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.

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.


The Singlutionary said...

A giant party of shamelessly single swedes? Awesome! And also Awesome is Austin, TX for making it onto the great places to be single list. And last, but not least: Sucessfully Single! I love that concept: Being full on your own and not pining away for someone to complete you (even if you do end up eventually meeting someone down the road who changes your life and your direction -- in a good way, of course).

This has been a great week. And thank you for the list.

I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hope that you quickly and fully recover from all that ails you!

Samantha said...

I just found your website and wanted to say thanks for putting it together! Hope you feel better.

Special K said...

You had me a surgery. I didn't even read the stories because truthfully, your story is more important to me. Please, treat yourself nicely. Can I send you chocolate?

Clever Elsie said...

Singlutionary: Sweden is always ahead of the game, isn't it? Here we have parties for cougars (which still, really, revolve around dating). There they have parties just for the sake of being single!

That's right! Austin, TX is your neck of the woods! Sounds like you can vouch for its place on the list.

Thank you for the positive thoughts sent in my direction. :)

Samantha: Hi! Welcome to Singletude. Glad to have you here, and thanks for the good wishes.

Special K: Aww, thank you--both for your concern for my well-being and your offer of German chocolates (delish!). I'll send you a little email soon and fill you in so you can stop worrying. :)