Skip to comments.Single and smiling
Posted on 02/14/2004 11:12:45 AM PST by qam1
Stacy Hoilett is single. So is her younger sister, Aisha. Today, Valentine's Day, the two plan to ignore the barrage of commercials for flowers, chocolates and diamonds and party hearty with their single friends.
''Just because I'm single, it doesn't mean I'm sitting around the house waiting for the phone to ring,'' says Stacy, 30, a kindergarten teacher. 'We're not hanging around saying, `Poor us.' ''
Aisha, 29, a third-grade teacher, agrees: ``It's just another day.''
In this era of reality television courtship shows like Average Joe and The Bachelorette, the acceptance of singledom may seem a bit odd. But for a growing number of men and women, being single provides many benefits, including privacy and the freedom to come and go as they want.
''I always say golfing is my job and fishing is my hobby,'' says Alex Romani, a 27-year-old golf pro in Fort Lauderdale. ``I love it that I have time to do both.''
Eduardo Dieppa, a 30-year-old accountant, puts it this way: ``If I'm going to be single, I'm going to enjoy it and meet a lot of people. Most of my friends are pretty content with it, and we all enjoy each other. We do go out a lot.''
This doesn't mean that, given the right circumstances and the right person, single people wouldn't couple off. In fact, every singleton interviewed, man or woman, Baby Boomer or Generation X, insisted that meeting a soul mate was still important. They have nothing against marriage, either.
''I have money to travel, I own my own place, and I've got my career, so I'm ready,'' says Dieppa, who will also be finishing his law degree this spring. ``But I'm not going to get into a relationship just to be with someone. It has to be the right person.''
That sentiment -- a preference to go it alone instead of being with the wrong person -- was echoed repeatedly. Listen:
From Norma Agras, a 52-year-old divorced mother of two grown children: 'I'm not closing myself off to the possibility of meeting someone, but I like my life the way it is. My motto is: `My life, my terms.' ''
From David Porras, 32, of Williams Island: ``This is temporary, but I'm going to take my time. I want it to be right.''
And from Romani: ``It's nice to have someone to share things with, but what's the hurry?''
Though 9 of 10 Americans will eventually get married, more and more are postponing marriage. The median age at first marriage for women increased by 4.3 years, to 25.1. between 1970 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For men, the increase was by 3.6 years, to 26.8 years.
The percentage of people who have never married is also increasing. For example, 72.8 percent of women between 20 and 24 had never tied the knot in 2000. In 1970, that was 35.8 percent. As you slide up the age scale -- 25 to 29 -- the percentage of never-marrieds actually tripled, from 10.5 percent to 38.9 percent. The same holds true for men: 51.7 percent of 25- to 29-year-old men were still single in 2000 compared with 19.1 percent in 1970.
Some say we are approaching the day when the United States will be an unmarried majority nation. Already, 49.5 percent of the country's households are headed by unmarried adults, and even if you factor in cohabitation arrangements, the figure remains high. There are now more households with people living alone -- 26 percent -- than households occupied by married couples with children, 25 percent.
''The assumptions of the '50s don't apply to the 21st century,'' says Thomas F. Coleman, executive director of Unmarried America, a California-based group that bills itself as a civil rights organization working against marital status discrimination. ``It's not a revolution but an evolution.''
In Florida alone, according to 2002 Census data, there were more than 5.2 million unmarried adults, making it one of a handful of states with an unmarried majority (51.1 percent). Of those, 1.8 million lived alone. Some cities scored high on the single household numbers, too: Miami (63.4 percent), Miami Beach (72.6 percent), Fort Lauderdale (67.8 percent), and Hollywood (58.5 percent)
''There are many more choices out there now,'' Coleman adds. ``You can't just turn back the clock.''
THE NEW CONTINUUM
Demographers and sociologists say there are many reasons why we are redefining the traditional school-marriage-children continuum: economically self-sufficient women, high divorce rates, the fear of making a mistake and increased commitment to careers.
''My parents got divorced when I was 13,'' Aisha Hoilett says, ``and that affected me. I want to get married one time, and I want to get it right.''
Whatever their reason for going solo, their sheer numbers are changing the way we think of families, even, perhaps, the way we think of Valentine's Day. Sasha Cagen, a San Francisco writer, has just published a book about this phenomenon. Titled Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, her book has hit the media circuit with a vehemence. She calls today's singles a group that ``resists the tyranny of coupledom in favor of independent self-expression.''
What's more, being single doesn't mean you're alone. Nor does it mean you're a loner. Quirkyalones, she adds, are actually very social and have many friends.
Last year Cagen organized the first Quirkyalone International Day, celebrated in New York, San Francisco, Providence, R.I., and Glasgow, Scotland. This year parties are also planned in more cities. The date: Today, coinciding with Valentine's Day.
''We're going through a major historical transition,'' Cagen says. ``The meaning of the word itself is changing. It's no longer this pitiful worrisome state. Being single isn't horrible. It's really being seen more as a choice and something that can be positive and fulfilling.''
HIP TO BE SINGLE
Not too long ago, she adds, single women over 25 were considered old maids. Now it's hip to be single. Consider the enormous popularity of Sex and the City, of the advent of single servings, and of housewarming and birthday registries for singles at stores like Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.
Yet, while the idea of spinsterhood is a blast from the past, women still face a muted social stigma. How else to explain why several women, many of whom are actively dating and successful in their careers, refused to be interviewed for this story?
One, a 30-something, said: ``We talk a good game. Reality is, all of us eventually want to meet that perfect someone.''
Reality is, too, that the pressure grows as women get older. Aisha Hoilett says friends and family often ask her why she hasn't coupled off, and the questions are particularly pointed at weddings and bridal showers.
