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 9, 2009

Singles in the News: 8/2/09-8/8/09

This was another fabulous week for "Singles in the News"! Once again, the media was abuzz with stories about singles. Read on for the latest!


"Malaysian Govt Seeks Cupid Services for Single Women"
Thaindian News
Summary: Malaysia wants to help its single moms become financially solvent and is on the right track with its entrepreneurship program for women. But now it also wants to encourage government-sponsored matchmaking. Is it a step forward or back for single women?

"Photo Gallery: Single Celebrity Working Women"
By Sabba Rahbar
Socialite Life
Summary: A collection of photos of unmarried female celebs is a tribute to Single Working Women's Week.

Singleschmucker Award
"Strong Families, Strong Nation"
By Esther Tyson
The Sunday Gleaner
Summary: In the hands-down winner of this week's Singleschmucker Award, a Jamaican principal blames single parenting for all her nation's woes, claiming, "There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage." According to her, most marriages end just because couples have grown bored of playing house, and the consequences to children are dire. For support, she cites an article from the popular media, Caitlin Flanagan's "Why Marriage Matters," published in Time, to claim that "in all cases, the kids living with both parents, drastically outperform the others." Too bad she didn't consult Dr. Bella DePaulo, who refuted Flanagan's pop science in the Huffington Post, before passing such harsh, unwarranted judgment on single parents. She also agrees with Flanagan's bizarre conclusion that divorce equals child abandonment. If, as the author says, Jamaican youth are riding a wave of high crime and academic failure, could it be that this is due to poverty and a poor educational system rather than their parents' marital status? Tyson doesn't admit to that possibility. She also doesn't seem to understand that marriage and parenting aren't synonymous. The answer to poor parenting is to promote good parenting skills, not date nights for parents.


"All Star Inn Rennovation Almost Finished"
By John Reynolds
The State Journal-Register
Summary: Springfield, IL welcomes a newly refurbished apartment complex for low-income singles. The 19-unit building includes a service center that will help residents get back on their feet.

"Happy and Single Step 1: Be Your Own Boyfriend"
By Kaneisha Grayson
Summary: Grayson's Golden Rule is "treat yourself like you want your partner to treat you." To that end, she lists three perfect ways to please yourself.

"Olympian's Mom to Make a Splash at Local Charity Event"
Rocky Mount Telegram
Summary: At a time when single parents are routinely demonized, it's refreshing to see an article about a single mom whose parenting success is unquestionable. Debbie Phelps, single mom to Olympic champ Michael Phelps, has just released a book and will be the guest speaker at an upcoming fundraiser for the Single Women in Mission Network (SWIM). The charity event will support SWIM's transitional housing for homeless single mothers.

"What If It's Not Raining Men?"
By Lee Drutman
Summary: Dr. Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan confirms the obvious: In geographical regions where males outnumber females, single men are less likely to settle down in their 20s. Where the opposite ratio occurs, they are, of course, more likely to marry. However, this principle only holds true until men hit 30, after which the majority start looking for long-term partners in earnest. Kruger proposes that this is because older men lose the physical attractiveness that would predispose single women to choose them for just casual sex. More interestingly, the article considers how sexual norms may be tied to disproportionate gender ratios and concludes that everything from the sexual revolution to the veneration of chivalry in the South arose from shortages in singles of one sex.


"Accidentally on Purpose: Unexpected-family Comedy"
By Sarah Jersild
Summary: A new sitcom on CBS will follow a single woman who gets pregnant after a one-night stand and elects to keep the baby.

"[Men] More Likely to Seek Help for Debt"
Summary: South African men are more likely than women to approach Consumer Assist, a debt counseling and management agency, but of the women who seek financial help, singles outnumber marrieds.

"Men Who Do the Housework Are More Likely to Get the Girl"
University of Oxford
Summary: A new study out of the UK suggests that--big surprise--women prefer to live with men who contribute their fair share to the household chores. Countries in which couples divvied up the housework had more couples living together, leading the researchers to conclude that unmarried women considering the transition to marriage or cohabitation are asking, "'Will I be better off?' Women in less egalitarian countries are saying no." The ambitious study followed 13,500 participants, ages 20-45, from 12 nations for a period of eight years. The most egalitarian countries with the highest rates of live-in lovers were Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the US. Japan, Germany, Austria, and Australia fared the worst.

