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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stats on Singles from the U.S. Census Bureau: 2009 American Community Survey

It's that time of decade! The U.S. Census Bureau has released its 2009 results (which actually cover 2006-2008) from the American Community Survey. Since the media has not yet had a chance to digest the findings as they apply to singles, Singletude will just be reporting the preliminaries today, but they're significant in and of themselves.

Check this out! Since 2008, marrieds now account for just 50.2% of the population! Yep, they are just barely squeezing by us singles by the skin of their pre-wedding bleached teeth. (Taking bets now that they won't be able to hang on to the top spot next time.) And it keeps getting better, especially for the single ladies. Although single men are still a slight minority, accounting for 47.8% of the population, single women really do rule, comprising 51.8% of the population! How exciting is that?

To be fair, the stats tell a different story if you eliminate the youngest age category, "15 to 19 years." Less than 2% of this group is married, probably because, gee, I dunno, singles under 18 aren't even adults. I wish they would change this category to "18 to 24 years" to reflect the decisions of able-bodied adults, not kids who can't even legally vote. But they can legally marry, even if most aren't socially or financially free to do so outside of TV dramas on the CW.

However, although marriage increases markedly with age so that marrieds are in the majority by the time they hit 35, among adults ages 20-34, single living is by far the norm with 67.1% of the men and 60.1% of the women unmarried. This reflects the rising median age of first marriage, now 28 years for men and 26.2 years for women.

Once Americans start turning 35, the lives of men and women diverge markedly. Men ages 35-44 start to marry in earnest (63.4%), a figure which continues to climb to 72.2% of those aged 55-64 before tapering off slightly to 71.4% as the men enter their golden years. For women, marriage reaches a peak by the time they're 35-44 (63.8%) and decreases gradually thereafter, dropping sharply to 40.2% once they turn 65.

African-Americans are the ethnic group most likely to be single (69.6%), while Asian-Americans are least likely (40.4%).

Despite that married workers still earn more on the dollar than singles do and get more benefits at work, they're also just a slim majority. Currently, 43.4% of male employees and 49.9% of female employees are single.

Wanna know what your neighbors are up to behind closed doors? More than one in four (27.8%) are living alone. Even more amazingly, married-couple households now account for just 49.2% of all households! That means since the last American Community Survey, the percentage of single-headed households has risen from 50.3% to 50.8%! Meanwhile, Washington, DC may be claiming the prize for the highest percentage of singles, but Gainesville, FL actually wins the crown. It has more unmarried households relative to its size, equaling 69.5%.

There were some disturbing findings, too. Those living in "nonfamily households" (because only married couples and their kids are families, you know) were far more likely than marrieds to live in poverty. A whole 14.2% of nonfamily households had a total income of $10,000 or less as opposed to just 1.4% of married-couple households. Single, childless females were more likely than any other demographic--even single mothers--to be living under the poverty line. Frighteningly, 40.7% of the unmarried and childless earned less than $25,000, which, realistically, is the minimum most people need to survive. Of the married couples, only 8.6% were in these low-income brackets. On the other end of the scale, 14.4% of married couples raked in over $150,000 in 2008. How many singles do you suppose made that much? Answer: 3.2%. Talk about a two-income trap!

So maybe that's not a surprise, but how about this? Everyone assumes married couples are the backbone of the nation, the dependable worker bees who ensure the Dow Jones goes up, up, and away. Well, that's partly true--for the men. About 76.7% of married men participate in the labor force as opposed to about 56.7% of men who are never married, separated, or divorced. But just 61.6% of married women do the same versus 68.4% of always-single, separated, or divorced women. Looks like the single gals are far more productive than their homebody married sisters! So why is it again that so many single women live under the poverty line? Oh, that's right! Their employers don't think their hard work is worth a living wage. It would've been nice to compare what single and married workers were paid by occupation to ferret out bias, but I didn't see any tables with that kind of data.

Really, as much as the government loves to tout marriage, it doesn't pay much attention to it in these surveys. You would think they'd want to make it very clear that married people are better insured, own more valuable homes, and have more saved for retirement. If married people attain higher levels of education and more frequently undertake entrepreneurial ventures (which I suspect they do, though I have no proof of it), then I'd like to know this, too. I would like to know just how much work we have ahead of us to bridge the gap between singles and marrieds.

These are just some figures pulled directly from the Census Bureau's tables. Over the next weeks and months, statisticians will undoubtedly crunch the numbers, and we'll get more readable data in press releases and major papers. But this is an overview of where we stand as singles in the U.S. at this moment in history. Compare to data from the last survey, reported here in one of the very first Singletude posts, "The Hard Facts About Singles." Are we progressing, regressing, standing still? The number of singles continues to grow, but are we seeing acknowledgment of our shifting demographics in the national consciousness? Are legislators making changes that reflect the new face of the average American, who is not half of a married couple with children?

What do you think? Does the data on singles encourage you, scare you, anger you? Do the stats accurately depict your life as a single, or do they seem off base to you? What kinds of information about singles would you like to see the Census Bureau collect? Do you think cultural awareness and legislation are keeping pace with the realities about singles as revealed by the American Community Survey?

Fun Link of the Day

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.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Singles in the News: 10/18/09-10/24/09

This edition of "Singles in the News" arrives a little late and may do so again next week due to the Halloween festivities that have been keeping me busy. There'll be no candy for me this year, but I'm thankful that my health issues don't prevent me from relaxing with good friends and some scary TV!

Also, while we're talking personal news, I want to let you all know that I'll be at Saks Fifth Avenue for the third "Live the Life You Love" discussion panel for single women sponsored by and Spark Networks. Topics covered during the evening will be cooking, entertaining, career, and love, followed by free makeovers and personal shoppers for all! Tickets are $25 when you order online, so hurry and grab yours before they sell out! I hope to see you there.


"Madam Ovary"
By Pronoti Datta
The Times of India
Summary: Vitrification, the new process for freezing eggs, is gaining popularity among Indian single women.


"Ailing Vets Find Help in Housing Program"
By Elizabeth Ganga
Summary: Housing vouchers from Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) is helping at-risk vets in New York, most of whom are single men, keep roofs over their heads while they work with case managers to address the issues that stand between them and successful independent living.

