Singles Week Spins Out of Control

Will National Singles Week go the way of Mothers Day?

Posted Sep 23, 2009

After just two days of blogging National Singles Week (September 20-26), I already missed my goal of posting every day. This was not a matter of laziness. The concept for Day 3 (yesterday) was supposed to be a straightforward one: I'd round up everything out there so far marking National Singles Week.

I thought I knew about most of the Singles Week stories, but I searched for phrases such as "National Singles Week" and "Unmarried and Single Americans Week" just to be sure. Pages of returns filled my screen. At first, I was psyched - maybe singles were getting even more recognition than I realized. They were, but in too many instances, it was not the kind of attention that Singles Week was meant to inspire.

As Tom Coleman noted in his book, The Domino Effect, National Singles Week started out as an act of advocacy, education, and political reform. It was meant to be a week to enlighten the nation about the growing number of singles in society, their contributions, and the realities of their lives.

It was not supposed to be about dating, matchmaking, or mocking people who are single.

I know that there are singles who are interested in dating, so it is fine that there are websites and blogs about that. But I'm not so sure that the topic should be linked to National Singles Week. Some days I think that if matchmaking and the like have a small presence this week, that's fine; on other days, I just don't think such pursuits should be linked to Singles Week at all.

Holidays have a way of evolving over time, beyond what their originators intended. Take Mothers Day, for instance: "The women who originally celebrated Mother's Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war." Now it's about breakfast in bed. We'll just have to see what happens to Singles Week over time.

Below are the results of my search for mentions of National Singles Week 2009, as of yesterday. At the top are some of the sites and statements that are most true to the original Singles Week spirit. I start with the Census Bureau. It is noteworthy, I think, that the U. S. Census Bureau now marks Singles Week every year by producing a "Facts for Features" list. I knew that groups such as the Alternatives to Marriage Project would celebrate the week. I'm especially happy that a group called the Council on Contemporary Families chose to mark Singles Week - now that's a contemporary take on living single! Unmarried and Single Americans Week started out strong in the mainstream media this year, with a front-page story in the Chicago Sun-Times titled, "Are single people getting a raw deal?" I also found 5 press releases linked to Singles Week.

There are some friends of Living Single we can always count on to write in enlightened ways. I've listed the ones who have blogged about Singles Week. (I'm not including the Blog Crawl, except to mention the schedule at the end, since I've already posted about it here.) It was interesting to find a list of gatherings organized to mark Singles Week, and a survey conducted for the occasion. (See my note below on the uses and misuses of the results.) I also discovered a list of sites that were new to me and seemed promising. I found a few tweets about Singles Week, too.

Some sites just published facts about singles, with little or no commentary. Others mentioned Singles Week in a list of holidays. Another set of sites promoted the marketing possibilities of the week.

At the end of my list are the sites that perpetuate the stereotype that what single people want more than anything else is to become unsingle. A few are even worse than that. I thought about not mentioning those at all, but decided against it. The theme of this post is, "here's what's out there about Singles Week," so everything is in (except for specific individuals who used the week as a hook for reeling in a date in their personal ads).

After Singles Week ends on September 26, I'll update the list of Singles Week mentions, but at that point, I'll only include the enlightened ones. So if I've missed anything, or if you see any other stories or blogs in the next few days that are true to the original intent of National Singles Week, please send me the links or post them in the comments section.

WHO IS MARKING NATIONAL SINGLES WEEK? HERE'S THE LIST

The U. S. Census Bureau marks the week
Here's their Facts for Features for 2009

Advocates and educational groups have their say
AtMPAtMP blog
Council on Contemporary Families
Bella DePaulo on the Huffington Post
Letter from Tom Coleman in Singular City
Unmarried America

Stories in the Media
Chicago Sun-Times front page story
Examiner stories featuring single moms:
Single mom 1
Single mom 2
Glamour magazine

Press releases
Council on Contemporary Families
Society of Single Professionals (Quotes Rich Gosse, described as "the first candidate in history to campaign on a ‘Fairness for Singles Platform,' when he ran for Governor in California's historic Recall Election of 2003")
Single film (perpetrates singlism; more enlightened films are here)
Single Edition
Zoosk survey

A few of our friends who always write about singles in enlightened ways on their blogs
Rachel's Musings
Lisa and Christina's Onely column at Quirkyalone

A familiar site that covers dating but not just that
Single Edition

Some promising new discoveries
I may not agree with every word on all of these sites, but there is some potential enlightenment in each.
Single Woman TV
Sixty and Single in Seattle
Rick Duncan
Richard's Pretensions
Kaye Dacus
Forward Kansas

Singles Week Gatherings
San Francisco Chronicle announces National Singles Week Party
Announcement from the Society of Single Professionals
Cougar Party
Rich Gosse
Unity Social Club (Meetup)
National Singles Week Conference (Christian singles)
National Singles Week Connection Party (Christian singles)

Sites that pose questions, report facts, and some hard-to-categorize posts
Tres Sugar
Hawaii 247
Singles Chronicles
SHI Symbol International
Daily Musings by slynnt
Crush Me Chicago
No Comment!
Morre Blog Life

A survey
(Beware of reports claiming that 52% of all singles want to be married. The survey participants were not a national sample of singles - they were people who signed up with a dating site! Gives that 52% a whole different meaning.)
Here's one story about the Zoosk survey
Here's a better one

Some tweets
Tweet 1
Tweet 2
Tweet 3

Tapping the marketing and business opportunities
Yahoo Search Marketing Blog
Small Business Newz
Branding Ideas
Small Business Development Center Research Network

Sites that list holidays or make fun of them
Librarians Internet Index
Holistic Creativity
Mobile Phone Man
Mama Cheaps

From matchmaking and other stereotypes to just plain offensive
Online Personals Watch
Sex on My Desk
Celebrate Love
Betty Confidential
The Tao of Bachelorhood
Dating sites reviews
Cyber Dating Expert
Online Dating Insider
Adults Online Life Stories
Christian Matchmaking
Live Journal
L8Night Magic FM Radio
Blo's Blah Blah Blog
Media Empire Blog (truly offensive)


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Today on the National Singles Week BLOG CRAWL:

The National Singles Week blog crawl is continuing. On Day 3, Ronnie Ann Ryan of Never Too Late guest posted on Single Women Rule. Day 4 features author and Single Women Rule co-founder Keysha Whitaker (instead of Terry Hernon MacDonald, the other co-founder, as originally announced) guest blogging on Sex, Lies & Dating.

This Friday (September 25), Laura Dave, author of the novel The Divorce Party, will guest blog here on Living Single. (I've already seen a preview and I love it!) The next day (Saturday September 26), I'll close out the blog crawl by guest blogging over at our friends at Onely. Those last two days of the blog crawl will be dating-free.

To read more about the singles week blog crawl, click here. You will also find a complete schedule of the guest bloggers and the sites hosting them at the end of that post.

Singles Week Special: Give yourself or someone you know the gift of attitude - Single with Attitude, that is! You can get $3 off your purchase of the book between now and the end of Singles Week (September 26) when you order it from this website and use this coupon code during checkout: WR6PYUZQ. (You can also order it from Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version, but I can't create discounts on the Amazon pages.)