"Rich Dad Hawaii Offers Opportunity to Attend Rich Woman Event for Free"
Summary: No, it's not some tawdry speed dating event for sugar mamas. It's a seminar that teaches single women how to become financially independent. The seminar is led by real estate millionaire Kim Kiyosaki, author of Rich Woman: A Book on Investing for Women. Five winners of an essay contest will be admitted free of charge.

"Sexy Bachelor Pad: Designing for the Single Male"
By Tisha Leung
Cool Hunting
Summary: What's cool about this article is that it showcases an interior design firm that specializes in working with single men who want to spruce up their bachelor pads from college cheap to professional chic. The firm caters to single guys who don't have the time, desire, or artistic sensibility to pick out color schemes, curtains, and lighting fixtures. What's not as cool is that it supposes single men only want high-end digs to attract prospective partners. Isn't it okay for a guy to want to live in the lap of luxury by himself?


"Bittersweet Secular Wedding Ceremony on Jewish Day of Love"
By Xu Gang and Deng Yushan
China View
You may want to think twice about living in Israel if you're a Jewish single. Unless you can prove you're Jewish, the state might not let you marry legally. It happened to this couple.

"Blog Details Shooter's Frustration"
By Sean D. Hamill
The New York Times
Summary: On Aug. 4, 2009, a single, 48-year-old man named George Sodini walked into a women's aerobics class, turned the lights off, and opened fire with a semi-automatic, killing three and wounding nine before taking his own life. His blog reveals that he pinned all his hopes on finding a mate and, when that didn't happen, nursed a growing resentment toward women. The gunman said, "A man needs a woman for confidence. He gets a boost on the job, career, with other men, and everywhere else when he knows inside he has someone to spend the night with and who is also a friend." This tragic story is a perfect example of what can happen when a single person puts too much stock in matrimaniacal values and fails to develop a sense of singletude. Our society isn't blameless, either. Although nothing justifies Sodini's violent actions, his observations about singlism are accurate. It's unforgivable that Americans contribute to the loneliness, self-doubt, and depression that some singles face by continuing to reward only those in relationships.

"Dating: A Competitive Sport?"
By Katie Freeman
Elk Grove Citizen
Summary: The columnist ponders what reality dating shows teach young singles about picking partners.

"Keith Olbermann: Follows the Money in Healthcare Hang-ups"
By Josie Brown
Summary: This fall, Congress will vote on single-payer health care. Find out why a single-payer system is better for singles and everyone else, too. Then, find out how you can voice your opinion to your representative!

"Kudos to Women But Low Birth Rate Worries PM"
By Lee Hui Chieh
asiaone news
Summary: The prime minister of Singapore congratulates single women on their career advancement but worries that the corresponding decline in marriage and the birth rate will drastically reduce the country's population.

"Perpetually Single People Want What They Can't Get"
By Carolyn Bushong
Summary: Self-help author and professional counselor Carolyn Bushong says that too many singles are searching for partners who are out of their league. Her prescription for relationship success is to find someone who's your equal in every way. I wonder if she's ever heard of social exchange theory, which explains such iconic pairings as the Playboy bunny and the rich old-timer, the brainiac and the jock, and the artist and the muse as trade-offs in which one person fulfills a need that the other has. None of us is a 10 in every category, and it would be extremely difficult to match another person exactly on every measure, so many relationships involve give and take. Moreover, we tread in dangerous territory when we start rating ourselves and others as "better" or "lesser" catches. In dating, one man's Lady Macbeth, the woman scorned, is another man's Juliet.

Singles With Singletude Award
"Single and Running Out of Time to Have Children"
By Rachel Lehmann-Haupt
The Times
Summary: A 39-year-old single woman from New York recounts how a failed relationship forced her to confront the social pressure to raise a child within the confines of marriage. In this clear-eyed article, she wrestles with the unrealistic demand that singles "have it all" by 35, explores the many reproductive options available to single women, and refuses to believe that married women have it any easier. Through it all, she learns to respect and remain open to familial arrangements that defy the norm. In conclusion, she says, "I have discovered that women think about family in fundamentally different ways. Some see it through the lens of biology and genetics, and others see it through the lens of socially constructed patterns and taboos...As I've worked toward figuring out my own life, I've tried on all sorts of potential scenarios for size: single motherhood, co-parenting with a friend, adoption, and yes, even settling for something less than perfect love...I hope my experiences and my research will provide insight for others into how some of these different choices look and feel." Lehmann-Haupt's willingness to embrace a variety of paths to motherhood coupled with her rejection of matrimania earn this article the Singles With Singletude Award.


