The ’circuit,’ is where singles meet – church groups, bars, lectures, parents without partners, tall club, catholic alumni assc, etc. At these you sometimes see inappropriate behavior: unnatural hugging, forced gaiety, and adolescent sexual titillation. Some singles are looking for a magic person – a parent, not a partner. Some go to chase, not catch. Some look for a cure-all romance, forgetting that friendship is the basis of a long term relationship. Some think they have a problem with the opposite sex, when their problem is with people in general. Some go to every singles event, but don’t go for counseling.
Some don’t know who they are. They’re in the wrong clothes, wrong job, and have the wrong outlook. They don’t think they can generate something good from inside themselves and look for it to come from outside. They look for love instead of loving. They go through numbers of people which has a numbing effect.
Lectures & media features
Some of the lectures, ’classes,’ and articles on the single life exploit people’s misery for ego, readership, or money. They titillate, mystify, glorify, yet apologize for singleness. They are unprofessional and legitimize misinformation. One lecture was so wrapped up in sexual titillation, many people left at the break.
Another time there was a series in a newspaper. Afterwards, readers wrote in complaining the single life was portrayed as ‘… nothing more than… sick behavior. … in very poor taste. … … glamorized … promiscuity. … …rot ……..trash … … pure filth … Do you [the paper] not have a moral responsibility?’
Generally no one is challenging these lectures and features. Psychologists should point out the fallacies. Clergymen should object to the tone. Colleges shouldn’t offer their facilities for these ‘lectures’ without disclaimers.
Advice to singles
Recognize the single circuit is not the most natural way for people to meet. Don’t take it too seriously nor let it get you down. Find a realistic, sensible, group that accepts and acts their age. Dress appropriately. Take a friend of the same sex and enjoy yourselves. Don’t drink a lot. Mind your manners. Use people’s names. Follow the conversation. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve or get into heavy, intimate conversations with strangers. Don’t go on about how awful the singles circuit is – people feel conspicuous enough. Don’t get overly cuddly. Be natural: if you don’t enjoy dancing fast, don’t put on an act. If after a while you wonder what you are doing there, it’s time to leave.
Don’t buy the silly theories of the ’leaders’ that being single is worse here or there, that it’s so terribly different today, or that anything goes. Don’t ask people their age – only singles do that. If it comes up, be vague; it’s no one’s business. Balance the singles’ circuit with regular social life by following your natural interests, hobbies, humor and career choices. There you will meet those you have more in common with.
Being single is an opportunity for growth. [One gal learned more about herself in three years of being divorced than the previous 30.] Learn to enjoy your own company and stand on your own feet; your major decisions have to be made alone anyhow. This makes you more attractive and independent. Independence is maturity.
If you’re overboard on sex, you lack emotional intimacy and maturity. If being rejected bothers you, you don’t like yourself enough. If people don’t believe in you, back off from them. Don’t expect more that a handful of true friends in your life. They are where you find them. If most of your friends are of the opposite sex, you’re missing the mark. Friendship is as friendship does.
Advice to ’leaders’
Realize the seriousness of your position. Clarify your motives. Don’t exploit people for profit, ego, readership, enrollment, or whatever. Don’t misrepresent your credentials. Drop the word ’single’ when possible. Drop the Pollyannaish emphasis on positives. Have a natural atmosphere. Drop forced introductions, silly exercises, and phony hugging. Let visitors hang back and make up their minds. Discourage inappropriate revelations.
Don’t mystify, glorify, or apologize for the single status. Skip jargon. Keep discussions practical, brief, and wholesome with no titillation. Have available a list of counselors and sensible literature, like the book CONQUERING LONELINESS.
Review a general policy of manners. Bring more sophistication with outside leadership which has a knack for handling the music, lighting, fresh air, acoustics, and traffic flow.