Singles With Singletude Award
"Black Women Find Themselves Single and Happy Ever After"
By Jessica Shim
The Grio
Summary: Lately, we've been hearing a lot about how difficult it is for African-American women to find husbands. Nika Beamon, author of I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married, and other single black women wonder why that's a problem. "'Single is not a death sentence like people think it is,'" explains one women interviewed. "'Not to say that having a partner isn't fun. But being single is you know, great.'" Another says, "'Singleness doesn't mean that you are lonely. Alone doesn't mean that you're lonely. It's just a different experience.'" Better educational and career opportunities as well as the influence of strong female role models are discussed as factors contributing to the contentment and self-sufficiency that mark the lives of single African-American women. Check out the video clip, too! After all the hoopla about how much black women are suffering without "good men," it's refreshing to hear the women fire back with a more balanced perspective on what it really means to be spouse-free.

"Media Gallery: The Best Cities to Meet Men"
The Daily Beast
Summary: Single men are said to flock to these U.S. cities. Atlanta takes the cake with Boston and Seattle occupying the second and third spots. San Francisco and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area round out the top five. The biggest loser is El Paso.

"My Body Will Do What?"
By Sharon Leach
Jamaica Observer
Summary: A single woman kvetches about the unique "maintenance" challenges that older women face when they want to keep up appearances on a date. The implication is that older single men can't accept the realities of aging in women, and that's sad.

"Single Women to Easily Inherit Family Property"
Daily Nation
Summary: Wonderful news for single women in Kenya! A newly proposed law promises to ban discriminatory practices that prevent unmarried women from inheriting parental properties and ensure that parents make legal provisions for their single daughters in the event of their death. Currently, single women "are either forced out of the family land or compelled to live there with their children as squatters."


Singleschmucker Award
"5 Things I'd Do Differently as Single Do-over"
By Wendy Atterberry
Summary: Relationship writer Atterberry is married now, but she wishes she had done things differently as a single. Specifically, she would've ditched losers sooner, moped less about them, dated more ethnically diverse men, traveled by herself, and trusted her own instincts. Some of this is good advice, particularly her exhortation to travel solo and use that women's intuition, but Atterberry seems to forget at a few points that hindsight is 20-20. For example, when you're married, it's easy to say you shouldn't have been so bothered by break-ups because someday you'd meet "the one," but the reality is that not all singles will find life partners, and most are painfully aware of it while they're dating. There's a certain condescension when marrieds like this assume that their readers' lives will turn out just like their own. There's also a mild "marrieds know best" undertone at work, as though the writer became magically qualified to dole out advice to singles just because she tied the knot. In the grand scheme of things, this article doesn't really merit a Singleschmucker, but it was slim pickings this week.

"Single Golfer Seeks Stableford Relationship..."
The Irish Times
Summary: Ireland's Aiofe Cooling, described as a "businesswoman with a penchant for golf" believes that not only business deals can be made on the golf course. So she's starting a matchmaking service for golfers called Fairway Friends.


"Publicity Failing to Improve Sexual Health Behaviour"
Summary: The British Office of National Statistics has found that 59% of single men and 52% of single women have "not reduced their number of one-night stands or increased their use of condoms despite fears about STIs...Only 6% of men and 7% of women said they had been affected enough by publicity to have fewer one-night stands."


"Asking for Help, and the Work That Goes Into It"
By James Warden
Stillwater Gazette
Summary: An undercover reporter in Minnesota discovers how hard it is for a single adult to apply for welfare...and actually get it.

" Poll: Single Men Would Stay in a New Relationship with a Woman Diagnosed with Breast Cancer"
Summary: An online dating site poll finds that 90% of single women believe they'd get dumped by their hypothetical boyfriends if diagnosed with breast cancer, but 80% of single men surveyed said they'd stick around to help their partners battle the illness. The problem with this survey is that it puts a lot of pressure on single men to give a PC answer. Plus, it's all well and good to imagine you'd act heroically in a time of crisis, but when push comes to shove, lots of people don't, especially when a relationship is brand new. If new couples split every day for such trivialities as annoying sleep habits, poor housekeeping, and conflicting tastes in entertainment, do we really believe that 80% of them would survive life-threatening illness? Let's get real.

"India: Single Women Break Their Silence, Challenge Societal Norms"
By Nitin Jugran Bahuguna
Summary: In the past few months, Singletude has linked to a lot of reports about the cruelty and downright abuse that single women in India routinely face as par for the course of daily existence. This more in-depth feature interviews three of the women who were instrumental in organizing the recent National Forum for Single Women's Rights. It also examines the single women's movement in the context of the larger Indian civil rights movement, the current inadequate legal protections for single women, and the additional legislation that activists are petitioning for. A runner-up for the Singles With Singletude Award.

"Repairers of the Breach Plans Expanded Homeless Center"
By Georgia Pabst
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Summary: A charitable organization in Milwaukee "operates the only center of its kind in the city where homeless single adults can go during the day to warm up and get food, clothing, a bath, health screening, counseling and other support services." It will soon undergo rennovations to keep up with increasing demand.

"Why Diane Keaton Is My Single Lady Role Model"
By Ami Angelowicz
the Frisky
Summary: To spare you the suspense, it's because she's got singletude. She's a quirkyalone, a onely, a singlutionary, someone who likes herself as she is, and if a guy doesn't, then tough luck. She's quoted as saying, "'I don’t think that because I’m not married it’s made my life any less. That old maid myth is garbage.'" Oh, yeah, and she's a single mom by choice, too.


"Hey, Brother, Can You Spare the Time?"
By Alison Leigh Cowan
The New York Times
Summary: A popular program to give small, useful Christmas gifts to homeless singles in New York City is threatened.

"Shriver Report: Get Married, Have Kids, Then We'll Speak to Your Issues"
Summary: The Huffington Post turns the spotlight on singles advocate Bella DePaulo's blog, Living Single, where she has been running a series critiquing singlism in The Shriver Report, a joint study by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.


"Fighting to Be a Mother Again"
By Sandy Banks
Los Angeles Times
Summary: Single women struggling to regain legal custody of children in the foster care system must fight an uphill battle. Many have to recover from addiction, mental illness, or abusive relationships. But the biggest obstacle standing between these women and their children may be how to afford housing as single mothers.

"Women's Shelter Opening Soon"
By Bennett Hall
The Corvallis Gazette-Times
Summary: A homeless shelter for single women is set to open in an Oregon town.

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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Bachelor Portraits": Photographs of Single Men by Justyna Badach

Bachelors sometimes complain that "single" has become synonymous with "woman," that the media overlooks the single male and his unique interests and concerns. Well, photographer Justyna Badach is focusing the world's attention on single men through the intimate lens of her camera and illuminating the obscure, sometimes misunderstood corners of their inner spheres with her bright studio lights. In a series entitled simply "Bachelor Portraits," she captures the so-called untamed bachelor in his own abode to examine how single men can be both masculine and domestic. She is also interested in the symbolic resonance of the home for single men, portraying it as both a retreat from society and a barrier to interaction.

