million abortions are performed every year, and 62% of the women who undergo them are single. One wonders how many of those women would've chosen to keep their babies in an environment more hospitable to single mothers...and how many would never have ended up having to make such a choice if China provided better sex education and access to contraceptives.

"Do Single Women Like Taken Men?"
By Emma-Kate Dobbin
Summary: The author's answer is yes, but not for the reason you might expect.

"Ladies Motorbike Rally for a Noble Cause"
Summary: The Napalese organization Women for Human Rights has come up with a creative way to raise support for a single women's homeless shelter--a motorcycle race for biker chicks! Gnarly!

"The New Face of Home Caregivers"
By Akiko Kashiwagi
The Japan Times
Falling Japanese marriage and birth rates add up to more single men abandoning the workforce to become primary caregivers to their elderly parents.

"Suit to Stop Upper West Side Special Needs Housing Dismissed"
By Christine Lin
The Epoch Times
Summary: A neighborhood organization in New York City has failed to stop construction of supportive housing for mentally ill singles.


"Health Insurance Reform: Feast or Famine"
By Patrick Glenn
Summary: The article critiques mandated health coverage, which stands to hurt young singles the most. Again, this is why Singletude supports a true single-payer system for all. No one in this country should be paying premiums for health care, period.

"SWWAN, Inc. and the SWWAN Foundation Announce the First of Their Annual Women's Empowerment Conference"
Newswire Today
Summary: (Really itching to fix the grammatical error in that title! Fighting it, fighting it!) The Single Working Women's Affiliate Network (SWWAN) invites members and non-members alike to attend their annual teleconference, Secrets You Wish Your Mom Told You, conveniently accessible by computer or phone. Of course, in my opinion, half the fun of a conference is meeting new people, so watching from home sort of defeats the purpose.

"Set Up Condom Vending Machines"
By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Trinidad & Tobago's Newsday
Summary: Trinidad and Tobago's National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) wants to increase HIV awareness and condom use among young singles. Most single men in this Caribbean island nation don't understand the value of condoms and don't use them. Even more shockingly to those brought up in American culture, this study of sexual customs found that the single youth of Trinidad and Tobago view sex as primarily a transaction for which some kind of payment should always be made.

"Sperm Bank Rejects Single Women"
By Cai Wenjun
Shanghai Daily
Summary: So now we find out why so many single Chinese women are aborting their babies. Apparently, single mothers are fined for giving birth. So it should go without saying that despite its looming population crisis, China will not allow elective single mothers to be impregnated by sperm donors. That would create "social problems," says Dr. Li Zheng of Renji Hospital.


"AMA Head Dr. Andrew Pesce in IVF Row"
By Eleni Hale
Herald Sun
Summary: Angry Australians are already calling for the resignation of the new president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) after he argued that single women and same-sex couples shouldn't have access to reproductive assistance because it's contrary to the "natural order." He has since retracted his statement.

"Singles Ministries Cut Back"
By Jennifer Garza
Sacramento Bee
Even as the singles population has exploded, churches in the Sacramento, CA area are ending their singles programs. Church leaders contend that singles groups facilitate a church pick-up scene, while singles express disappointment and head for other churches.

Do you have thoughts on any of the stories above? (When commenting, please reference the title of the article.)

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!


The Singlutionary said...

Ahhhhhh. A refreshing reminder that single people are being talked about (for better or for worse). I wish wish wish I had the time to read all these goodies but I love love love that you put them all here for me to peruse.

Rachel AB said...

Thanks for this list!!! I found especially encouraging the inward look of IDS - what a concept to look at the influence of heteronormativity on development work! I think that's a great sign of progress: Other family forms, including being single, are beginning to be recognized...

Anonymous said...

the best cities for singles list is such a crock! Boston is horrible for singles, there's just a lot of us because of all the schools. No one ever talks to strangers or anything. My friend who just recently moved here was just complaining about how weird Boston is in terms of meeting people- you go to a party, have a conversation with someone, but never speak with them again. That's the way it is here. Incredibly difficult to make friends, incredibly difficult to get dates. Nobody in Boston ever wants to appear as if they need new friends or they need a date. Everyone tries to pretend they've already got it all going on. People judge you immediately in Boston too.

bobbyboy said...

"Best Cities for Singles 2009"
By Lauren Sherman.
The first one caught my eye right away as I remember seeing something on TV a while back with, "The best cities to..." but don't remember seeing one like this for singles.

"Why People Get Married"
By Samantha Brett.
Simply LOVE your summary Elsie!

"How Do Canadian Men Define Infidelity?"
CNR Group.
I'm going to make a wild guess here that men are men and probably define infidelity in a very similar way (in general I mean).

Yet another great job Elsie!

Special K said...

I love the over 30 article...what a little hoot. Why isn't there an article for "why every single woman should have a one night stand?"

Clever Elsie said...

Singlutionary: There's definitely been a lot of singles buzz in the past few weeks--more so than usual! Part of the reason I started summarizing these stories was so that people who didn't have time to search out and read everything in full would have a way to just skim and get a general sense of what's going on in the world that impacts singles. Please feel free to read as much or as little as you want or have time for. :) And, as always, thanks for your support!

Rachel: You're very welcome, and I agree about the IDS workshop. Now why can't we have similar discussions here in the States, I wonder?

Anonymous: Hi! Thanks for stopping by if you're new to Singletude. I agree that the methods used to rank Forbes' best cities for singles are flawed. Actually, we had a discussion about that in last year's response to Forbes Best Cities for Singles 2008. But, also, I think it's the norm for singles everywhere to feel like their own cities don't measure up, to ask, "If my city is so great for singles, why am I still single?" Personally, I had to chuckle when I read that New York was back at #1. All I ever hear from New Yorkers is how brutal the dating scene is, and I'd have to agree with that from my own experience. But, then, I've heard the same complaints from residents of Boston, Seattle, D.C., San Fran...

Anyway, thanks for commenting, and you're always welcome to do so again, but I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the Singletude Guidelines require commenters to sign their comments. No personally identifiable information is needed, of course, just a handle of your choice.

Bobby: Yeah, I'm not sure how long Forbes has been compiling that list. I know it's been around since at least 2007, quite possibly longer.

Thanks for the positive feedback on my summary of "Why People Get Married"!

Ha ha! I had the same thought when I read the title of that article: So Canadian men are supposed to be a special breed?

Special K: Heh, good question! Come to think of it, there're plenty of articles encouraging men to do just that, but I don't think I've ever seen an article like that directed at women. Makes me wonder what the reaction would be if someone submitted something like that to a women's magazine or web site.