Dating Desperados

The London Lassie explores the latest shift in the dating world: the shocking discovery that men dislike being single more than women… 

 

Picture this: Sleeping Beauty is awoken from her slumber by handsome Prince Charming and grunts “get off buddy – I need my beauty sleep!” Or, imagine Sandy keeping her cute pastel look and telling Danny Zuko to like it or lump it. Or even, Rose keenly getting into that life boat off the sinking Titanic, “Jack, to be honest, I’ve only known you three days. It’s not love. See ya later mate”.

A parallel universe? Maybe not. Mintel can reveal the single stereotype in the form of Bridget Jones is gone, with their study showing 70% of men dislike being single compared to only 30% of women (the 30% probably being the  Take Me Out girls). Meaning, men now get to be the ones that lie in bed crying with only a tub of Ben & Jerry’s for comfort.

The new YouTube series ‘I hate being single’ features a lonely singleton rummaging Manhattan searching for a partner and illustrates this point perfectly. It sounds like the perfect Sex and the City replacement doesn’t it? But the protagonist is not a Manolo-clad columnist, but a typical Brooklyn male.

And it’s not just across the pond singleton sitcoms are taking a turn. Shows like Mr. Right showcased a male with females fighting for his affections. Now, the makers of Come Dine with me have created Come Date with Me, where four relationship-hungry men fight for the affections of a single girl.

Interestingly, men’s mags such as Loaded suffered a calamitous 30% year on year drop, while higher brow magazines such as Private Eye excelled. Even rock stars – the epitome of the male singleton – are claiming they crave girlfriends over expected groupies. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol recently stated he yearns for a partner, even claiming “I don’t think they allow single musicians to adopt, but I’m ready”.

It seems the heartless playboy is becoming an endangered species. According to London-based dating expert, Jasmia Robinson, her clientele of men is increasing – “Guys have much more requests now. They really want to find the one”.

But how have men evolved from the seed planters they are biologically programmed to be? Even ex TOWIE star and infamous womaniser Mark Wright recently told The Daily Mail that “I don’t see the appeal of one night stands anymore”. Jenni Trent Hughes, dating expert at eHarmony.co.uk, believes “Although men are extremely independent in most areas of their
lives they still love to be taken care of”. Perhaps so, but why do more women feel happier being single?

The first explanation has to be the fact there are now more females in top jobs. Decades ago women had the ‘Honey, I’m home!’ scenario where days were spent with a feather duster for arm candy instead of a Celine tote. Women no longer need financial stability and many are simply too busy. And this could affect more women. The Telegraph reported on International Women’s Day 2012, that Nick Clegg wants to see even more females in business stating there is “still a long way to go in achieving equality in society”.

But surely a businesswoman needs someone to go home to? Someone to rub her Louboutin-pinched feet? This needn’t be a heterosexual boyfriend, but a ‘gay boyfriend’. More and more women are filling the void that straight men once filled with their favourite gay. Sunday Times journalist, Giles Hattersley recently articulated that “Gay men have seduced the nation”, especially the nation’s women. Let’s face it – they shop better, they bitch better and they dote on women. And all the things they can’t do can always be purchased in a little shop named Ann Summers.

It’s not only gay men fulfilling the lives of women, but fellow women themselves. The modern woman has a close group of girlfriends to confide in. Men usually don’t have this. According to the Guardian’s Sali Hughes, “women’s friendships means that single girls get together to have fun, regardless. Single men tough it out alone and feel they’re missing out on that emotional support”. According to Laura Jane MacBeth, the singleton behind Cosmopolitan’s ‘Sex and the Single Girl’ column, “women are lucky because they tend to talk more, and open up about these issues, and also be more proactive when it comes to dating – so maybe that’s why they are finding being single easier”.