In an excerpt from Badach's artistic statement on the "Bachelor Portraits," she says:

The images . . . depict the safety of places where the men withdraw from the world to think, meditate and act out their fantasies. I am interested in the way that these personal spaces serve as both portrait and the junction between masculine and feminine, the man and myself.

Like bachelorhood, these spaces are both a refuge and a prison; the place where the man gets back in touch with themselves by depriving themselves of an emotional connection with the outside world . . . Many of the men expand [sic] a great deal of effort to arrange their living space, developing a kind of personal iconography or domestic vernacular. At times, this space is so profoundly personal, that it feels like I am standing in someone else’s skin.

The photos do conjure a private, cave-like realm for each of these single men, intensified by Badach's choice of subjects with individualistic and highly developed decorative styles. But there is a darkness to these photos, too, both literal and metaphorical. Although the subjects are bathed in white light, the rooms in which they pose are almost uniformly dim, muted, and often cluttered. The observer can almost smell the mustiness and feel the dust tickling the back of the throat. Most of the men are casually dressed, even unkempt, and sprawl or slouch in their environments, reinforcing the impression that the onlooker is on the threshold of the bachelor's personal territory, in which he is both sovereign lord and endangered species. While more visually interesting this way, Badach's representation of single men plays into the stereotype of the bachelor as odd, incompetent, and antisocial.

She provides a more detailed rationale for the web site Thomas Kellner--Photography in Art, in which she tries to categorize the single men she encountered, explaining, "Some are extremely shy; others have dedicated their lives to caring for a family member, while another group was so completely immersed in creative or intellectual pursuits they had little time for a relationship." Yet there are only hints of these other dimensions in her collection. The men are frozen like specimens to be studied rather than dynamically engaged in their daily lives. Badach could have showed us a bachelor getting ready for work, maybe shaving or adjusting his tie. She could've showed us bachelors passionately pursuing the hobbies she refers to, perhaps reading, painting, cooking, or playing instruments. She could've showed us a bachelor doing the household grunt work that single men are responsible for when they live alone. She could've showed us bachelors surrounded by photos of family and friends, talking on the phone, or chatting on the Internet.

But she doesn't. We see the occasional pet, maybe a child's toy in a nook or cranny, waiting for a visit, but the predominant tone is one of isolation. So it's not surprising that there's also an air of melancholy about this series, which Badach acknowledges when she says that tragedy reverberates in more than a few of her portraits. The solitude in so many of these pictures is less meditative or stimulating than it is lonely and remorseful, the light ghostly, the color palette subdued, the men themselves glum.

Badach is to be commended for exploring the lives of single men at all, and I understand that she wants to explore a side of singleness that's private, sometimes to the point of detachment. But by magnifying that side, she minimizes the side that is actively connected to the world despite the sense of physical disconnection. In my mind, it would've been more interesting--and truer to the lives of single men--to see photos that depict this contrast. Furthermore, by presenting single men as inherently different, as other, the photographer shies away from that about them which is universal. Again, it would've been refreshing to see portraits that demystify bachelors, showing them engaged in relatable activities instead of withdrawn into cocoons from which they emerge remote and eccentric.

What do you think about Badach's "Bachelor Portraits"? What message do they communicate to you about single men? If you're a single man, how is this similar to or different from how you view yourself and other single men? If you're not a single man, how is this similar to or different from how you perceive single men? What kinds of photographs of single men would you like to see in a series like this?

Fun Link of the Day

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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Singles in the News: 10/11/09-10/17/09

Older single women were in the media spotlight this week, drawing criticism and occasional emulation from all corners of the globe in their various stereotypical incarnations as cougars, biological clock-watchers, and wanton destroyers of the fabric of society. Oh, yeah, and some sources pointed out that they can be mature, independent, and well grounded, too.

Articles about dating trends and tips were also in full supply, so singles who date may find something of interest here.


"Do We Turn Off Men Our Own Age Without Realizing It?"
By Michelle Cove
Summary: Cove proposes that men like dating younger women not so much because of their youthful good looks but because older women pressure them to settle down too quickly. Or perhaps those turnoffs aren't mutually exclusive?

"New Survey Shows Devastating Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain on Intimate Relations"
Summary: The survey of 300 females suffering from rheumatoid arthritis showed a lot of other things, as well. But notice that the press release chooses to call attention to how the disease affected the respondents' intimate relationships. Apparently, almost 60% said that sex was painful, 25% of those who were divorced blamed their arthritis, and 53% of those who were single believed the disease hindered their search for "a life partner." The pharmaceutical company which conducted the research asked a number of other questions, too. But the answers to those questions weren't deemed interesting enough for the first few paragraphs and were buried somewhere deep within the press release.

"No Husbands, Just Pass Me Your Sperm"
By Ted Malanda
The Standard
Summary: As the popularity of marriage declines in Kenya, single women (and single men, too) are becoming intentionally single parents. But some of them are using devious methods to attract potential donors, whose marital status is no obstacle, either, apparently. There are hints of singlism throughout the article, but it tries to maintain balance, acknowledging that "the loss of personal freedom, incessant supremacy and financial fights, and...petty squabbles and emotional upheavals have become synonymous with the institution of marriage."


"'All the Single Ladies' (and Men) Are Taking Over the World"
By Carly Milne
Digital City
Summary: Singles and single women in particular have more products and services aimed at them than ever before. This article covers some old familiar faces that Singletude readers will know as well as a new web site that features articles and video programming just for single females, Single-Woman.TV. (When will we get our own cable channel too?)

"In India, New Seat of Power for Women"
By Emily Wax
The Washington Post
Summary: As in so many countries, increasing economic prosperity in India goes hand in hand with a growing feminist movement. To Western eyes, the demands of single Indian women are shockingly basic. They just want toilets, and some are refusing to marry without this fundamental convenience.

