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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Singles in the News: 1/3/10-1/9/10

Better late than never! Here is last week's "Singles in the News." This time, the spotlight was on singles in the Middle East.


"Economic Hardship Changes Marriage Trends in Jordan"
By Doron Peskin
Summary: The average age of marriage is increasing in Jordan, presumably due to rampant inflation coupled with unemployment, which makes it difficult for singles to take on the financial responsibilities of marriage.


"Austrians Say Time Together Most Important Part of Relationship"
By Lisa Chapman
Austrian Times
Summary: Austrians also say that health and financial security are more important to them than "'happiness in love'" according to a marketing poll. Although 90% of singles agree that they "want a new relationship in 2010," a mere 28% report that they "will actively seek one." "Only" 27% of Austrian singles say they are "satisfied with their lives" as opposed to 38% of coupled Austrians. However, it seems like Austrians aren't very satisfied in general; a 38% satisfaction rate doesn't do much to recommend relationships as the antidote to discontentment.

By Ariel Levy
The New Yorker
Summary: The New Yorker reviews Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert and wonders how indeed the book's author convinces herself to jump in for another round of matrimony after listing all the reasons why she believes marriage has become a meaningless institution and a losing gamble for women.


"Women with Partner, Baby Gain More Weight Than Single Women"
By Sharyn Alden
Health Behavior News Service
Summary: Yep, it's true. Getting married and giving birth are even more predictive of weight gain than a woman's level of physical activity--at least so says "Effects of Having a Baby on Weight Gain" by Dr. Wendy J. Brown, et al. But lest Singletude be guilty of the same fearmongering that matrimaniacs engage in, you should know that marriage is only associated with an increase of four pounds. However, if a woman adds a baby to her new family, the weight gain jumps by nine pounds. The researchers hypothesize that married mothers are heftier because they undergo metabolic changes during pregnancy, have less time for exercise and healthy meal prep, and may eat more to keep up their energy levels or for "'mindless ingestion of comfort food.'" It's not clear why these "happily married everafter" women would need "'comfort food.'" It's also suggested that single women may keep themselves thin just to be attractive to men, implying that married women let themselves go.


"Many Live Happily Single Today"
By David Yount
Scripps News
Summary: An excerpt from the author's book, Celebrating the Single Life: Keys to Successful Living on Your Own, sends an inspirational message to singles about self-reliance. It's research-based, too!

Singleschmucker Award
"Married Couples Pay More Than Unmarried Under Health Bill"
By Martin Vaughan
Dow Jones Newswires
Summary: This report claims that the new health care bill discriminates against married people, who will not be eligible for the same benefits as single individuals because their two incomes will be counted as one. As an example of this "injustice," Vaughan writes, "For an unmarried couple with income of $25,000 each, combined premiums would be capped at $3,076 per year, under the House bill. If the couple gets married, with a combined income of $50,000, their annual premium cap jumps to $5,160--a 'penalty' of $2,084....The disparity is slightly smaller in the Senate version..." What Vaughan doesn't seem to realize is that two single people can't combine their premiums. Unless these two singles are cohabiting and thus sharing their finances and living expenses, which most single people aren't, each person has only his or her own $25,000 income to live on. If two single people, each making $25,000 a year, get married, they are now a family unit making $50,000 a year. Their living expenses remain about the same since two can live almost as cheaply as one, and simultaneously they're taxed less, so they make out a lot better together than either of them did as a single. Now, if we compared this couple to an individual earning $50,000 a year and found that the couple's premium cap was higher, then there would be grounds to argue that married couples were getting the short end of the stick, although, to be honest, two people do use more medical services than one, so even this argument would be suspect. But it's completely misleading to compare the couple, which is a financial unit, to two singles, who are not. For once, Congress is setting a precedent that is somewhat more equitable to singles, and marrieds don't like it. They want to have their cake and eat it, too--to be considered as a financial unit when it suits them but as two separate taxpayers when it doesn't. And that attitude is deserving of a Singleschmucker.


"Bahrain's New Independence"
By Sandeep Singh Grewal
The Media Line
Summary: An increase in educational and career opportunities has bolstered a sense of independence and self-sufficiency among Bahrain's single women, who are choosing to remain unmarried in greater numbers. Nevertheless, they are still subject to social prejudice.

"Credit Card 'Default High Among Bahraini Women'"
Summary: Also in Bahrain, a study of 301 women by the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research indicates that single women are more conservative with their credit card usage than married women are.

