Celebrate National Singles Week

Nobody sent me a card, but it's National Singles Week — a time for mothers, fathers and everyone else to appreciate their unmarried friends.

Some people might think that National Singles Week is a bogus event created by the greeting card industry, after failing to launch Second Cousins Day.

Others might say unmarried people don't need a holiday — they can celebrate their unyoked freedom every day of their lives.

The truth is, National Singles Week was started in Ohio back in 1984 to appreciate the growing ranks of unmarried Americans, who are now 96 million strong, or 43 percent of the U.S. population age 15 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Why should we celebrate singlehood? For one thing, it was once considered a shame to grow old without a spouse. Nowadays, two out of every three single people have never wed. Unmarried Americans deserve a day of national recognition.

Singlehood might not require the same sacrifices as parenthood. But let's consider that 12.2 million Americans are single parents, and their jobs as mothers and fathers are doubly difficult.

I say singlehood is cause to celebrate, and I plan to honor the holiday by taking my girlfriend out to dinner. Who knows? We might not be single forever.

Let's just consider National Singles Week a second Valentine's Day, especially for those of us who stay single far into adulthood.

And for those of us who can appreciate the increasingly complicated world of dating, check out these developments in the ritual of courtship.

1. Talking Flower Bouquets: Want to really look rosy? Just have your picture emblazoned on a rose petal. The technology exists.

At SpeakingRoses.com, they've patented a process that will allow you to print anything you wish on a flower petal. Want to say, "I love you" with roses? Now you really can.

With just a day's notice, SpeakingRoses.com can ship personalized flowers virtually anyplace in the United States. For $59.99, you can get a summer sun bouquet of yellow lilies and orange roses that say "congratulations."

For an extra $20, that same arrangement can be personalized with any picture and any written message.

I'm sure Shakespeare would agree that a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet as those that proclaim, "I love Shakespeare."

2. Democrat-Only Love: Can someone who loves George W. Bush fall in love with a John Kerry supporter? If you think it's best to toe the party line when it comes to personal politics, you can start looking for love next week on two politically charged Web sites.

Kerry supporters can find each other on DemocraticDating.com, while Bush fans can hook up on RepublicanDating.com.

"You can cross party lines, but don't you think you'll be happier with someone who sees things the way you do when it comes to issues like the death penalty, gun control and abortion?" says April Masini, author of the AskApril advice column.

Of course there are all sorts of specialty dating services. Vegetarians have Veggiedate.com. There's Cowboyheart.com and EquestrianSingles.com if you ride a horse, and Harley-Match.com if ride a hog.

You and your pup can seek double dates on DoggieDating.com.

But Masini believes that politics is what divides people, even more than religion. "If you wouldn't consider voting outside your party," she says, "you certainly won't be happy dating outside your party."

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