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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Singles in the News: 9/20/09-9/26/09

Better late than never! Here's the recap of relevant stories from National Singles Week! Strangely enough, even though this week-long observation of the achievements and challenges of single people received full coverage in the blogosphere, it was largely ignored by the mainstream media, with very few articles referencing it. While there were lots of pieces about singles, almost none had anything to do with discrimination against singles, relevant research and statistics, or trends that empower the single population. The hottest topic last week seemed to be cougars, a theme that is starting to wear out its welcome. It was unclear whether National Singles Week was simply flying below the media radar or whether it was intentionally overlooked, but it's obvious that we need to redouble our efforts to popularize it next year, perhaps by gearing up for it well before September.

In other news, my flu-like symptoms have almost cleared up, and although I remain affected by a more chronic problem, I think I've adapted to it well enough that there shouldn't be any further disruptions in the Singletude schedule. Thank you to everyone for your patience!


"To Get a Job, Married Chinese Women Pose as 'Singles'"
By Venkatesan Vembu
Summary: In a surprising case of reverse discrimination, employers in China, reluctant to hire workers with outside commitments, have provoked married women to misrepresent themselves as single.


"Half of Single Americans Prefer a Partner Over Staying Solo, According to New Survey From People Media"
SOA World Magazine
Summary: While it's true that 52% of the 27,000 singles polled by People Media, Inc. responded that they definitely weren't single by choice, they barely edged out the 48% who were happy to provide reasons they liked being footloose and fancy-free. The article itself admits that this is "an almost equal number." So it's interesting that the headline focuses on those who didn't like the single life instead of those who did. It's also interesting that the singles polled were visitors at niche dating sites owned by People Media, so this survey was already skewed toward a population of relationship seekers. Yet the unnamed author acts like this was a random sample! Of the 48% who endorsed reasons why they liked being singletons, the most popular answer by far was "the freedom to spend my time as I choose."

"Online: Separating the Women from the Moms"
By Sarah Mahoney
MediaPost News
Summary: A marketing study has found that single women and mothers have very different shopping habits. Moms are more likely than child-free singles to take advantage of coupons and samples and to solicit contact from companies whose products they like. Single females, on the other hand, are slightly more likely to trust blog reviews even though they're less likely to blog themselves or frequent social networking sites.


"How Many Coffee Dates Does It Take to Find the One?"
By Heather Sellers
Summary: This isn't your typical clownish story about first date nightmares. This is an elegant, lyrical piece by a writer who calls herself "the first Match divorce," a meditation on the culture of online dating after middle age, the readjustment of a divorcee in a married social circle, and the line between desire and desperation. It also turns the smug married stereotype on its head, presenting us with a single woman who is more dissatisfied with her singleness than her coupled acquaintances assume: "My friends," Sellers says, "think I am so happy alone and I will not admit it."

"Most Matchmaker Users Driven by Search for Perfect Partner"
The Chosun Ilbo
Summary: A Korean matchmaking agency surveyed 116 single clients, and the majority (44.8%) said they turned to a matchmaker "because they believe it can find them good matches." The second most common attraction to matchmaking (22.4%) was "the frequency of dates the service provides." A lack of opportunity to meet eligible singles was the most popular explanation given for why respondents were unattached (48.3%), while 21.6% were "too busy with work," which is apparently a growing problem for overstressed young employees in Korea.

"Please, Don't Call Yourself a 'Cougar'"
By Monica Hesse and Ellen McCarthy
The Washington Post
Summary: Mrow! Hesse and McCarthy hate the term "cougar" and want the whole world to know about it. Join them for a transcript of their crusade for a more dignified term.

"Sailing Club Brings Older Singles Together"
By Fred W. Wright, Jr.
St. Petersburg Times
Summary: Surely you've heard of speed dating, matchmaking, Meetups, and a host of other events with an eye to pairing people up. But these singles have found a different way to sail off into the sunset--literally.

