Thank u, next: being single is the new normal

So grateful: Ariana Grande’s new song has broken single-day streaming records on Spotify twice.

Is that better than being in a couple? Ariana Grande’s new ode to singledom is number one in the UK. Meanwhile, people around the world spent record amounts on Sunday — aka “Singles Day”.

It has been just under a month since Ariana Grande split up with comedian Pete Davidson. But on her new single she sings that she has met someone new: “Her name is Ari / And I’m so good with that.”

She is not the only one embracing single life. On Sunday, shoppers spent a record $1 billion (£778,000) in just 85 seconds as part of the Chinese company Alibaba’s “Singles Day” sales.

Singles Day began in China as an anti-Valentine’s holiday for the unattached in the 1990s. Since 2009, it has become a shopping day similar to Black Friday or Cyber Monday — only much bigger.

China has a growing number of singles, partly thanks to the One Child Policy which led to a surplus of young men. In America, 45% of the adult population is unmarried, higher than ever before. In the UK, it is 49.1%.

For decades, scientists have argued that married people are healthier and live longer.

However, a series of new studies are revealing the benefits of being single. One found that single women aged 50-79 are generally healthier than their married counterparts. Another found that single people have stronger social ties, being more likely to stay in touch with parents, friends and neighbours.

So which is better? Being single, or being in a couple?

“One taught me love…”

Being in a couple, say some. People in happy relationships still tend to be healthier than their single friends. But more than that, there is the simple truth that songwriters and romance novelists have agreed upon for centuries: there is nothing like falling in love.

Being single, say others. There is far more freedom in being independent. You can make decisions without worrying about someone else and focus on your own dreams. Besides, who needs a partner when you have friends and family who support you — and who will probably last longer?

You Decide

  1. Should more people celebrate “Singles Day”?

Activities

  1. Many love poems have been written throughout the ages. Try twisting the tradition by writing a love poem to yourself, inspired by Ariana Grande.

Some People Say...

“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”

Oscar Wilde

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Alibaba says that customers spent $30.8 billion (£24 billion) on Singles Day, up 27% from last year. The shopping holiday has grown every year since it began in 2009, including spreading to other countries around the world.
What do we not know?
Whether Singles Day will continue to get bigger and spread around the world in the coming years.

Word Watch

Alibaba
A Chinese online sales company, similar to Amazon.
Bigger
Total sales topped $30.8 billion (£24 billion) on Sunday, according to Alibaba — more than last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined.
One Child Policy
From 1979 to 2015, families in China were only allowed one child each. As Chinese culture generally favours sons, there is now a gender imbalance among young people.
45%
According to the US Census Bureau.
49.1%
According to the Office for National Statistics. Adults include anyone 16 or over.