[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you didn’t have anyone to kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas and are feeling a bit grim about next month’s Valentine’s Day, you might want to head to West Hollywood Park Saturday and join others in embracing your single status.
That’s where West Hollywood’s Karen Reed and Mia Dinelly will kick off an event dubbed “Singles Day,” whose goal is to celebrate that status rather than mourn it.
Reed got the idea for Singles Day two months ago, when she saw a story on television about a similar event in China that not only celebrates single life but has inspired uninhibited shopping. In China, the day dwarfs America’s “Cyber Monday” spending. Some American merchants — notably Gap, Microsoft, Steve Madden and Adidas — already organize sales in China around its Nov. 11 Singles Day date.
Reed, who is happily single, sees Singles Day as a way to fight misconceptions about single people, who she thinks are often regarded as “lonely, sad people.”
“I just loved that they were celebrating singles, having fun,” she said of the Chinese. “I thought ‘Why don’t we have this?’ ”
Working with her friend Mia Dinelly, Reed decided to make it happen. Realizing that Nov. 11 — that’s 11/11, with the “ones” representing singles — already is celebrated in the U.S. as Veterans Day, Reed and Dinelly set their sights on 1/11. Not only does that continue the “1’s” theme, but Jan. 11 juxtaposes nicely with Valentine’s Day, that paean to coupledom, which comes on Feb. 14. Another event, Single de Mayo, staged in May, is focused on single lesbian women while Single Day is for men and women, no matter their sexual orientation.
Reed and Dinelly have launched a Change.org petition to garner support for making Singles Day an official U.S. holiday. But West Hollywood is, in many ways, the perfect place to launch the campaign in public. The 2010 U.S. Census reports that 60 percent of the city’s 34,000 residents live alone.
The celebration starts with a rally at 2 p.m. at the park, followed by a party from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Abbey on North Robertson. The event will be MC’ed by comedian Vicki Wagner (author of “Get a Date Today: How to Market Yourself for Love,” if you’re still not comfortable with your single status). It will include dancing, music, giveaways and speakers such as Thomas Coleman, author of “The Domino Effect” and a lawyer who is a long-time advocate for singles’ rights. Coleman will speak about the emergence of unmarried and single people as a growing group of employees, consumers and voters.
Local merchants will offer specials negotiated by Reed and Dinelly to those who present free Singles Day stickers handed out at the park. Those merchants, listed on the event’s Facebook page, range from bars like Micky’s, Gym Bar and Bayou to merchants such as Z Pizza and Optique, the eyeglass store.
So if you don’t have—and perhaps don’t even want—a ring on it, use it on Saturday to raise a glass to the single life. Make it a singletini or a single on the beach.