"Getting Naked, Getting Nervous?"
By Rita Charleston
The Jewish Exponent
Summary: Author Judith Sills talks about her new book, Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You've Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped or Distracted. The self-explanatory title makes it almost unnecessary to say that Sills writes about how to overcome the contemporary challenges facing singles dating at older ages, often after periods of long-term monogamy or celibacy.


"America's New Single Girl: In No Rush to Marry"
By Courtney Bee
The author speaks out in support of singles who put themselves first and marriage second.

"Friends With Benefits: A Primer"
By Tania Boghossian
Summary: FWB arrangements continue to spark unanswerable questions and debate.


"Balkans: Civil Society Plays Matchmaker"
By Vesna Peric Zimonjic
Summary: Mass emigration has left the Serbian single population unbalanced, males outnumbering females. In response, matchmaking organizations have sprung up to import single women from surrounding countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Albania. However, not everyone is eager to marry. Breaking with tradition, more Serbian singles are deciding that they "simply do not want to share their life--and income." Of course, a psychologist chimes in to explain why shunning marriage and child rearing is supposedly a poor decision.

"What Makes Short Men Attractive?"
By Alisa Chagnon
Summary: The results of a poll of 150 single women shows that a man's personality is more important than his height.

"The Women Behind 'Mad Men'"
By Amy Chozick
The Wall Street Journal
Summary: The WSJ goes behind the scenes to cover the making of Mad Men, an AMC original TV series that examines the complexity of gender relations and the repressive traditional family structure in the 1960s.

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

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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!


Anonymous said...

Onely is all in admiration of how you assemble these great stories! Thanks.

Special K said...

I second that! You are very well read...and some of these ARE FUNNY! Do the laundry, get laid...wise, wise, advice.

April said...

I don't know how you do it either, but I have one for you for next time:

Clever Elsie said...

Everyone: Thanks for the positive feedback! So happy you're enjoying "Singles in the News"! When I started, I didn't know if everyone would be interested in these headlines, but traffic is always up on "Singles in the News" days, so it's really encouraging.

April: Thanks for the suggestion! Generally, I just include the past week's news in the digest, but that's a really good article, and I'm bookmarking it so I can use it for a future blog post on single parents. Thanks again!

bobbyboy said...

"Photo Gallery: Single Celebrity Working Women"
By Sabba Rahbar
Socialite Life
Summary: A collection of photos of unmarried female celebs is a tribute to Single Working Women's Week.

This is a step in the right direction :)

"Happy and Single Step 1: Be Your Own Boyfriend"
By Kaneisha Grayson

I kind of chuckled with a glance at her 3 things, but in reality I agree that one should treat themselves to the enjoyments of having a partner even if they don't.

"Men Who Do the Housework Are More Likely to Get the Girl"
University of Oxford

I should never have a problem then ;)

"Blog Details Shooter's Frustration"
By Sean D. Hamill
The New York Times

I felt a bit sick as well as sad about this one :(

"Friends With Benefits: A Primer"
By Tania Boghossian

Becoming more and more the norm! Maybe it should?

Clever Elsie said...

Bobby: Re. "Single Celebrity Working Women": I agree. To tell you the truth, this was the first I'd heard that it was Single Working Women's Week! Now one of these days, maybe they'll feature women who actually work for a living, like Nancy Pelosi or Sonia Sotomayor, instead of movie stars. :)

Re. "Be Your Own Boyfriend": Absolutely! I loved that she promoted going out alone. So many singles quake at the idea, but it's actually really relaxing and gives you a chance to process your own reactions to things without someone else influencing you. Or so I find.

Re. "Friends With Benefits": Personally, I'm not a big fan of FWB relationships. I think they become problematic about 75% of the time. The article certainly raised some good questions about them. Since FWBs are a relatively new phenomenon, I think it's going to take time for us to find the answers. We don't really have the collective wisdom yet to know how to handle them.