Dating Coach Jasmia Robinson believes women are now happy to be loners – “people don’t really need each other. We are more independent. You have ready meals. You have sex shops. Women are fending for themselves”. Alexandra Richmond, Mintel’s Consumer and Lifestyles analyst agrees articulating “the stigma associated with being single has virtually disappeared” and when it comes to women enjoying singledom “freedom is key”. Cosmopolitan columnist, Laura Jane MacBeth states, “being single is empowering in itself – it forces you to cope on your own, and once you know you can do that, you feel far stronger… I think women are starting to feel more in control of their love lives”.

Jane*, 22, a new singleton from Edinburgh is enjoying her new found freedom, “Within the last month I have become single for the first time in 7 years, and it has so many perks. I love the freedom. I don’t need to consider anyone else and if I make a last minute decision to go clubbing I can without upsetting my boyfriend.  It’s also cheaper as I don’t have to buy presents for in-laws at Christmas which means I can spend more money on myself!”

As well as freedom, could it also be possible that women are simply becoming “too picky”? Women today are brought up to believe they can do anything, like living on a council estate and becoming a lawyer. Meaning more are delaying marriage and childbirth in order to work on their careers. According to Catherine McColl, Inspire Trends Analyst at Mintel, “not only has society become far less critical of singlehood, but we’ve actually become more critical of marriage – especially as divorce rates continue to grow. In this respect, ‘being single’ has become the new normal”. So, along with these postponed marriage plans and ambitious career steps has a higher expectation of men arrived? Cosmopolitan columnist Laura Jane believes women should have high standards: “it’s nice to be in love and have a relationship, but you shouldn’t go out with the wrong person just for the sake of having someone”.

The recent split of ‘Arg’ and Lydia in The Only Way is Essex was interesting. According to eHarmony dating expert Jenni Trent Hughes, “men do crave the
emotional attachment and consistency that comes with being in a
relationship”. After their split, Lydia wants to be single; she wants to see what else is out there. But Arg wants her back, so much so that he recently lost three stone in six weeks and spent a fortune on a gleaming new smile, claiming to Lydia “I did it all for you”. The Guardian recently reported that despite the recession, cosmetic surgery performed on men has risen by 5.6%. Is this to keep up with the heightened expectations of ambitious women? Are women so picky now that they need a surgically enhanced male to keep up with their standards?

Women may be pickier when it comes to men now, they may be too busy, and they may have too many friends and ‘gay boyfriends’ providing support to even need someone. Nevertheless, will the male womaniser actually become extinct? With fewer marriages can we expect to see a future of singletons? We don’t need a partner for babies anymore after all.  Shall we all go to Mae West’s view of “I’m single because I was born that way”? Sassy Cosmopolitan singleton Laura Jane MacBeth believes “I hope women continue to enjoy their single lives to the max!” But can anyone actually imagine a world of Russell and ‘Rachael’ Brands? This could be dangerous. Watch this space…

As seen in iN-Magazine

http://issuu.com/in-magazine.com/docs/inmagjuly12digi?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage

Advertisements

The Pursuit of Happiness

It’s that time of year when everyone gets a little down in the dumps. The London Lassie chats to Happyologist, Susanna Halonen on how to be cheery and live life to the full…

S

Le Pain Quotidien on Marylebone High Street is the setting for my lunch with Happyologist, Susanna Halonen. Nestled between fashion boutiques, and quaint restaurants, this French cafe reeks of chic. Amongst the bustle of well-to-do accents and air kisses I order a cappuccino, which arrives in a large handleless mug – just how the French drink it. Susanna arrives, all in black, which contrasts with her blonde hair and pillar-box red Alexa bag. Around her neck is a Tiffany silver horseshoe chain. She orders a green tea Mojito and unsurprisingly, has a huge smile on her face.

Susanna, 25, is Finnish, but has lived everywhere from Brazil to Germany. She now rests in Surrey where she can enjoy the best of both worlds: riding in the countryside and enjoying the hustle bustle of London. Susanna runs a blog, ‘the Happyologist’, where she shares her insights and experience on how to achieve happiness. She also coaches people on how to employ life fulfilment. “I figured it would be great to share insights that inspire others to work out what makes them smile, and pursue it”.

