The Dramatic Rise of Solo Living
A new book, Going Solo, offers surprising insight on the emergence of a new single majority that prefers to live alone.
One of the many things I’ve learned since launching Singular magazine and SingularCity, the affiliated social-networking community, is that we single people are a diverse group of individuals. We’re poor, we’re rich and we’re middle class. Some of us are dating or in a relationship — some of us aren’t. Some of us have never been married, others are divorced or widowed; some of us are comfortable with our singular status, others can’t wait to get un-single.
There is one thing, however, that we singles all have in common. We live in a society that says being married is the “right choice” and therefore, if we’re unmarried, we’re supposed to “fix” our singular status as soon as possible.
Fortunately, some very important changes are shifting the tired old idea that a person must be hitched in order to be socially successful, a stereotype reinforced by laws and perks that favor those who’ve said, “I do.”
It’s been a long hard slog, but negative attitudes about being single are beginning to change. One reason is the massive increase in the number of unmarried people in the world. It’s hard for the keepers of the status quo to keep their boots on our necks when we’re the up-and-coming majority.
Another reason is the emergence of what I call singular visionaries — sociologists, cultural anthropologists, scholars and even progressive bloggers who don’t think that singles need to be changed, but rather, that what needs to be changed is the way people think about singles.
A few of these visionaries have written books that provide valuable perspectives on what it means to be a single. I’m not talking about whether or not you currently have a boyfriend or girlfriend, I’m thinking of much bigger issues, such as those raised by social psychologist Bella De Paulo in Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored and Still Live Happily Ever After, a book that opened my eyes to the myriad of ways single people are discriminated against.
Another important book, Eric Klinenberg’s Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, is being released this week. Klinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University, provides a well-researched, fascinating read about the growing single majority, along with important insights about why this landmark shift in our culture is happening and how it will transform society as we know it.
On Tuesday, February 28, Singular magazine is organizing a reception and book signing with Klinenberg following an in-depth interview sponsored by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium (part of the library’s Aloud series). Journalist Laurie Winer will interview Klinenberg. The event is free, but you must reserve a ticket.
This is a must-see program if you are single because it will help you see how, even as a solo person, you are not alone, but are connected to others in an emerging social ecosystem that also allows you to enjoy your treasured solitude — even though there are times that living single is a challenge.
For anyone who works in politics, government policy, public relations, advertising or marketing, Klinenberg’s thinking will be a revelation. He understands that a demographic that spends $1.9 trillion a year and has the voting power to determine election outcomes can no longer be dismissed, ignored or marginalized. The sooner people in power acknowledge this, the sooner they will have the attention of the 50 percent of American adults they’ve been ignoring.
The Library Foundation of Los Angeles’s ALOUD series brings together today’s brightest cultural, scientific and political luminaries with the curious minds of Los Angeles.
Please reserve your ticket and join us on Tuesday, February 28 at 7 pm for an evening that will change your ideas on what it means to be single – the trends, the advantages and the challenges.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.
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