Researchers say more people are looking for love this holiday season.
In my final Dating Guide column for ESSENCE, I wrote a story suggesting new ways for singles who get the holiday blues to try something different, namely getting on a flight and heading somewhere warm or doing an activity they have been putting off. The article received an unusual amount of interest, letting me know for sure something was up -- more so than usual -- with single readers this year.
Yesterday, Match.com released the results of its 2012 "Year in Love" survey, an inquiry to illuminate attitudes and opinions on a variety of holiday dating topics. Knowing that some singles put themselves through the ringer because they don't yet have a companion, and get a little lonesome this time of year, the results were still surprising.
Leading the "Really?!" list was the finding that despite the restrictive economy, more singles are looking for love than jobs this holiday season. Forty-six percent of African-American members on Match.com said that their number one wish for the holidays is a new romance, compared with only 29 percent who would like a new job. (Take that, Maslow's hierarchy of needs.)
My next "a-ha! moment" was the revelation that men are more stressed about being single during the holidays than the ladies. Almost 30 percent confessed to lying to their families about their dating status to avoid being asked, "Uh... Why are you single?" by friends and relatives.
Match.com found women were less likely to lie about their dating status -- just 16 percent faked it for their family. Seems like the ladies just took a deep breath and stepped before the firing squad of queries.
"Few thing in life are more irritating than the unsolicited comments I get that Black women, like me, are unlikely to marry," wrote Angela Stanley in "Black, Female, and Single," an op-ed piece in the New York Times, published this Monday. Stanley is a researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. "Family members ask, 'Are you ever going to get married?' as if I am remaining single purposely to keep them from attending my wedding."
She adds, "I'm almost positive the people in my life don't mean to add to the anxiety I already feel about being single in my 30s without children."
Stanley's not alone on feeling that way when others poke into her personal life. Over 41 percent of members who took the Match.com survey said of all the stressors tied to the holidays, that one lil' question, "Why are you still single?" topped their list -- more so than finding a date for a holiday party or who they could kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
Evidently, it's hard enough for some to be single without all the prying questions. Since this is the season of giving, why don't we all finally resolve to give single people a break?
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of "A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life" (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk