Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

The “Living Single” Attitude: Should Visitors to Dating Sites Run Into It?

Contributing to dating sites: Consciousness-raising or selling out?

Soon after the Singled Out was first published, I got a call from an editor at the online magazine called Happen. She said she loved Singled Out and wanted me to write for her magazine. Then she added that Happen was the magazine associated with Match.com, and I just laughed. I thought this was the start of another one of those conversations in which someone claims to love my book but soon gives away the fact that they actually haven't read it. They just figure that with "singles" in the title, it must be about dating.

So I asked her, incredulously, "Do you realize what Singled Out is about?" Amazingly, she actually did. She really had read the book, and said that she very much wanted my point of view represented in her magazine. That editor has now left the magazine, but while she was there I wrote stories about the myths about single people and other articles that had nothing whatsoever to do with becoming unsingle.

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Mostly, I've felt good about that. I kind of like the idea of singles going to a dating site and finding articles that are, like Singled Out and Single with Attitude, myth-busting, consciousness-raising, totally unapologetic takes on single life. Maybe they will think about their lives in new ways. Sometimes, though, I see my articles side-by-side with stories about keeping your romantic partner excited about you and I just cringe.

I've been obsessing about this lately because I sometimes link to other websites and blogs that include content I really like, but include dating stuff, too. Every now and then, readers mention in the comments section that they went to those sites and did not appreciate the conventional how-to-catch-a-mate parts. So I'd welcome hearing from more of you about what you think of both of these practices - my occasional contributions to those sites, and my linking to them on this blog.

Let me describe my two most recent experiences. A few days ago, I got requests from people at two different websites asking me to contribute to their site or to do cross-promotion. The name of one of these sounded too much like a dating site, but when I inquired further, the contact person told me that the goal was to create activities that would be fun for singles, and not to pair them up with dates.

The second person's site also seemed too much like a conventional singles site to me, so I told him that my Living Single blog was not for readers looking to become unsingle. He responded in part by saying that his site was "for those who don't want to be monks or nuns" but aren't traditional either. I have to admit that my first inclination was to respond with a rant about how the vast majority of single people who like their single lives are not monks or nuns. I wanted to banish any thought of having any sort of association with that site. Fortunately, I haven't responded yet. On second thought, maybe someone who thinks that happy singles are monks or nuns is exactly the sort of person I should be writing for.

As regular readers of Living Single know, this is a dating-free blog and it will continue to be. But I'd love to hear your thoughts about the other issues. Do you think it is a good or bad idea for me to contribute to sites that do have some conventional mate-seeking content? Do you mind that I link to sites that include cringe-inducing content along with some good stuff?

COMING ATTRACTION: Lisa Kathryn alerted me to the fact that the article on Wikipedia about singles is slim and unimpressive, and asked me to do something about that. I thought that was a great idea. (Thanks, Lisa!) My plan is to write a draft and post it here first to get your feedback before I submit it. If anyone wants to send me suggestions as I work on it in the next few days or so, feel free.

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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