Singles With Singletude Award
"Sewer Nightmare Serves as Homebuyer Warning"
By Peggy Bunker
Fox 31
Summary: This cautionary report investigates ways in which single female homeowners may be ripped off by sellers or laborers. A divorced woman and first-time homeowner who unknowingly purchased a house with major plumbing issues is interviewed. Single women are encouraged to do their homework regarding pre-sale home inspections and market rates for labor services. A video clip is included. This news segment wins the Singles With Singletude Award because it addresses a scam that I haven't seen publicized before, one that specifically targets single women, and I think that's important.

"Will Hollywood Be Nice to 'Cougar Town'?"
By Jane Ganahl
Summary: Singles author Ganahl analyzes how Tinsel Town has portrayed cougar relationships over the years.


"1,000 Homeless Families in Coventry"
Coventry Telegraph
By Les Reid
Summary: When funding is scarce, British singles bear the brunt of cuts in services for the homeless.

Singleschmucker Award
"Sharon Owens: Why Do Those Feckless Single Parents Get So Many Benefits?"
By Sharon Owens
Belfast Telegraph
Summary: I'm no expert on the welfare system in the U.K. and can't verify whether or not young single women there are purposely getting pregnant in droves to access government subsidies. However, it's clear that Owens demonizes single mothers, painting a picture of their offspring as mentally ill, drug-addicted, promiscuous ne'er-do-wells destined to repeat their parents' fate. If the British studies she holds up as "proof" are at all similar to the American ones, then they're unreliable because they can't separate the effects of divorce from the effects of a childhood reared in an unhappy, unstable home. They also confuse single-parent homes with step-family homes (another situation entirely) and single moms with young and low-income moms. (How much lower is child mortality in true single-parent households as opposed to blended family homes? How much more likely are babies to die in infancy when born to single moms who aren't teenagers living in poverty?) Apparently, Owens has fallen for the myth of the magical power of marriage, not considering that the absentee fathers she idealizes may have done far more damage to their children had they stayed. Though Owens protests that she's "not rushing to judge single parents or, indeed, the children of single parents," those prove to be empty words as she transfers the self-professed stigma and embarrassment she experienced as a child of divorce to today's generation. Luckily, in the 21st century, being the son or daughter of a single parent is, rightly, nothing to be embarrassed about.

"When Single Women Turn 50, Cats and Pounds at the Door"
By Paula Voorhees
The Explorer
Summary: You will wonder if Voorhees is joking as she drags out every stereotype of the older single woman--out of shape, overrun with felines, living at home with mom...oh, yeah, and a shopaholic. She's not. Somehow, all this leads to is a story about flatulence at the gym, in which the writer attempts to regain the humor she forfeited in the intro. Hey, if you want to write a story about the travails of working out, write about the travails of working out. Don't use that as an excuse to take a cheap shot at single women. Voorhees may think she's funny, but instead she's full of hot air.


"Divorce in America: Ind., Fla. Counties Are Tops"
By Tamara Lush and Deanna Martin
Associated Press
Summary: We hear a lot about locations that attract never-married singles, but what about the areas that draw the divorced? It turns out that Wayne County in Indiana has the highest percentage of divorced citizens in the nation (19%), but a close second is Monroe County in Florida, in which 18% of residents have severed the ball and chain. Contrast this with a national divorce rate of 10.7% of the population. Both Indiana and Florida seem like magnets for divorcees; both states have multiple counties ranking in the top 10. Unfortunately, instead of sticking to the facts, the article deteriorates into a platform for the National Marriage Project.

"Lost in Tualatin, Suicide on His Mind"
By Jill Rehkopf Smith
The Oregonian
Summary: An Oregon community responds to the plight of homeless single men, spearheaded by a man who almost turned to suicide after his marriage ended. There are not yet any shelters in the region for single people.