"Majority of Cougars Date Younger Men to Stroke Their Egos"
Summary: We've all heard about the cougar phenomenon ad nauseam, but what exactly is behind the trend? Ego and money are the culprits, says the headline of a poll by,, and, but the actual results present a somewhat more complicated picture. When single men were asked why they would date an older woman, 85% said they wanted a sugar mama, while 72% said, "[Older women are] desperate and so much easier to get in bed." When single women were asked why they would date a younger man, the vast majority (95%) said, "It's less complicated with a younger guy, you can have fun and not think about marriage and babies." While it's true that 89% said it was a confidence booster, too, that was not the most commonly cited reason. Another substantial majority (78%) listed greater sexual endurance as an enticement for dating younger guys. What's interesting is that the headline singles out the one motivation for May-December romances that makes "cougars" look bad while ignoring the reason that actually got the most votes, that single women of a certain age don't necessarily want heavy-duty relationships. An excellent example of spin doctors at work!


"7 Famous Whiners That Swear They Can't Get a Date"
By Olivia Allin
the Frisky
Summary: Guess which single celebs say that love doesn't come easy when you're famous. Most of them aren't too thrilled with this turn of events, but one, Tim Gunn, has the courage to say, "'I'm very happy being alone...There's nothing wrong with being happily single!'"

"Book Review: Would You Like to Sleep with My Wife?"
By Rebecca Ammon
The Daily Loaf
Summary: A review of Would You Like to Sleep With My Wife? by Tom Kelly details the single male author's adventures working at a swingers' resort. Be forewarned that it's not all wish fulfillment as Kelly literally wakes up in the midst of troubled marriages.

"Face Your Relationship Fears: Male Fear of Intimacy and Fear of Commitment in Dating"
By Deborrah Cooper
Summary: This insightful article delves into the ways in which single men and women enable each other to avoid committed relationships.

"Give Incentives to Single Tenants to Downsize"
By Ben Spencer
The Star
Summary: So many singles are living alone in low-income housing units that needy families in Yorkshire, England have nowhere to go. The district is considering a proposal to give financial rewards to singles who move to less spacious accommodations.

"Surge in Single Women Driving Down Nat'l Birth Rate"
The Dong-a Ilbo
Summary: Birth rates are falling in South Korea, and the government is chastising single women in urban areas for delaying marriage.

Singles With Singletude Award
"The Trophy Wife Speaks"
By Gina Barone
The Chronicle
Summary: A progressive Purdue University student isn't single anymore but refuses to join the matrimaniacs. She says, "I deplore married people who announce their status smugly like they are better than non-married people. I am offended by this behavior. Honestly, I think any person who treats their marriage like a status symbol didn't get married for the right reasons." The article only gets better as Barone argues against singlism and intensive coupling with the kind of wisdom and eloquence seldom matched outside of small singles advocacy circles. It's refreshing to hear from a young, married person with so much singletude! We need more coupled people to speak out on behalf of equality between singles and marrieds. Only when the mainstream (i.e., marrieds) acknowledges discrimination against singles can we really begin to conquer it.


"Being Single and Dating in a Digital World"
News 8 Austin
Summary: This rather directionless article starts out talking about the demographic discrepancy between single men and women in the U.S., moves on to places to mix and mingle, and finally reaffirms why it's ok to be single. Huh? At least the five reasons to be single are on target.

"Homeless Shelter Closed Until November"
Fox 12 Mankato
Summary: A Minnesota homeless shelter for single men has trouble keeping up with demand.

"Love Is in the Air! Singles Flight Takes Off From LAX"
Summary: Is it just me, or are matchmaking events getting more and more OTT? Now, for a measly $780, you too can be imprisoned on a transoceanic love boat in the sky until you succumb to the persistent charms of the gentleman (or gentlewoman) winking at you while playing elbow footsie with your armrest.

"Political Spouses Are the Must-have of the Season"
By David Williamson
Summary: The U.S. isn't the only country that prefers its politicians married. Legislators in the U.K. are also expected to have a glamorous partner in tow. But some people are rightly worried that talented singles are getting bypassed for positions of responsibility. Also of concern is the influence that mates of state have in their unelected leadership roles. Unfortunately, the article veers away from these pointed questions to recap the world's long history of famous political spouses.

"Rethinking the Older Woman-Younger Man Relationship"
By Sarah Kershaw
The New York Times
Summary: In contrast to Monday's survey, this article poses a less self-absorbed motivation for older women to date younger men--the absence of available older men who are interested in women their own age. This is explored in the context of a culture that has fewer dating taboos and more self-supporting women that ever. Kershaw also cites a study of May-December married couples in which the women were at least 10 years older than their partners. The study showed "that women liked the vitality the younger man brought into their lives, and men liked the maturity and confidence in the women." However, studies from the University of Chicago and MIT paint a different picture, concluding that most men still prefer younger women.


"Checking out the 'Pecs and Personalities' at Cosmo's Hottest Bachelor Party"
By Amanda Ernst
Summary: Cosmopolitan throws its annual bash in honor of single males from 50 states who are gorgeous inside and out. If you're a single lady interested in meeting any of them, Cosmo has provided their email addresses in its "Hottest Bachelors of 2009" feature.

"Dating Trend Changing Among Singles"
By Jane Han
The Korea Times
Summary: The "competitive singles market" in Korea is shaping up to be much like its counterpart in the United States. As single Koreans have become more selective in their search for the perfect partner, more are reluctant to commit to any one person.

Singleschmucker Award
"David Cameron's Tax Incentives for Married Couples Will Not Solve Family Breakdown"
By Jen Lexmond
The Daily Telegraph
Summary: This article starts and ends well. The main idea is that the British government shouldn't provide blanket incentives for married couples to stay together when some actually should go their separate ways. This distinction between good and bad relationships, which refuses to idealize marriage as a panacea in and of itself, is seldom stated and all the more important because of it. Unfortunately, the writer detracts from that significant point by repeating inaccuracies about the benefits of good marriages. "Single adults aged between 30-50 have increased mortality rates than married couples--for women it is twice as high, and for men it is three times higher," Lexmond says. I wish Lexmond would've disclosed her sources because I've never heard of any research demonstrating that married women live longer than unmarried women or that the risk of death for single men is three times higher than it is for married men. The article is ultimately a mixed bag, but since there weren't any standouts for the Singleschmucker this week, it wins for perpetuating singlist myths.

"Egypt's Spinsters and Society"
By Joseph Mayton
Summary: The head of Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics calls the country's growing singles population "'alarming'" and a "'main concern.'" According to him, single women who don't marry are just asking to be sexually harassed. In response, the journalist examines discrimination against single women in Egypt, which ranges from "rumors, suspicion and pitying looks" to restrictions on the freedom of movement of grown, self-supporting unmarried women. Noha Mahmoud, an Egyptian psychologist living in America urges single women in her home country to band together to "'make change happen.'" A runner-up for the Singles With Singletude Award.

