In China, the Amazon-like ecommerce giant, Alibaba, turned November 11 into a National Singles Day extravaganza. November 11 seemed like the right day to them because of the four ones, 11-11. Here in the U.S., the talented and indefatigable Karen Reed is organizing the second of what she hopes will be an annual event by the same name, National Singles Day, on January 11, which of course is 1-11.
I’ll tell you about the event and encourage you to attend if you can, or to get a head start on organizing an event closer to you for January 11 of next year. This blog is about thoughtfulness about single life and not just announcements so I also want to discuss briefly the different kinds of ways of thinking about celebrating single people. In my next post, I’ll address the “one” theme of these celebrations.
How, If At All, Should Single People Be Celebrated?
How should single people be celebrated? For some, celebrations are of no interest, and I understand that perspective. Some single people are proud of the fact that they do not spend tens of thousands of dollars celebrating themselves, as so many couples do when they get married. But for those who think it is important to recognize single people, approaches differ enormously. In China, National Singles Day is a consumerist extravaganza, with retail sales doubling those of the U.S.’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Single people are just the excuse for the shopping-fest, in which people of all relationships statuses gleefully participate.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Unmarried and Single Americans Week (Singles Week for short), celebrated for more than a decade during the third week of September. The week is taken seriously by the Census Bureau, which issues an annual Facts for Features press release to mark the event. Thanks to the leadership and vision of Thomas Coleman, Singles Week has been a week of consciousness-raising, advocacy, and activism for singles rights. It is during Singles Week that we are most likely to be reminded that single people are targets of singlism – stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination – and that needs to stop.
Karen Reed’s vision for Singles Day combines issues of awareness and social justice, business interests, and just plain fun. As the press release notes:
“Reed’s vision is to establish a singles holiday in the U.S. with a focus on eradicating outdated singles stereotypes by combining recognition and celebration with Singles Day specials and discounts, establishing a day of good will and good business for consumers and merchants alike.”
About the National Singles Day Event
This year’s event takes place on Sunday January 11, 2015 in West Hollywood, CA, from 1-4 pm.
It begins between 1 and 2 pm with a block rally, and continues with the main event between 2 and 4 pm at The Horn Restaurant & Bar, on 8893 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90060.
Last year’s event, attended by more than 200 people (singles and couples and families – everyone’s invited), included guest speakers, music, entertainment, giveaways, and Singles Day discounts at participating local businesses. Karen promises that this year’s event will be even more impressive. I contributed a signed copy of Singled Out as one of the give-aways. Madison Hildebrand, who is single and the star of “Million Dollar Listing” on Bravo TV, will make a special guest appearance.
The US National Singles Day website is here and the Facebook page is here. So go, and enjoy! And if you will, come back here and share your experiences in the Comments section. (Or contact me if you want to write a guest post.)
Over the course of my many years of blogging about singles issues, I sometimes call out businesses that treat single people badly. But I also offer special praise to those who recognize, respect, and celebrate singles. A while ago, I started this collection: “Oscars and Razzies – Singles Category.” The sponsors of this year’s National Singles Day deserve to be in the Oscars category. They are Adam Klesh’s restaurant and bar, The Horn in West Hollywood, the venue for the January 11, 2015 National Singles Day event, and publisher Mia Dinelly’s magazine, West Hollywood Lifestyle.