Welcome to "Singles in the News"! This week, single men, needy singles, and our single British cousins were a recurring theme.
"Women with Single Status More Successful Than Others: Survey"
Summary: Out of almost 1,600 single women surveyed at Lucknow University in India, 93% said that singles are more effective on the job. "All agreed that their hassle-free life was giving them great satisfaction from work as well as motivating them to do well in professional areas....Most of the single women were so satisfied with life that they were not willing to swap places with their 'happily married' counterparts." Despite reports of rampant discrimination including sexual harassment and restricted mobility, 53% of the single women studied called marriage an "'overrated institution,'" and 65% said it wasn't important to have a husband. One of the unusual aspects of this study, which increases its credibility, is that its participants hailed from all socioeconomic demographics. Therefore, we know that these enlightened attitudes about marital status weren't limited to an educated or professionally successful elite.
"A Haven for City's Homeless"
The Lancashire Evening Post
Summary: A shelter in England shares the Christmas spirit with homeless singles and helps them attain job skills.
"High Crimes: 10 Military Towns Are Among the Country's Most Dangerous"
By Bruce Watson
Summary: And why would that be? You got it! Because so many single men live there. According to the article, "Military bases tend to have high concentrations of young, single men living together in very close quarters....Young men, separated from their parents, wives, families and communities, may feel more temptation to commit certain types of crimes." While it's true that young people and men are more likely to wind up on the wrong side of the law than are older people and women, does marital status have anything to do with it? The truth is that singles in some age groups are more likely to commit certain crimes, and marrieds in other age groups are more likely to commit other crimes. (See Criminology by Stephan Hurwitz.) Furthermore, not all studies that claim to show an association between singleness and crime examine marital status apart from age and socioeconomic status, variables that have well-established links to criminal activity. Even in cases in which it can be proven that single status is correlated with criminal behavior, that doesn't mean that marriage would have a preventive effect. Criminals tend to start offending at a young age, before most men are married. So it's equally likely, if not more so, that men who are offenders don't get married as it is that marriage has some transformational power that reduces the likelihood a man will offend. All that said, wait till you reach the end of this article and realize how the journalist has been misleading you! As it turns out, although some of the highest crime rates, especially in property crime, occur near military bases, the median crime rate in military towns is well below the national average. Gee...Looks like someone's theory just got blown out of the water! And shame on Watson for burying this crucial bit of info in the last paragraph! An easy win for the Singleschmucker.
"More Online Shopping Expected This Christmas"
Summary: A study of online shoppers in Ireland finds that single males ages 18-34 account for about two-thirds of all Internet purchases.
"Single Women's Crusade Against Orthodoxy"
By Ramesh Kumar Paudel
Summary: Nepal's Women Welfare Advocacy Forum, which has been fighting for the rights of single women since 2005, has opened a cyber cafe and is teaching computer fundamentals at a discount for families headed by single mothers. The proceeds will be used to financially assist single female entrepreneurs.
"Unhappy Single; Likely Unhappy Married"
By JJ Smith
Summary: A relationship columnist with loud and clear singletude emphasizes the value of completing your own life rather than expecting someone else to complete it. Marriage, she maintains, is no cure-all, and the single state provides an excellent opportunity for exploring your own interests and building your own life. "If you are unhappy single, you will likely be unhappy married, except then you can blame your spouse instead of yourself for your unhappiness....Being single is not a problem, but an opportunity to reinvest in your life and your spiritual growth. Maximize your career, interests, hobbies, and relationships while you're single, and make that time the best days of your life....Nothing outside of you can produce long-lasting satisfaction and happiness--no mate, money, job, house, or car..." Smith goes on to differentiate the terms "lonely" and "alone" as they apply to singles. None of this is new, but it all bears repeating.
Singles With Singletude Award
"Key Words: Singled Out"
By Adam Key
Summary: A single male college student, age 25, dreads Thanksgiving because he knows his family will give him the fifth degree about why he's not married. The observant Key writes that this line of questioning "presumes that I plan to get married, and more offensively, implies that there is something wrong with not being married already...If you're single and 25, society starts treating you in much the same way I imagine they used to treat lepers. People legitimately think that there is something wrong with you if you are not actively seeking a mate. You're immediately assumed to either be someone trying to have sex with as many women as possible, or a gigantic loser who couldn't get a date to save his life. Either way, like our leprous brethren of yesteryear, we end up shunned....The truth is, I am rather happy living the way I currently am, and it's a lifestyle that I could not maintain if I was in a committed relationship." He goes on to explain how being single allows him to fully pursue his studies and friendships in a way that he couldn't with a partner around and concludes with the eloquent statement, "Simply because you don't have a significant other does not make you insignificant." Somehow, I think this young man has a tremendous future ahead of him! We'll start him on his way with a Singles With Singletude Award.
"Wanted: Senior Hotties Looking for Love"
By Niyaz Pirani
The Orange County Register
Summary: A Californian widower has started a singles club just for seniors with a focus on helping other widows and widowers come to terms with loss and move on.
"Advocates Call for a 'Safe Park' for the Homeless in Every Kitsap City"
By Rachel Pritchett
Summary: Homelessness is a big problem in Bremerton, WA, especially for single women and single moms. The possibility of a "tent city" or a "safe park" where the homeless could sleep in their cars is discussed.
"Bells Shoals Concert to Help Needy"
By Yvette C. Hammett
Brandon News & Tribune
Summary: A concert will benefit struggling single moms in Florida.
"Elsie and Arnold Could Win 1m in Sport Cash"
By Becky Inman
Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph
Summary: Sorry, don't look at me. I can't help you with that. The "Elsie" referred to here is a British euphemism for a single, retired senior woman, and an "Arnold" is her male counterpart. This article describes Sport England's efforts to entice this demographic to make physical fitness a priority.