"Let's Not Forget Those Still Living in Poverty as the Economy Picks Up"
By Clare Martin
The Age
Summary: The economy may be recovering worldwide, but in Australia, single parents and singles over 65 remain vulnerable.

"Magazine Scene: How to Write the Perfect Online Dating Profile"
By Elizabeth Cherneff
The Sun Herald
Summary: A few helpful hints for online daters, nothing particularly original.

"Mingling Singles"
By Manette Newbold
Summary: Utah's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has started a nondenominational singles social group for ages 31 and up. The group stresses that its goal is to promote socializing, not matchmaking.


"The Homelessness Connection in Health Care"
By Nan Roman
Huffington Post
Summary: The last national study of the homeless found that, in contrast to popular conception, only 25% had Medicaid. That might be because many of the homeless are single, and singles usually don't qualify for Medicaid. Clearly, homelessness exacerbates health problems and vice versa. Roman advocates a two-pronged approach, tackling homelessness as well as health care.

"Taking a Closer Look at the 'Real Uninsured'"
Summary: In an effort to dimish the importance of universal health care, some pundits have been pushing the idea that young, single adults, nicknamed "Young Invincibles," are choosing not to purchase insurance. This article debunks that myth, proving that most uninsured young singles truly can't afford health care.


"When Love Is a Schlep"
By Elizabeth A. Harris
The New York Times
Summary: Singles in big cities like New York find the dating pool limited by congestion and public transportation systems that stretch the few miles to a date's pad into an hour-long ride.

"Wife Vs. Mistress; Why Are You With That Married Man...?"
Summary: The anonymous writer takes single women to task for sleeping with married men, then has a few choice words for the guys, too. While her premise that single women shortchange themselves when they have affairs is not far-fetched, some readers may bristle at the assertion that married individuals are "'property.'" The author also seems unaware of the complex reasons why married men may be attracted to women other than their wives.

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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Single and Lonely in Times of Transition?

Today's post is in answer to a special request from a special single blogger--Special K, PhD, who writes The Special K Treatment, a blog about living healthy in mind, body, and soul. Special K recently took on a task that demands a heaping dose of singletude. She moved across an ocean to another country all by herself. Though she had a job lined up, she didn't have a place to live when she arrived, and, to my knowledge, she doesn't speak the language. (Even though a lot of people speak English in this country, it must be disorienting when you can't read the street signs or understand the morning news.) Although K will surely adjust to her new environment and thrive in it, she found herself feeling lonely in the interim and asked for a post about why we feel alone during major life transitions.

In K's case, loneliness is a natural reaction to leaving family and friends 6,000 miles behind. But even when surrounded by loved ones, the transition to a new residence, a new job, or, in my case, a new lifestyle based around a long-term health problem, can trigger loneliness because we're out of sync with those around us. They cannot share in our experience. We're jolted by the reminder that no matter how closely others may follow us, they really can't walk a mile in our shoes. No two bodies can occupy the same space at the same time, and that applies to a life trajectory as well. When this trajectory diverges far from those around us, it becomes painfully obvious that, at the end of the day, we're on this journey alone.

As singles, however, we may be better equipped than couples for the loneliness of these transitions. One of the mythical promises of marriage is that those who pair up for the long haul will never be lonely again. So when upheavals in our lives force us to go to places, physical or mental, where no one can accompany us, it may be especially difficult for people in relationships to face that their marital vows or other commitments can't save them from those desolate moments. We singles, on the other hand, aren't deluded by the fantasy that we'll never have to confront challenges or adapt to changes alone. We're accustomed to self-reliance, which is undoubtedly an advantage when you are your only constant in a shifting world.

Another reason that transitions may rattle us is that many of us are creatures of habit. We grow attached to our routines, our familiar settings, and depend on them for security. To an extent, we define ourselves in relation to them. That's why we personalize our offices, our cars, our dorm rooms with things that remind us who we are--photos, awards or degrees, toys and gadgets, art, souvenirs. Transitional periods are likely to disrupt our rituals and remove us from our customary habitats. The loneliness we feel in these circumstances is a longing for the familiar and, by extension, for the sense of self that depends on the familiar. The chaos of change touches a chord at the very center of one's being, that center in which we wonder who we are apart from the identity reflected back to us by the environment we've carefully constructed.

Once again, I believe singles may be better prepared than marrieds to wrestle with this sense of isolation. For one thing, many of us are young, and change is a way of life. We get a lot of practice with transition as we graduate high school and then college, move away from our hometowns, and start our careers. In the early years of adulthood, we may start over multiple times. More importantly, though, a single person may be more apt to develop a strong sense of self that resides within because the single adult doesn't lose him or herself in a romantic partner or depend on a partner to reflect the self. Therefore, when significant transitions threaten to isolate us from everything that identity is grounded in, the single's robust sense of self can more easily weather the storm.

Above all, we should remember that loneliness is based on perception. There's no magic neighborhood we can live in, no magic club we can join, no magic number of friends we can make, not even a magic relationship we can find that will banish loneliness from our lives forever and ever. If loneliness really was rooted in whether or not we had these things, single people would be a lot lonelier than married couples. Yet we know that they are not. (See The Handbook of Marriage and the Family and Singled Out for evidence.)

Similarly, the loneliness we experience during transitional states is just that--transitional--springing from subjective feelings of disconnection rather than actual isolation most of the time. As uncomfortable as it can be, it is a chance to evaluate who we are at the core, without the crutch of the familiar to prop us up, an opportunity to reinvent ourselves unfettered by the expectations imposed on us by our daily milieu. Eventually, we cultivate new patterns, new norms, new cynosures by which we recognize ourselves, and we are not lonely in our own company once again.

Have you ever been through a major life transition that left you feeling lonely? Why do you think you felt lonely during this time? If you were single then, do you think your singleness made you feel more lonely or less lonely? How did you respond to the loneliness? What advice would you give to other singles who feel lonely during transitional periods?

Fun Link of the Day

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.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Singles in the News: 10/4/09-10/10/09

As so often happens, some themes emerged in this week's "Singles in the News." As cold weather sets in, the plight of the single and homeless once again took center stage. The rights and interests of single women in other countries was also a hot topic this week. The Singleschmucker contenders were even more galling than usual, while the Singles With Singletude candidates restored faith in the good sense of the next generation.


"Bigger Homeless Shelter Strives for Intimate Feel"
By Kafia A. Hosh
The Washington Post
Summary: A Virginia county opens its first ever homeless shelter for single men. The shelter also has wings for single women and families.