"Rise in Single Living Changes UK Homes Market"
Summary: The USA isn't the only country seeing a surge in single homebuyers. The U.K. anticipates a 54% increase in singles living alone by 2026. But whereas women are the fastest growing segment of single homebuyers in America, it's single men who are most likely to nest by themselves in Great Britain.

"Smart Women Make Wise Investment Choices"
By Ian Freskos
Lumina News
Summary: A whopping 90% of women will be responsible for their own (or their family's) finances at some point in their lives. If it sounds implausible, remember that many married women will be divorced or widowed before the end of life. This article advocates sound financial strategies such as taking advantage of IRAs, investing, and saving early for retirement. Single men, all this applies to you, too.


"Single in the 'seo? Not a Problem"
By Michelle Fevola
The Lamron
Summary: A college student advises her classmates to stay single.

"The Truth About Dating: Perpetuating Stereotypes?"
By Steve Penner
Summary: A dating coach explains that it's not his fault if singles really do react to each other in stereotypical ways. Besides, by drawing attention to unproductive behavioral patterns, he hopes to encourage people to break out of them. Or so he says with a wink and a smug grin. Perhaps it hasn't occurred to him that the kinds of singles who seek out dating coaches may be a little different than the general population. Just sayin'.


"A Stylish Sunday with Candace Bushnell"
By Carissa Chesanek
Summary: A review of Candace Bushnell's appearance at a Connecticut country club reveals her inspiration for Sex and the City and the true identity of Mr. Big.

"Choosing Hope: Life Choices Celebrates 30 Years"
By Hope Young
Summary: A pregnancy resource center provides single moms with health care, discount items, and parenting education. The director's one misstep is that she seems to think single women only ever choose abortion because of financial limitations.

"Female Cougars Are on the Prowl. Or Are They Just a Male Fantasy?"
By Paul Harris and Anushka Asthana
The Observer
Summary: Another article examines portrayals of cougars in the media and the negative critical reaction to the new TV series Cougar Town as well as to the term "cougar" in general.

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

Want to stay current on changes in the world that impact singles? Read the latest news about singles every day! Check out the Singletude newsreader under Singles in the News on the homepage!

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have an unpublished 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"! Singletude makes every effort to republish submissions in their original form but reserves the right to edit your submission for length and clarity.


The Singlutionary said...

I read the article about female home buyers. I was a relator before the market went down and I still hold a license in my state. That woman's relator was an idiot. If a home inspection was done, that would have come up right away. It was negligence on so many people's parts that this happened. Plus, the previous homeowners must have known about the problem and it is their obligation under law to disclose that situation.

I do appreciate that story but I just want any single women interested in buying a home to not feel MORE intimidated by that story. Buying a home is an intimidating process for pretty much everyone but you do not have to get screwed.

Simply INSIST on a home inspection and read the whole dang report (if your realtor resists you getting a home inspection get a new realtor). A good inspection will test all the major systems including the plumbing and it will all be written out for you on a form. Unfortunately, this is something that the buyer needs to pay for (you want the inspector working for YOU, not for the seller it costs about $300 in my area) but it is also an inventory of every little imperfection about your house. Some of the stuff is simple and not necessary to fix right away and some of it is bigger. Take the big things back to the table and negotiate with them. You don't even have to say "I want x dollars off for this problem and y dollars off for that one". You can just begin with "I got the inspection report back and so I'm offering an ammended contract with X $$ as the sales price."

Also, it never hurts to take a piss in the house you're about to buy to check the plumbing. (Bring TP with you though!) Then wash your hands in the sink to check out the water pressure. Unless the water is shut off of course (as would be the case with some foreclosure or vacant winterized properties).

Clever Elsie said...

Singlutionary: Thanks for taking the time to educate single homebuyers about what to expect and how to competently handle inspections and negotiations. :) It's such a boon to have a licensed realtor reading and commenting here!

I hope the article won't discourage any single women from becoming homeowners but rather alert them to possible scams and ways to avoid them. Knowledge is power and all that. :)

Thanks again for providing more extensive info!