'You end up asking yourself, `Am I too picky?' But then you hear about a split-up, and I think I would rather be safe than sorry.''
Have faith in the future:
(Okay, I don't really know if he's Korean or not...)
Ha! When I was a little kid, it always felt as if my parents were so much older than the other kids' parents -- mine had me in their late 20s while most of my elementary school classmates' parents were closer to 20 (or younger). Then again, I was among the very few whose parents went to college and grad school before they even met. :D
Those will make you fat, better send them to me.
Sounds like the true reality of life in general. I once got the full pitch from the Mormons (had them over each week for about 6-7 weeks). They finally ended up giving me the story of the guy who only had a couple people at his funeral versus the Mormon housewife who had 300 people at hers. That's when I realized I didn't need to be a Mormon and don't want anybody at my funeral.
Those who are expecting that somewhere there is a "perfect" someone who will make them happy are delusional. If you put two unhappy people together in a relationship, they will just make each other miserable. People who bring their happiness into a relationship stand a better chance of success.
Thanks a lot! Now I have to go glue my medicine cabinet shut.
"When Karaoke Goes Bad"
Good point, and come to think of it when I divorced, I came out ahead financially and didn't have change abode or alter my life in any way.
Except to alter my diet a bit, turn in some unused female attire to the SA, and realize that I can now roll over in bed without concern of facing someone who is in a fit of rage for ubruptly beeing awoke!
Basically a bunch of dates in one evening using musical chairs. Emphasizes quantity (8 dates) over quality (8 minutes per date). I'll never do it even though I do pretty well at most job interviews.
But I hadn't heard of the Pilates until today since I only lift rocks.
I'm your age (plus or minus a year), and I know what you mean, but I think these days I would be sadder with the wrong girlfriend than no girlfriend if I really thought about it.
Ah, hell. Even that isn't really true. So these women are crazy; it is always nice to have someone around. How many people really want to be single? Although some of these women may be "okay" being single, I'll bet they aren't really happy. I don't know how many women around here in their mid-30s that I run into that suddenly realized they don't want to be single and become ultra-desperate as a result. They lied to themselves for so long that they swing to the opposite extreme psychologically, when the overwhelming weight of reality hits them.
At least you know exactly what you really want and are honest about it, trend du jour be damned. Emotional and psychological maturity goes a long way toward eventually finding a really rewarding relationship. A lot of the Super-Single-to-Suddenly-Desperate women find themselves in bad relationships due to rather excessive compromises. A disaster anyway you slice it.
As to why I meet so many of these women: I live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Enough said.
The number of sexual partners a woman has had doesn't say a whole lot about how "perfect" she is. Mind you, a truly excessive quantity is probably a symptom of some other issues, but I've never met a woman that expected the guy to be a virgin either. And I personally don't have any insecurities that would make me demand virginity from a women.
If you are measuring "perfect" as an inverse function of how many sexual partners someone has had, that is pretty much missing the point. I would prefer an exceptional woman who has been with a number of other guys than a brain-dead boat anchor of a virgin.
In the big picture, long-term scheme of things, minor statistical deviations with respect to sexual experience are largely inconsequential (though I guess virginity would be a statistical deviation).
Really, I always thought that area the male-female ratio is way in the female's favor because you got (or had) a lot of tech jobs which tend to be filled overwhelmingly by males and being California which if I remember correctly is one of only 3 states that have more males than females (Alaska and Nevada are the others)
Granted it's San Fran and all those men for lack of better words "Aren't available", But I would still think most woman would have enough choices that they wouldn't get that desperate
So true that its creepy. I've never done it, but I know people who have and many places around here have that kind of atmosphere as the defacto norm.
You can feel yourself being measured in a dozen different ways for things that have nothing to do with who you really are. It kind of freaks me out to the extent that I see myself get evaluated like a tuna at the Tokyo fish market when I have a few drinks with some friends at a local bar. Most of the women really truly could not care less about me unless my "statistics" are good (which unfortunately they are), so I've learned to lie to make myself seem less interesting from a purely statistical standpoint. The smart girls can see through it though (i.e. they usually extrapolate from personality or something), so it is a reasonably good filter.
First conceived in New York City in the early nineties, its simple format and reputation for getting results for participants, has led Speed Dating to its current position as the worlds fastest growing dating craze.
The beauty of Speed Dating lies in its no-nonsense approach. You take an equal number of male and female singletons, put them in a room and ensure that they have a few minutes with all of the other singles available. It really is as easy as that! Of course, if you have never been to a Speed Dating event before then you will want to know exactly what to expect. If you are one of those who worry about the finer details then read on
Original Speed Dating events begin early, usually between 7 and 7.30. You will need to register with our representatives to start with; they will issue you with a scorecard. This will help you to keep track of the singles that you would like to meet again. After a short period of gathering and mingling, you will meet your compere for the evening who will run through detailed instructions and tell you your starting position.
The Speed Dating is split into two sections, each lasting around an hour, there will be an interval of around 30 minutes. You will have between 3 and 5 minutes dating time with each person, after which you need to tick a box on your score sheet- yes, I would like to meet this person again or no. Thanks but no thanks. Make sure that you do this after each date to avoid confusion and embarrassment. At the end of the second session our team collect the cards and there is an opportunity for daters to meet and mingle informally-this is often where the real action begins, so make sure you dont disappear too quickly!
After the event our Original boffins analyse the scorecards. If the dates you have ticked as yeses have reciprocated your affections then we have a match. You will be emailed first names and email addresses for all of your matches.
And thats it. Simple? Yes. Fun? Most definitely. Great way to meet your perfect match? We think so, but its really up to you
I wouldn't either. The whole idea is repugnant. Besides, it takes some time - certainly longer than 8 minutes! - to get a bit of a feel for someone. Or at least it does for me.