"Hoffman Estates' Sherri Shepherd Has Gotten Good at Juggling Careers"
By Jamie Sotonoff
Daily Herald
Summary: An interview with Sherri Shepherd of The View highlights her life as a single mom, which will be chronicled in her new Lifetime sitcom, Sherri, and her book, Permission Slip: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break.

"War: Car Park v. Refuge for Women"
By Kate Lahey
The Age
Summary: An Australian city is pushing back against plans to construct a block of temporary residences for underprivileged single women, arguing that it will lose much-needed parking space.


"Running Out of Beds"
By Mary Brosnahan
The Huffington Post
Summary: New Yorkers know how much Mayor Bloomberg loves single people. First he refused them food stamps, and now, despite his promise to reduce homelessness by two-thirds by 2009, it's higher than ever. Get this--as of 9/30, there were only 10 beds available for single men and women in a city of eight million people. Think about that.

"States Resist Medicaid Growth"
By Shailagh Murray
The Washington Post
Summary: Low-income single adults would be the primary beneficiaries of the proposed expansion of Medicaid. Surprise, surprise--many states are reluctant to extend the program to 11 million new recipients.

"Women's Labor Force Participation on Rise: CEPD"
By Sofia Wu
CNA News
Summary: More Taiwanese women than ever before are joining the workforce. The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) speculates that this is partly because more single women are entering the job market and partly because more married couples can't survive on one income. Up till now, almost 60% of single women in Taiwan have been employed versus less than 50% of married women.


Singleschmucker Award
"Purcell: A Deadline Only Mom Could Set, 10-06-09"
By Tom Purcell
The Herald News
Summary: Grab the nearest barf bag because that's what you'll feel like doing when you read this story. Columnist Purcell's mother wants him married come hell or high water, and although Purcell feebly protests, he can't hide the matrimaniacal indoctrination that informs his values. Check out this sample of singlist wisdom: "Married men are physically and emotionally healthier. They avoid risky behavior. They live longer...Married men are much less likely to wake up in a pile of dirty laundry still clutching the tequila bottle they began drinking from just before the party broke up." If Purcell wants to agree with Mark Twain that "there is no greater beauty and sweetness than the closeness of a husband and wife who adore each other," that's his prerogative. But there's no excuse for inventing bogus statistics. Let's all sing it together now: "Getting mar-ried/Doesn't in-crease/Happiness, health, or longevi-ty/Or e-ven responsibili-ty./I'm sor-ry./But it doesn't." Can someone say Singleschmucker?

"We've Got It Backwards: First Marriage, Then the Baby Carriage"
By Carol Capo
Daily News
Summary: This is the second week in a row that I had an incredibly hard time awarding the Singleschmucker. That's because, once again, two journalists outdid themselves dueling for the prize. This one, responding to the National Summit on Marriage, Parenting and Families, is horrified by all these marriages we're not making. Noting that the percentage of married adults ages 20-54 fell from 79% in 1970 to 57% in 2008, the author compares the decrease to "the chart of a rotten stock" in which "all the lines head in the wrong direction." She goes on to express her special contempt for single people: "The more children are surrounded by mothers on their own, fathers not stepping up and neighborhoods made up of single people, the more children think that's the norm. It's OK." Ms. Capo needs to catch up on the last 50 years or so of history because it is the norm. Only about a quarter of the population is now married with children at home. And sometime in the last century, our country decided that, for the sake of justice, equality, and humanity, labels like "OK" and "not OK" no longer had any place in describing people who aren't part of the norm. Nevertheless, this anachronistic piece insists that everyone should be cut from the same cloth, and that cloth is a white satin wedding dress. I understand that the writer had a hard time raising a son on her own, but her experience as a widow is apt to be different from that of single parents who have divorced or carefully chosen single parenthood. Yes, uninvolved parents are a big problem, and so is the poverty in which lots of singles live. But, again, the answer is to support good parenting skills, education, and fair wages. A marriage certificate doesn't parent or hold down a job.


"Church Uses Jon and Kate to Market Class"
By Kristine Galvan
my Fox Houston
Summary: It used to be that Christian churches held up Jon and Kate Gosselin as standards of parenting. Now the feuding twosome has inspired a church in Texas to reach out to the newly single through a support group. In a religious system that often turns a blind eye to anyone going through a divorce or break-up, this effort is refreshing.

"Gadget to Help Women Feign Virginity Angers Many in Egypt"
By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan
Los Angeles Times
Summary: It's the kind of headline you'd expect The Onion to run. The Artificial Virgin Hymen Kit, designed for Muslim brides whose premarital chastity could be a life or death matter, is stirring up controversy in the Egyptian parliament, which seeks to ban it.

"Petite Perfection"
By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post
Summary: A single writer dishes about buying and cooking for one.

"Relationship Rehab: Happiness Doesn't Depend on Someone Else"
By Melissa Johnson
The Volante
Summary: Inspired by a Facebook ad taunting singles, a smart college senior observes, "The culture we live in tells us that only people in relationships are truly happy. Movies and television frequently portray single people as society’s discontents, constantly seeking that perfect relationship. Single people aren’t really happy because they are broken; slightly defective beings, roaming the earth in search of their other half." It's easy to get sucked into this country's couple worship, especially when you're young. It's to Johnson's credit that she avoids this trap, advising young singles, "Don’t waste your life chasing one type of happiness because it will cause you to miss all the other fantastic things going on around you." How encouraging to know that the next generation is freeing itself from conventional singlist thinking! A close runner-up for the Singles With Singletude Award.

"Single Women Unite for a Life"
Summary: The National Forum for Single Women's Rights has convened in India "to develop leadership of single women at the national level and bring about a change in the societal and political perspective regarding single women." Single women in India currently have few rights or protections and often live lives of abuse and hardship. Several single women are interviewed, and the history of the single women's movement in India is discussed.


"Are You the Hip and Single Dad?"
By Aradhana Bhatnagar
The Times of India
Summary: If so, you're probably quite a catch. This article offers advice to single dads who want to get back into the dating scene, though it's probably nothing you haven't heard before.

"Author Asks, 'Why Didn't He Call Back?'"
By Ellen Leyva
Summary: Dating coach Rachel Greenwald, author of Why He Didn't Call You Back, advises single women on what not to do based on interviews conducted with 1,000 bachelors in this video clip and accompanying article. In a nutshell, don't be negative, don't talk shop, and don't follow up after the first date. You know, just don't be human, and everything will turn out fine.