"One in Four Say They Will Leave a Legacy"
By Celina Ribeiro
Summary: A poll of British citizens finds, among other things, that one-third of single adults intend to donate part of their estates to charity. Only 20% of people who have ever been married plan to do the same.

"Single in the City: The Joy of Food and Chat Round My Table: Er...What Table?"
By Rym Ghazal
The National
Summary: In the United Arab Emirates, one single complains that apartments for one exclude dining rooms because it's assumed that singles don't prepare and eat meals at home.

Singles With Singletude Award
"Swamped with Singles"
By Yael Brygel
The Jerusalem Post
Summary: Like other industrialized societies, Israel's demographics are shifting as more people remain single for longer. Reasons for this are discussed. As in most other Westernized countries, the women's movement and soul mate ideals have had a significant impact. Laizy Shapira, the co-creator of Srugim, apparently a sort of Friends for the religious Israeli set, opens up about his inspiration for the show and singlism within the Jewish community, while the creators of a popular web site about the Jewish single life see prolonged singleness as a "problem" because most of the singles they meet say they'd rather be married. However, the singles interviewed here seem more concerned about how they are stigmatized than about finding marital partners. Says Shapira, "'...It shouldn't be treated as an illness. I know that there is a lot of goodwill, but a lot of the goodwill turns into questions like Why don't you compromise?....Why don't you go out with anyone that I offer you?...I think it needs to be accepted that it is part of the community and that it is not going to resolve itself.'"


"Govt Flouts SC Stay on Cash for Singless [sic]"
The Himalayan Times
Summary: Despite months of protests from single women, Nepal has announced that it has passed legislation to grant government-sponsored dowries to men who marry single females. The nation's single women have been up in arms over the controversial legislation, concerned that it will make them more vulnerable to reliance on and abuse by men. The organization Women for Human Rights will protest the law in the Supreme Court.

"More Travel Choice for Single Parent Families"
Summary: This looks interesting. Friendship Travel has launched, travel packages exclusively for single parents and their kids.

"S. Korean Bureaucrats Try Ministry of Matchmaking"
By Christine Kim and Jon Herskovitz
Summary: South Korea becomes the latest nation to meddle in its citizens' personal affairs. From the article: "The health ministry plans a matchmaking programme [sic] where it will bring single public servants together for social gatherings and community service work in the hopes of fostering love among available bureaucrats looking to wed." The government plans to expand the program to target other segments, as well.

"Top 5 Cities for Single Travel in 2010"
By Melanie Nayer
Summary: Not quite sure how they came up with this list, but the best travel destinations for single women are supposedly Key West, FL; Sedona, AZ; Paris; Galway, Ireland; and New York. Huh. Okay.


"Rebuilding Life After Fleeing Abuse"
By Cynthia Overweg
Ventura County Star
Summary: As if recovering from domestic abuse wasn't hard enough in itself, single women who leave abusive partners are finding themselves paddling as hard as they can to stay afloat in this economy. One single mom is profiled.

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

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

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have an unpublished rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a "Singletude Q&A" or your rant or rave in a "Singletude Sound-off"! Singletude makes every effort to republish submissions in their original form but reserves the right to edit your submission for length and clarity.


The Singlutionary said...

I love that there are singles struggling to have their voices heard and live their proud single lives abroad as well as in the states. YAY for the INTERNATIONAL singles movement. I feel like it takes a lot of bravery to be single in a culture where every single part of your life is supposed to be about marrying and having a family. In a way, we're steriotyped more but we're also given more latitude in a culture where you're supposed to party as long as you can before you eventually "settle down"

I don't know if that makes any sense. I am exhausted!

Thank you for this post!

Clever Elsie said...

Singlutionary: It makes total sense! Every time I read those stories about the singles movement in India, the United Arab Emirates, etc., I feel so silly for complaining about the US. But then I have to remind myself that just because it's a lot worse there doesn't mean it can't still be better here. Nevertheless, my heart really goes out to single people in countries that are completely devoid of civil rights protections for the unmarried and actively encourage discrimination. It must be such a nightmare to live in a culture that is so openly hostile toward you!

The Singlutionary said...

I totally agree. It does feel silly to complain in a society that is, comparatively, rather accepting.

Yet, at the same time, the open hostility is easier to identify and fight against in some ways. Singlism is the states is often very subtle and perhaps even subconscious.

I find myself thinking singlist thoughts all the time, despite my singlutionary/singletudist experiences.

Still, I'd rather be on this side of the fence - -