Just in time for the holidays, here's a clever comeback to the question, "So, are you dating anyone," plus a few more living-single items that I hope will make you smile.
1. My hair stylist, who is recently divorced, told me he was sick of so many people asking him whether he was seeing anyone. Great conversationalist that he is, he knows who is happy and who is not. He finds that the people most likely to ask him whether he is dating are his clients who are unhappily married. Now, he has found the perfect retort: "No. Are you?"
2. In last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Deborah Solomon asked eminent University of Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum this question: "Do you find it difficult being a single woman in her early 60s, in a culture that values youth over wisdom?" Here's Nussbaum's answer:
"I think that's been overplayed. I'm just happy being myself. I sing for an hour before dinner, and right now I'm singing Cherubino's aria from ‘The Marriage of Figaro,' and playing the part of a teenager is natural to me. I also go clothes shopping with my friends. It's one way I have fun."
3. Remember Susan Boyle? She's the single woman I wrote about previously, called "fumpy," "dowdy," and worse, who blew away the judges on "Britain's Got Talent," once she broke into song. Well, she's back. Within 3 weeks, her new "I Dreamed a Dream" album racked up 1.8 million sales in the U.S., outdoing the likes of Eminem and Green Day.
4. The Atlantic magazine just announced its list of most-read articles for 2009. On the list? Sandra Tsing Loh's essay (discussed here), in which she recognizes what so many others hide or deny, that the fate of children in single-parent households is not that different from that of children raised by two married parents. Not anywhere on the list: Anything by Caitlin Flanagan, such as her Atlantic story in which she makes this argument about the author of Sex and the Single Girl: "How Helen Gurley Brown inspired a generation of home-wreckers."
5. The New Zealand Herald has just named a single man with no children the "2009 New Zealander of the Year." (Thanks to Shelley for the heads-up.) Notice the utter lack of condescension or singlism in the story.
6. In Singled Out, I noted that singles are not putting their lives on hold while they wait for The One. Instead, they are taking those big steps like buying homes. A recent report indicates that the trend is continuing, especially among single women. In fact, single women comprise 25% of all first-time home buyers. In my book, I also made fun of the assumption that when singles do buy property, they just want little condos or maybe a townhouse. The new report validates my mockery of that stereotype, too. Most single women - 63% -- choose freestanding houses (better known in the industry as "single-family homes"). Some are even doing their own renovations. As one such single woman noted, it is "an empowering experience."