Singles With Singletude Award
"Get Married or Die Trying"
By Glory Edozien
Bella Naija
Summary: Although she says she is "not an advocate for singleness," the writer condemns matrimania, or, as she calls it, "marry or die syndrome." Rightly, she notes that single women who fall victim to the "sydrome" marry and die, sacrificing themselves for men who mistreat them just for the sake of marriage. This quote sums up her position beautifully: "Why do most women attach their life’s worth to being married, like it's some currency you can exchange for great wealth on the black market? When will women wake up and realise that no man will ever complete you and neither will he ever value you above the value you place on your self?" Edozien concludes by recommending that single women get to know who they are, appreciate themselves, and live their lives to the fullest. There's no better message to send to single women (and single men, too, for that matter).

"South Korean Women Fight Stigma Against Single Mothers"
Medical News Today
Summary: Single moms in South Korea face the kind of discrimination that the U.S. hasn't known since the 1950s. Pressured into dangerous illegal abortion or adoption, these women are now fighting back by forming a group that will advocate for the rights of single mothers.


"Single, and Not Ready to Mingle"
By Manjari Mishra
The Times of India
Summary: A study by the Institute of Women's Studies in India finds that 93% of women surveyed believe that single women perform better than married women in the office. The majority also said that they would rather be single than married, a significant statement since prejudice against single women is rampant in India.

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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Note From Singletude

Well, as you can see, I didn't survive last week's surgical procedure and am blogging from six feet under. Amazing how good wireless reception is these days!

Seriously, the procedure went well, and I'm back to blogging. However, it confirmed that I do have a chronic condition, which does make it hard to sit up at the computer for long periods of time. There is a chance for complete recovery, but it won't be for a long time, and it isn't guaranteed. So I will have to take it week by week and see how much I'm able to get done amidst the lifestyle changes that are heading my way. I may have to scale back "Singles in the News" to make it a shorter feature.

Thanks to everyone who kept me in their thoughts while I've been sick! I really appreciate all your good wishes and expressions of concern. The show will go on at Singletude, albeit at a slower pace. I hope you'll stick around! I love all my readers, and there's a lot more good stuff on the way!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Singles in the News: 9/27/09-10/3/09

This was a week of highs and lows for "Singles in the News." Several articles battled it out for both the Singles With Singletude Award and the Singleschmucker. In other words, there were more fantastic, pro-singles news items than usual, but there were also a number of atrociously singlist voices shouting for attention.

On a personal note, those of you who follow Singletude probably know that I've been having health problems lately. Last week, I wrote that I had found a way to adapt to what I thought would be a long-term condition. However, it has come to light that it is a more severe issue which requires a surgical procedure that I'll be undergoing tomorrow. Needless to say, I'm not sure how this will affect my blogging schedule. I'll certainly post as often as I can, and, in the meantime, please check the Singletude newsreader located under Singles in the News on the homepage for current events and watch this spot for updates. Thank you to all the Singletude readers out there for your patience and understanding!


Singleschmucker Award
"Bachelors and Their Strange Ways"
By John Kairuki
The Standard
Summary: This Kenyan journalist is convinced that single men are "geeks," "oddball[s]," "macho," and "bumbling" and sets out to prove that they can't do their own laundry, dress themselves, or feed themselves. As though following a checklist of stereotypes for inspiration, Kairuki ticks off every cliche known to single man and provides the worst horror stories he can find to support them. A couple of times, he gets the reader's hopes up as he depicts an exception to the rule--an educated, well-mannered, self-possessed professional who can even tie his own shoes--only to dash them with the punchline that the guy is, of course, a closeted psycho. The final quote sums it up nicely: "'Essentially, [all] bachelors have an uncouth streak if you look keenly enough! I think that they want to protect this nasty side of their characters by being single!'" says a woman who graciously volunteered for bachelor bashing in a national newspaper. "Singles in the News" has been published every week for over three months now, and this is the most vicious article I've ever seen directed at the unmarried male. It has no message, theme, or news to impart, no raison d'etre other than to ridicule single men. Kairuki, come on down and pick up your Singleschmucker!

"CBC Examines State of Black Marriage"
By Zenitha Prince
Summary: Are you an African-American single mother? If so, then Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton says you are responsible for "rates of incarceration, drug use and trade, high school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, poor health outcomes and other social ills" in the black community. Based on an outdated, much-criticized 1965 study, Norton rails, "'If you think the Black nation can survive whole if only Black women are raising their children, I want you to show me how.'" Appallingly, other attendees at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 39th Annual Legislative Conference blamed feminism for "prompt[ing] women to 'devalue, depreciate and disrespect' their partners." Hollywood was also a target because couples like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have promoted "an indifference toward marriage." Though I'm not qualified to speak for African-Americans in particular, I can say that studies on single-parent families in general do not prove that the children of single mothers are doomed. How insulting to black women and, more broadly, to single mothers to lay the blame for all of society's problems at their feet! It's especially worrisome that some people think the answer is for women to chuck their hard-won rights, turning back the clock to an era in which they were subordinates instead of equal relationship partners. I won't argue that children don't thrive when they have two loving parents in their lives, but marriage itself doesn't guarantee the presence of two loving parents, and divorce doesn't exclude it. The anecdote to crime, poverty, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy is parental support, education, and career advancement, not marriage. A very close runner-up for the Singleschmucker!

"People Helping People: BAWN Project Aids Single Women"
By Sandi Hoover
The Nevada Appeal
Summary: In this heartwarming report on the Women's Council of the Builders Association of Western Nevada (BAWN), a 98-volunteer construction team donates labor and materials to single women in need. The event, called Helping Hands, presents a vision of community that is not based around the nuclear family but around a neighborhood network in which people pull together and lean on one another. "'This community is where we make our bread and butter,'" says the CEO of BAWN. "'We need to help.'" By the way, one of this year's volunteers was a 16-year-old boy who said, "I wanted to help out my mom and her group today because when I was growing up, she was a single mom who raised me. I learned to do things to help her, but I wanted to support her in this today."' Whaddayaknow? Looks like single moms can raise some darn good kids after all! A definite contender for the Singles With Singletude Award!


"More Wed, Fewer Split Up"
asiaone news
Summary: In Singapore, the marriage rate is up, while the divorce rate is down. Or so it seems at first glance. Dig a little deeper, and you'll discover that although the absolute number of marriages increased, relative to the population, it decreased for women and remained the same for men.

"Point-in-Time Count: Number of Homeless Families in Rural/Suburban Connecticut Up 33 Percent From Last Year"
By Monica Polanco
The Hartford Courant
Summary: The title is misleading. Over half those "families" are single adults. Shockingly, 78% of those who participated in the study had "a source of income." Homelessness was blamed on disproportionately high rents in Connecticut.

