It's Singles Day 2022. Apparently

It doesn't sound like Emma MP is interested in a discount
November 11, 2022

Like many of us I suspect, I like to start my mornings in a particular way, because I find that in turn sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I’m an early riser and try to sit quietly while I enjoy my first cup of tea and some chopped fruit. Immediately followed by a coffee, it’s only then that I check emails and think seriously about what I have to do.

On Thursday morning, I was slightly surprised by an email from an online clothing company that I use regularly, informing me: ‘We’d like to celebrate Singles’ Day with you tomorrow. Here’s 15% off!’

The effect of the green tea and mindfulness was lost as I attempted to compute: what’s Singles’ Day? How do they know? It’s only been a month…

I might be late to this particular party, but apparently ‘Singles’ Day’ is the largest shopping day on the planet and in China, where it originated almost 20 years ago, it was established by singletons as an antidote to Valentines Day.

Far from being a celebration of relationship independence; in a country with 70 million more men than women, Singles’ Day now represents a day when the guys try to outdo each other with gifts for the girls, in the hope of scoring a bride. It sounds awful. How many Hermès (or replica) bags does someone need?

But why has another example of retail stupidity activated me this morning? It’s the noun (or adjective – depending on the use of the word). For a moment, I thought the supplier of my favourite summer dresses and winter cardis’ had been tipped off that I am now ‘Single’.

This attempt to shift warehouses of stock has left me examining my past, the present and my future...

Can I talk for a while about being newly single at 52? (It’s okay. Nobody died – it’s the other one.) My husband of 27 years discovered a while ago, (while assisting a woman 16 years his junior, how to establish and maintain a stable hover over a pitching flight-deck) that she represented his future and his pre-existing family unit was ‘grounded’.

That’s all I’m going to say about the background to my ‘state of independence’ other than to tell you that both of my adult daughters think that Amy Johnson (not her real name) is lovely. And funny. And pretty. And makes their Dad very happy. Which is nice.

Can we now deconstruct being single in your 50s?

The best or worse place to head for your research is of course the internet. So I have; and predictably, whatever your view, there’s some testimony to fit. All of the comments and suggestions below purport to be from UK based single women:

“Being single doesn’t mean you’re banished from all human contact.”

No, but it’s similar to leprosy – initially you will still be invited to (special) supper parties or events, but because it’s awkward to arrange the seating, it’s likely to be standing in the kitchen – possibly with options for break-out through the bi-fold doors onto the new terrace they’re keen to show-off. Food will be of the finger-type and you will politely only graze a minimum amount.

“Is there something wrong with me?”

Not necessarily. It’s a matter of choice. If your partner hasn’t expired, then for their own reasons they’ve likely chosen to: a). move back in with their mother or b). embark on a new episode with someone (probably) with very different physical and emotional characteristics to you.

“The stigma around being single has been created by couples.”

We all know that’s rubbish.

“Stay healthy and good looking.”

What – so I feel empowered, or so I can attract a mate?

“Find a doctor or therapist you trust – and cultivate a good relationship.”

Pass me the gin.

“Women who are single and happy aren’t a special breed. They’re a special tribe of strong women who have chosen to learn to not let their circumstances hold them back.”

You GO Girlfriend! That sounds tragic to me.

"I do feel like the longer I’m single, the harder it’s going to be to fit someone into my life.”

I imagine that is the case. I haven’t had a ‘first date’ for almost three decades. How realistic is it to have the energy to ‘want to get to know someone all over again’?

“A relationship is not an insurance policy for happiness, satisfaction, or fulfilment. A relationship will not magically solve or cover up your problems. If you have issues, work them out before considering embarking on a new relationship.”

Clearly that’s good advice for life in general and ‘jumping into bed’ with someone new, if your past is a ‘car crash’ is a mistake. Isn’t it?

“Accepting singleness is not a defeat; it’s a victory. Despite the way it sounds”

Surely that’s an oxymoron?

“I never wanted to be single and happy.”

More gin please.

“I distinctly remember when I began to notice other middle-aged women who are ‘happy and single’. I’m looking at them closely…and I’m seeing unresolved trauma around abandonment and loneliness in all of them.”

Is that why we should make friends with a therapist?

“The truth is, that finding happiness in your current situation doesn’t diminish your desire for a future situation that involves a partner.”

Do not tell me that could include a pet?

“Go through your wardrobe – update your look.”

Are you saying this top makes me look like a Grandmother?

“Introduce yourself to your local library. They will be happy to have you as a volunteer.”

Can I bring my own alcohol?

“Keep busy. Take up dancing, join a walking group or buy yourself a bicycle and join a bike club. There is a club for every activity you can think of.”


"You’re 50ish and free. Acceptance is key."

That doesn’t sound good. What does that actually mean?

“Make friends with people who are your age. Don’t hangout with your kids or anyone more than 10 years older than you.”

Will I find them at bike club and the library?

“Let go of negative thoughts.

Thanks for your advice Maslow.

“Get a dog. Being a dog owner is a great way to meet like-minded people.”

Meet people who like dogs?

“Be interested in the world around you. Join a campaign group. Get involved in social action.”

I want to help rough sleepers because my husband left me for an international hockey player.

“Do it on your own. Get out and enjoy the art and culture your community has to offer. Attend more theatre, orchestras, cinema, shows and talks. Even movies by yourself can be fun.”

‘Even’ movies by yourself can be fun. Particularly after a busy day volunteering at the library.

So there we go; this Singles Day 11th November there’s no excuse girls – we are so blessed – we don’t need anyone or anything else to ‘complete’ us (other than a bike, or a dog, or a therapist).

Alternatively we could just stay in – with wine – and hit the iPad for some hardcore retail therapy. With 15% off until midnight.

Emma can be viewed this weekend wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt at various Manchester hospitality outlets, while in the city visiting her daughter.