"The End of the Bachelor Pad"
By Kate Burt
Summary: In the global recession, unemployment has hit men in the UK much harder than women, and the well-heeled bachelors among them have been forced to downsize their upscale, gadget-filled pads and move out of the prohibitively expensive capital or in with roommates or girlfriends. Without the benefit of two incomes, these single men find their quality of life downgraded as they sell off prized possessions that don't fit in studio apartments and forgo the social gatherings they used to host. More evidence that there is something very wrong with a socioeconomic structure in which an individual can't support himself adequately on his full-time income.
"FoodShare Still Dysfunctional in State Hands"
By Tom Held
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Summary: The Hunger Task Force of Wisconsin estimates that the state owes food stamp applicants approximately $11.7 million. Why the backlog? Because low-income, child-free single adults have been applying in record numbers.
"The PeopleFinders Network Announces Lie Detector Applications for the iPhone: 'Stud or Dud' and 'Are They Really Single' Help Daters Separate the Good from the Bad"
Summary: Billed as a revolutionary technology for single daters, these new iPhone apps promise to let users run spontaneous, ridiculously cheap (think $0.99) background searches from wherever they happen to be. That cutie at the bar said he's single? Call his bluff while he's in the men's room. Your coffee date said she's 29? Catch her in her lie while she grabs her latte. Is fingertip access to confidential info crucial or creepy? You decide.
"Single in the Suburbs"
By Benn Farrell
Highlands Ranch Herald
Summary: The second part of a series on singles in suburban Colorado profiles one divorced professional male's foray into Internet dating and the local bar scene.
"Single Londoners Leading the Way on 'Soli-days'"
By Rashid Razaq
London Evening Standard
Summary: Brits are loving solo travel. Internet travel agency ebookers.com reports that 15% of its clients in the last year booked trips for one, with men outnumbering women two to one. Single Brits traveling alone are also more likely to be professionals aged 40-60 who hail from London. Solo's Holidays, which books travel packages for singles, claims that the number of solo travelers in England now rivals the number of couples and families.
"Our View--Hunger Becomes National Security Issue"
Summary: According to the Department of Agriculture, some 49 million American households suffer from so-called "food insecurity," a euphemism for hunger. These are disproportionately single female-headed families.
"Homeless Vets to Receive Gifts from UM"
By Josh Potter
The Montana Kaimin
Summary: A transitional housing program for Montana veterans is accepting donated Christmas gifts for their Adopt-a-Veteran initiative. A case manager says, "'These are single adults without any kind of family contact....Many of these guys have not had a personal gift in years.'"
"Single Women Are Hit Hard by the Recession"
By Francine Huff
Summary: Currently, 10.3% of single women are unemployed as opposed to 5.7% of married women. Yet single women are the ones who can least afford to be without an income. From the article: "Unmarried women who lose their jobs may be more at risk of having to give up their homes, cash out retirement accounts or even end up in homeless shelters. Many of them lack basic health care for themselves and their children and have little access to financial resources that could tide them over until they find a job." Single men aren't immune to this disturbing trend, either. In fact, it's even worse for them, with 14.1% of single men unemployed versus 6.5% of married men. While it's wonderful that this article is drawing attention to an important employment disparity, note how only single women make it to the headline. Furthermore, the journalist excuses the higher rate of unemployment for single men with the rationalization that they aren't as needy because most of them don't have children living with them. Again, it feels a little self-defeating to pick on a writer who's clearly on the side of singles, but I can't help thinking that every adult should be entitled to a living wage and fair treatment on the job because every life has worth, not just the lives of the very young.
"The Truth About Dating: Do You Have a Dating Addiction?"
By Steve Penner
Summary: A professional matchmaker wonders whether some singles can become so enamored of dating that they never want to pick one partner. Uhhhh...yeah. Isn't this what eligible bachelors have been accused of doing since time immemorial? The writer defines a dating addict as "constantly searching to meet the perfect person, feeling that there is always someone out there who is just a little better than the person that he or she might currently be dating." Sure enough, he plucks one of those eligible bachelors out of his client pool as an illustration. This is hardly an uncharted phenomenon, but the article is worth a skim if only to get inside the mind of one such "player."
"Warren Co. Shelter Needs Personal-care Items"
By Elaine Trumpey
Summary: The only shelter for singles in Warren County, OH is in need of "personal care products and cleaning and paper supplies." Despite public funding, it is always overcrowded and in the red.
"When Parting Really Is Sweet: Divorce Cakes Sparked by Trend for Separation Celebrations"
By Luke Salkeld
Summary: Feast your eyes on these humorous, if somewhat twisted, "divorce cakes," which top off trendy divorce parties in the UK. In explanation, one cake baker says, "'Divorce can be a horrible thing but I would like to think comical divorce cakes can help lighten the mood.'"
"Love & Other Personalities"
By Bryony Gordon
The Sydney Morning Herald
Summary: An interview with Helen Fisher, author of Why Him? Why Her?, details her theory that a neurochemical cocktail is responsible for creating one of four main personality types in every individual and that these types determine who we are attracted to. It all seems a little simplistic to me, but give it a read and reach your own conclusions. Fisher also ponders the sociopolitical changes that have allowed women to be more selective in choosing their mates and how that has resulted in a surge in single people. Unfortunately, she refers to long-term singleness as an "extended adolescence." Beyond that, she has some rather original opinions about things like romance, sex differences, traditional gender roles, and remarriage. I'm not sure they're supported by research, but they're interesting.
Do you have thoughts on any of the stories above? (When commenting, please reference the title of the article.)
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Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have 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.
Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles
Monday, November 23, 2009
Welcome to "Singles in the News"! This week, single men, needy singles, and our single British cousins were a recurring theme.