"Salvation Army Delaware Dedicates Booth House"
do: delaware online
Summary: The newly renovated Booth House in Delaware will house and counsel homeless single women and single mothers.


"How Shared Housing Can Mean Market Share"
By Alec Appelbaum
The Faster Times
Summary: Nuclear families comprise only 17% of New York City's housing market. This article introduces innovative ways to design residential spaces specifically for single adults either living together or on their own.

"How to Meet People: Singles' Parties"
By Sasha Madarasz
3 News
Summary: A New Zealand dating columnist's friend investigates her options for meeting other singles in a three-part series. The first installment finds her attending several parties for singles with successful results.

"I'm Happy to Be a Sugar Mummy...I Could Never Go Back to Men My Own Age"
By Laura Stott
The Sun
Summary: Three British "cougars" open up about their dating experiences and why they prefer younger men.


Singles With Singletude Award
"Less Trouble and Strife: Swedes and the Single Life"
By Christine Demsteader
The Local
Summary: On Oct. 3, an "army of happy-to-be-single Swedes" celebrated a festival called Sweden's Biggest Singles Party. Founder Maria Kjell, who is divorced, came up with the event as an antidote to the exclusion, loneliness, and self-pity that some singles face. Although it was certainly an opportunity for singles with romance in mind to meet potential partners, Kjell hoped it would draw contented singles who just wanted to socialize in a safe, uncoupled environment. "'I enjoy being free,'" she says. "'I can go wherever I want and do whatever I choose--I don’t have to ask anybody. If I’m in a relationship and it’s not really good I always feel bad when I do things for myself.'" The festival included fun activities like golf, salsa, wine tasting, and massage as well as the requisite club nights and seminars on dating. The focus, however, was on validating the single life, and the article features commentary from other satisfied singles such as Kicki Biarsjo, an author and life coach who coined a new Swedish term for "single" that implies being comfortable with oneself. The Singles With Singletude Award has a new winner!

"The Next Hot Youth-magnet Cities"
By Sue Shellenbarger
The Wall Street Journal
Summary: Not content with Forbes rankings, the Wall Street Journal asked its own panel of experts to rate the top 10 cities for young, college-educated singles. Washington, DC and Seattle tied for first place with New York occupying runner-up status. The rest of the best include Portland, OR, Austin, San Jose, Denver, Raleigh, Dallas, Chicago, and Boston (yep, there's another tie in there somewhere).


"A Mile of Men Has Denver Talking"
By Sara Gandy
Summary: A Denver, CO radio station lined up single men a mile long down a busy boulevard, each waving a number so single ladies could call in and make requests.

"Men Prefer Fit and Curvy Women"
By Jari Love
Calgary Herald
Summary: Nice. Based on the results of an informal survey, the author contends that the reason so many people are single is because too many women keep themselves trim and men don't like slender women. Instead, single women who want to be worthy of men must find a way to be fit yet voluptuous. Right. Thanks, Ms. Love, for promoting impossible standards so that more single women will develop body image problems and become anorexics with breast implants. The truth is that "different strokes for different folks" applies as much to attraction as anything else, and there's a guy out there for every female silhouette. For that matter, why is no one discussing the male body types that single women prefer?

"Stress Less: Secrets of Successful Singlehood"
By Maud Purcell
The Connecticut Post
Summary: This excellent article by an open-minded psychotherapist urges singles to make the most of their lives without waiting for anyone else. According to Purcell, contentment with the single life is all about attitude. Wisely, she acknowledges that our matrimaniacal culture can make us feel incomplete alone but encourages singles to balk the cultural programming. Her game plan? Take responsibility for the decisions you've made that have contributed to your single status and either make different decisions to pursue the goal of coupling or decide to enjoy life on your own. If you choose the latter, figure out what you need to do to achieve fulfillment and then DO it without waiting for a relationship to "complete" you. Another top contender for the Singles With Singletude Award!


"Living a Single Life in Retirement"
By Dave Carpenter
The Arizona Republic
Summary: This smart article advises singles to start planning for retirement well in advance. Since the cost of supporting themselves in retirement is 40% higher for singles than for couples, who can share the bills, singles should be sure to stash away a large savings, defined as more than $50,000. Acquiring an annuity can help. For health care needs, purchasing disability and long-term care insurance is highly recommended. Finally, every single person should visit an attorney to formalize his or her end-of-life wishes via a will, durable power of attorney, health-care proxy, and living will.

"Recession's Unemployment Takes Bigger Toll on Singles"
By Paul Davidson
USA Today
Summary: A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has found that singles are losing their jobs at a rate 50% higher than married workers! That's a heck of a lot more jobs! The report blames the data on the overall youth and inexperience of single employees as well as on their purported tendency to be more selective. It also hypothesizes that the figures look worse than they are because a higher percentage of singles remain unmarried and stay in school longer than they used to. Interestingly, it doesn't investigate or even allude to the effects of workplace discrimination against singles. Thankfully, though, economist Howard Wall gets it right when he points out that married couples luck out because they can rely on two incomes.


"Couples Celebrate New Law"
By Lynnette Curtis and Ed Vogel
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Summary: The new law is the legalization of domestic partnerships in Nevada, which "guarantee [partners] many of the same rights and responsibilities as married couples" including "the ability to make health care decisions for each other, hold community property and automatically assume parentage for children." When are these legislators going to get it? Inequality under the law isn't eradicated by including a few more people in the "in" group. It's eradicated by eradicating it. That means no special "rights and responsibilities" for any particular group. Everyone gets the same rights, or no one gets any. Why is this so hard to understand?

"Romance Over Links, Not Drinks"
By Sheena Goodyear
The Toronto Star
Summary: Just when you thought there were enough niche dating sites, now there's one just for geeks of all sorts--computer geeks, gaming geeks, comic book geeks--you name it, they've got a geek for you.

"They're Single Mothers, Gordon, Not Fallen Women"
By Vince Cable
The Daily Mail
Summary: In response to angry Brits who want to cut welfare spending on single mothers, one politician defends them as "committed to caring for their children" and "very good mothers, but they are struggling." He goes on to describe the single moms he meets as mostly victims of abandonment or domestic abuse who do everything they can not to live off the system but can't get child support or an affordable place to live. What follows is an insightful discussion of the demonization of single mothers, the costs and benefits of stay-at-home parenting, and the role of financially strapped single dads.

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.