Everyone knows about Valentine’s Day, the American holiday where people are encouraged, through blatant commercialism, to celebrate their love for another person. However, the Chinese developed another festival, this one devoted to being single.
It started among Nanjing University students in the 1990s as “Bachelor’s Day” where the single male students would party with their single friends. The day November 11th was chosen because 11-11 is all ones (i.e. singles). The gender disparity in China means dating is even tougher there than in the USA.
Although it started at a local university among men, the “holiday” has spread in popularity around China and now includes both sexes. It is celebrated through parties among single people and even blind dates (for those who don’t want to be single anymore).
It might surprise you to know that Singles Day is the largest online shopping day of the year. Yes, Chinese men and women spend more money on this day celebrating their independence than they do celebrating romance. In fact, the holiday has taken on more of a commercial meaning recently, as singles spend money on themselves.
I was intrigued when I first learned about Singles Day (Guanggun Jie in Chinese) because I think this Chinese festival would be perfect for the United States. As a culture, America (as well as most of Europe and Australia) tends to glamorize relationships while condemning or mocking the single life. Singles Day 2017 is much needed in the USA.
Look at most movies as an example. Almost all of them have a similar theme: a person is extremely lonely or has been through a lot in his or her life. The current situation just isn’t working. However, through a series of unlikely events, that single, lonely individual meets someone amazing! It shouldn’t work out because they are total opposites. But, through a combination of luck, fate, and boldness, it does. And, the protagonist goes from lonely and unhappy to totally fulfilled with the man or woman of his or her dreams.
This model is followed everywhere. Even in movies where romance isn’t the primary plot point, it’s almost always a side story. And, of course, the hero or heroine always meets and dates the dream partner. It’s easy to see how many people struggle with being single and feel depressed and inferior because of it.
This is why I find Singles Day so liberating. It has taken a reality for many people (being single) and made it not only socially acceptable, but also something worth celebrating. While my job as a dating coach is to help people get into a relationship, I still think Singles Day is a great thing. Here’s why.
First, confidence and security are very attractive traits. If people desperately want to be in a relationship, ironically, that desperation can make them needy and insecure, which will keep them from relationships. By actually celebrating and embracing one’s current situation (singleness), it paradoxically makes you more likely to get into a relationship (when you’re ready).
Second, rather than making the day about gloom, sadness, and eating a tub of ice cream, (like the typical anti-Valentine’s Day activity), Singles Day focuses on the celebratory aspect. Get with your friends, enjoy each other’s company and party down.
Third, it is an inclusive holiday for people who are largely forgotten and bashed. You’d think that being single was a bizarre anomaly. But currently half of Americans are single (compared to 37% in 1976). While this refers to formal marriage, there are still large numbers of people who aren’t in relationships of any sort and haven’t been for years. It’s about time we’ve caught up in celebrating half of the country. 2017 is a long way from 1976.
Finally, being single has some advantages. You have more independence, you can pursue your goals without another person’s interference, and you have more money, time, and energy for yourself. Considering the grim statistics about unhappiness and marriage, more and more Americans want to remain single to be…wait for it…happy.
My goal is to get you into a relationship or make your relationship better. And, I invite you to browse my books, videos, and services if you want help getting into a relationship. But, if you don’t want that, then it’s fine too. But, whether you’re happily single or single and wanting to be in a relationship, take time on 11-11-2017 to celebrate that you’re single. Go out with friends, ask someone to set you up with a date, or just sit at home and watch your favorite show.
Happy Singles Day 2017!