Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,12 November 2013

The Snap:

In olden times, single women over 30 would be stoned to death. That may be a slight exaggeration but as bad as being single is now, it was way worse before. Now, once you pass a certain age your family gives up on you ever getting hitched and your married friends stop trying to set you up with the one single guy they know (who has a unibrow and severe halitosis). And if you’re lucky enough to be single in China, there’s a holiday dedicated to celebrating your wondrousness by spending an insane amount of money. That’s right, bitches. Happy Belated Singles’ Day!

The Download:

11/11 has become the day of the singleton in China and thanks to the atrocious one-child policy and society’s treatment of “leftover women,” the persistent gender imbalance will insure that Singles’ Day gets bigger each year. The holiday is celebrated by buying as much shit online as those poor, overworked websites can handle. Cookbooks with recipes for one, flowers, clothes, jewelry, expensive cars; this communist country’s holiday is a capitalist’s wet dream.

At first glance, I dug this holiday. As someone who has been single for a bazillion years, a holiday to celebrate the single life sounds pretty righteous. The average singleton has been to 138 wedding and baby showers, actual weddings, gender reveal parties, etc. and has spent god knows how many of her hard-earned ducats buying crap from her friends’ registries.

Except it’s not like you have a registry and all your married friends and relatives have to suck it up and buy you whatever you’ve been coveting. It’s more like China’s Treat Yo Self day, but without the joy of spending it with Retta and Aziz. Plus, things typically marketed to singletons, like the Boyfriend Pillow, are pretty fucking sad. Some enterprising Chinese bachelors are even using the holiday to earn extra cash by renting themselves out to independent post-30-year old Chinese women who know that during the Spring Festival, their mothers are going to be all up their asses if they still don’t have a man.

Now, as an aficionado of cheesy holiday movies, I appreciate the plot device of renting a significant other to make it through the holidays (over the course of which, you’ll fall in love with each other, learn the true meaning of the holidays and possibly save a small town and/or some orphans). But unfortunately that seems unlikely since many rentals come with unsuspecting girlfriends, thus endangering the possibility that this will be the story you tell your grandchildren later in life about how Nana and Pop-pop met.

As with most holidays, the retailers win. Singles’ Day results in twice the online commerce of Cyber Monday. While there’s nothing wrong with retail therapy, if you want to celebrate Singles’ Day in more altruistic pursuits, use some of that money to help those impacted by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. Check Charity Navigator to find charities where your donation will get to the people need it the most.


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Hat Tips:

BBCQuartzThe AtlanticThe EconomistCNBCParks and RecreationBusiness InsiderCharity Navigator, Image Credit: Flickr

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