Lovers' day is singles' dream

More women see being single as trendy and highly rewarding

Is single the new black? The formerly teary-eyed girl sniffling over a carton with her true loves, Ben and Jerry, has been transformed by the financial and social independence of successful twenty-something Washington women living up the single life. While the cover of Cosmopolitan formerly read "How to Please Your Man," more and more women's magazines are focusing on how women should please themselves, whether it is with the hottest pair of Kenneth Coles or the raciest vibrator on the market.

Being single is trendy, and matches well with that periwinkle Pashmina and your favorite Pumas. It's stylish to be sipping apple martinis with the girls instead of shacking up for dinner and a movie with the premature hubby. Increasing numbers of women are embracing the single life and loving it, thus setting the trend for 2004.

The appeal of the single life goes far beyond good martinis and silky scarves.

"Being out with the girls is less stressful," said senior Mandy Hovland, 21. "Everyone wants attention in some way. Your aim is to look good and stand out ... but we all make each other look good."

It is still entertaining to flirt with those Georgetown lacrosse players and James Bond look-alike lobbyists, but a night with the girls is far preferred by some than simply having a boyfriend and spending all waking hours with the same old person.

Women are getting dressed up for themselves and for one another, looking to impress each other as much as the next guy. No one denies that it's fun to flirt with guys across the bar and do a few body shots of tequila and lime, but in Washington's social scene, dating has morphed into networking and is far less romantic than the serendipitous stares that equate to love or even a latt? at first sight.

In this politically-driven town, networking has become the new-age flirting.

"This town is about shelling out your resume ... selling yourself [is] not exactly romantic," said senior Sonja Smith, 22.

More and more twenty-something women are consciously choosing to stay single, re-discovering the perks of the single life and celebrating those girls' nights out. After all, your 20s are the only time in your life where you get to be truly selfish.

Right now Hovland's priority is finding an apartment and a job after graduation; the man is on the list, but definitely not in the top 10.

"When you're not in a relationship, you don't see how you could balance your time and make it all fit," Hovland explained.

"I like the fact that I can do what I

want and I don't have to answer to somebody," junior Sarah Mandell, 21, said. "And besides, all the guys at American like each other."

There are no figures to support the common assumption that a high percentage of AU's male population is gay, according to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center. But many women cite this rumor, in addition to hectic multi-tasking work schedules, as reasons why many are leaving relationships at the door.

Breanna Macchia just left a relationship of over three years for the single life. She said she ended it because she wasn't ready to settle.

"I felt like I was leaving a bad marriage, and I'm only 20," Macchia said.

Women are enjoying Washington's party scene with girlfriends by their side, and leaving men on the other side of the bar.

"I'm not looking for a long-term boyfriend or just a one-night stand," Mandell said. "Somewhere in the middle."

Some guys echo this sentiment of "detached attachment."

"It makes it easier for guys because they can take it as slow or as fast as they want to, knowing they aren't looking for a boyfriend," said senior Ryan Haaz, 22. "I'm so young still. I like not being tied down to anyone or anything."

Being single has been made fashionable by those classy sex-driven women of HBO's hit series "Sex and the City," proving through the show's witty humor and role-model characters that women can be emotionally and financially successful, sex-hungry and perfectly happy with each other.

"Women can be sexually adventurous and not be whores," senior Maureen Stubbs, 22, said. "The show has proven women can be intellectual and buy Manol Blahniks and [don't] need a man to buy them."

Today, it seems, men aren't necessarily the necessity in the fashionable world of dating. "Sex and the City" is a reflection of this notion. While the men on the show are main players in the various storylines, it is the women that dominate the series. Carrie commented in a recent episode that maybe relationships were the religion of the '90s, but in 2004 women can have sex and enjoy it without a permanent toy soldier by their side.

The vibrator, specifically the Rabbit Pearl, was made famous by Charlotte on "Sex and the City."

As one anonymous Delta Chi said, "No man can vibrate like that; we just can't go that fast." The perks of women's sexual freedom and the social acceptance of such appliances is due in part to this TV show, and in part to the trend of women wanting to take control of their sex life and not depend on a man for an orgasm. However, there are drawbacks to such appliances.

"You don't get an emotional attachment to an appliance," one junior said.

However, the trend of single women in Washington isn't going out of style anytime soon. According to a recent United Press International article, "D.C.'s woman surplus: fact or fiction?" stated that 35,000 more unattached Washington women were living in the District compared to men in 2000.

This phenomenon can be observed all over the city, whether at Panera in Friendship Heights or the Reef in Adams Morgan. On any given Sunday, pockets of women can be seen across town gabbing over cappuccinos, comparing cheesy lines they received the night before and telling hysterical stories of the late night Pizza Mart that ended the evening.

Valentine's Day is no longer simply about Hallmark's kissing bears and societal pressure to pair off; "V-Day" is now the official day dedicated to ending violence against women. Fighting violence seems to be a much worthier cause than devouring candy hearts and chocolate roses. This Valentine's Day, head out on the town with the girls, and celebrate being Washington's fashionable twenty-something single women.

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