Susanna notices people don’t know what happiness is anymore. “I realised how focussed everyone is in climbing the career ladder, making money and buying things. The common believe is ‘if I’m successful then I’ll be happy’, but actually it’s the opposite”. She makes me think of a Finnish friend who always thinks negatively, and attracts bad luck (think perm from hell). Susanna laughs. “That’s a bit of a Finnish trait! But yeah, I completely agree. Whatever you focus on in your life is what you’re going to attract. It’s so much to do with a positive mindset”.

Susanna seems to be in the right field at the right time. “There are studies showing happiness levels have decreased, even though our income levels and living standards have risen. It shows income and success doesn’t bring happiness. I think society is waking up to it.” She tells me about the UK governments ‘Action for Happiness’ movement. “They hold seminars monthly. They had a Buddhist monk last time. They’re really interesting.”

I ask Susanna why she thinks despite increased quality of living, our society is getting unhappy. Is consumerism to blame? She thinks so. “There’s this whole thing about having so much stuff. People are like ‘oh i don’t have anything to do, I’m gonna go shop’ and then you buy this cheap stuff, and wear them a couple of times. We should invest in quality pieces. We appreciate things more that way, and that in turn makes us happier”.

Health may also be to blame. “It seems sports have disappeared. Hopefully the Olympics have brought it back!” She is a huge believer in health (probably why she invited me to an organic cafe). “You need to have a healthy mind and body. Invest in good sleep, healthy diet, and exercise. It gives you healthy hormones and adrenaline”. However, this Nordic chick ain’t a health freak, “I’m all up for treats. I love cakes! But it’s about balance”.

Susanna coaches individuals, as well as work teams. “With individuals, I help them to identify things they need to change by helping them self reflect. For example, if they’re insecure and dwelling on past experiences we try and conquer that in unique ways so they move on. I create a timeline and set goals”. She states “It’s always looking towards the future, working on positivity and working towards achieving it”.

As for businesses, “Everything from how you position desks to how you deal with authority effects happiness. With quarterly reviews, you have to focus on the person’s strengths and let people use what they’re best at because that’s what they’re happiest doing”. As for office layout, “Cubicles are bad. Make it more open. It promotes collaboration rather than competitiveness.” Susanna uses Apple as an example, “Steve jobs was such a visionary leader. That’s why the company is successful. You never hear a bad word from someone working at apple – they enjoy their job”. Susanna obviously loves her job as well. “Its empowering for me to watch clients progress and realise they have the answers within them to create that self-confidence.”

It appears Susanna has always been happy, but that’s not the case. “I can’t say I’ve always been the happiest person, but awareness is the first step, then you have to put positivity into practice”. I ask Susanna about her most inspiring story, and surprisingly, she uses herself. “I was actually coached myself. I always wanted to start my own coaching company, but thought people would think ‘she’s young, what does she know?’, but my coach helped me achieve the confidence I needed. When you get that light bulb moment it’s like wow!” It was this increase in confidence that saw the creation of the Happyologist persona. “Since then, I’ve been taking steps to work towards my goal. I realised I want to help more people find their happiness”.

Susanna’s typical client is a young professional woman who is unsure she is on the right path. “I think I attract women because they feel they can click with me”. Susanna’s past with her own coach also has a lot to identify with her clients, “I think a lot of people can relate to that, they realise that there’s lots of other opportunities out there”.

So, what makes us happy? “Follow your passion; it’s something you will naturally be good at. My passion is horse riding”. As well as this, “create positive attitude and believe in yourself – focus on the things you are grateful for in your life”. Making other people happy is key, “help people, even just holding a door open.  It’s a double win – you make yourself and the other person happy”. But overall Susanna states “Life is long – enjoy the journey, little successes and daily joys!”

Five Tips on Living Life to the Full:

1)      Do what you love.

2)      Create that positive attitude – Focus on the little things you are grateful for and appreciate them.

3)      Exercise.

4)      Believe in yourself. Then you can achieve anything. You are the master of your life and the skies are the limit.

5)      Be generous and kind. It will spread good vibes around you.

View Susanna’s blog here: http://www.happyologist.co.uk/