Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A friend of a friend (thanks Joey!) passed along this interesting article for the NY Times, so 2 hope-ful spin-sters thought we'd pass it along to you.

Living Alone Means Being Social:  

One’s a Crowd

Riikka Sormunen

MORE people live alone now than at any other time in history. In prosperous American cities — Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and Minneapolis — 40 percent or more of all households contain a single occupant. In Manhattan and in Washington, nearly one in two households are occupied by a single person.
By international standards, these numbers are surprising — surprisingly low. In Paris, the city of lovers, more than half of all households contain single people, and in socialist Stockholm, the rate tops 60 percent.
The decision to live alone is common in diverse cultures whenever it is economically feasible. Although Americans pride themselves on their self-reliance and culture of individualism, Germany, France and Britain have a greater proportion of one-person households than the United States, as does Japan. Three of the nations with the fastest-growing populations of single people — China, India and Brazil — are also among those with the fastest growing economies.
The mere thought of living alone once sparked anxiety, dread and visions of loneliness. But those images are dated. Now the most privileged people on earth use their resources to separate from one another, to buy privacy and personal space.
Living alone comports with modern values. It promotes freedom, personal control and self-realization — all prized aspects of contemporary life.
It is less feared, too, for the crucial reason that living alone no longer suggests an isolated or less-social life. After interviewing more than 300 singletons (my term for people who live alone) during nearly a decade of research, I’ve concluded that living alone seems to encourage more, not less, social interaction.
Paradoxically, our species, so long defined by groups and by the nuclear family, has been able to embark on this experiment in solo living because global societies have become so interdependent. Dynamic markets, flourishing cities and open communications systems make modern autonomy more appealing; they give us the capacity to live alone but to engage with others when and how we want to and on our own terms.
In fact, living alone can make it easier to be social, because single people have more free time, absent family obligations, to engage in social activities.
Compared with their married counterparts, single people are more likely to spend time with friends and neighbors, go to restaurants and attend art classes and lectures. There is much research suggesting that single people get out more — and not only the younger ones. Erin Cornwell, a sociologist at Cornell, analyzed results from the General Social Survey (which draws on a nationally representative sample of the United States population) from 2000 to 2008 and found that single people 35 and older were more likely than those who lived with a spouse or a romantic partner to spend a social evening with neighbors or friends. In 2008, her husband, Benjamin Cornwell (also a sociologist at Cornell), was lead author of “The Social Connectedness of Older Adults,” a paper in the American Sociological Review that showed that single seniors had the same number of friends and core discussion partners as their married peers and were more likely to socialize with friends and neighbors.
SURVEYS, some by market research companies that study behavior for clients developing products and services, also indicate that married people with children are more likely than single people to hunker down at home. Those in large suburban homes often splinter into private rooms to be alone. The image of a modern family in a room together, each plugged into a separate reality, be it a smartphone, computer, video game or TV show has become a cultural cliché.
New communications technologies make living alone a social experience, so being home alone does not feel involuntary or like solitary confinement. The person alone at home can digitally navigate through a world of people, information and ideas. Internet use does not seem to cut people off from real friendships and connections.
The Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community Survey — a nationally representative survey of 2,512 American adults conducted in 2008 that was the first to examine how the Internet and cellphones affect our core social networks — shows that Web use can lead to more social life, rather than to less. “Social Isolation and New Technology,” written by the Rutgers University communications scholar Keith Hampton, reveals that heavy users are more likely than others to have large and diverse social networks; more likely to visit parks, cafes and restaurants; and more likely to meet diverse people with different perspectives and beliefs.
Today five million people in the United States between ages 18 and 34 live alone, 10 times more than in 1950. But the largest number of single people are middle-aged; 15 million people between ages 35 and 64 live alone. Those who decide to live alone following a breakup or a divorce could choose to move in with roommates or family. But many of those I interviewed said they chose to live alone because they had found there was nothing worse than living with the wrong person.
In my interviews, older single people expressed a clear preference for living alone, which allowed them to retain their feelings of independence and integrity, and a clear aversion to moving in with friends or family or into a nursing home.
According to research by the Rutgers sociologist Deborah Carr, at 18 months after the death of a spouse, only one in four elderly men and one in six elderly women say they are interested in remarrying; one in three men and one in seven women are interested in dating someday; and only one in four men and one in 11 women are interested in dating immediately.
Most older widows, widowers and divorced people remake their lives as single people. A century ago, nearly 70 percent of elderly American widows lived with a child; today — thanks to Social Security, private pensions and wealth generated in the market — just 20 percent do. According to the U.C.L.A. economist Kathleen McGarry: “When they have more income and they have a choice of how to live, they choose to live alone. They buy their independence.”
Some unhealthy old people do become dangerously isolated, as I learned when I researched my book about the hundreds of people who died alone in the 1995 Chicago heat wave, and they deserve more attention and support than we give them today. But the rise of aging alone is also a social achievement. The sustained health, wealth and vitality that so many people over age 65 enjoy allow them to maintain domestic independence far longer than previous generations did. What’s new today is that the great majority of older widows, widowers and divorced people prefer living alone to their other options, and they’re willing to spend more on housing and domestic help for the privilege. Some pundits predicted that rates of living alone would plummet because of the challenged economy: young people would move into their parents’ basements; middle-aged adults would put off divorce or separation for financial reasons; the elderly would move in with their children rather than hold on to places of their own.
Thus far, however, there’s little evidence that this has happened. True, more young adults have moved in with their parents because they cannot find good jobs; but the proportion of those between 20 and 29 who live alone went down only slightly, from 11.97 percent in 2007 to 10.94 percent in 2011. In the general population, living alone has become more common — in absolute and proportional terms. The latest census report estimates that more than 32 million Americans live alone today, up from 27.2 million in 2000 and 31 million in 2010.
All signs suggest that living alone will become even more common in the future, at every stage of adulthood and in every place where people can afford a place of their own.
Eric Klinenberg is a professor of sociology at New York University and the author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

2 hope-ful spin-sters Movie Review of the Moment... 
**spoiler alert**

Synopsis  (courtesy of Fandango):   CIA operatives FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are inseparable best friends and partners. Together, their good looks, covert abilities and combat skills rank them among the CIA's elite, but their longstanding personal and professional bond is put to the test when they meet Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). FDR and Tuck both fall hard for the beautiful blonde, and turn their deadly skills and an array of high-tech gadgetry against one another in an all-out battle for her love.

= rating symbol of the moment…spies.  *Ratings are on a scale of 1-5

Dellany's Review:
Genre:  Bromance  meets  comedy meets  action—sort of...
Let’s cut to the chase here:   We have co-dependent best friends Agent Tuck (Tom Hardy) and Agent FDR (Chris Pine)   who make a gentlemen’s bet with each other after meeting the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon).  They both wish to pursue her romantically.  But the reality is they are SPYING on her.  They are STALKING her.   They are using dangerous weapons targeted at each other, unbeknownst  to Lauren, while on these “romantic” dates.  May the best man win! What the heck?!? 

If I were Lauren, after finding out this has all gone on behind my back, I would have gotten two restraining orders , legally changed my name and moved to another country.  But in Hollywoodland, it’s ok that these two grown men were acting this way because they were gorgeous, rich and charismatic.   Look, I know that at the end of the day this was a movie that clearly was not trying to show a realistic point of view.  It’s great to go to a movie and forget real life when it’s properly directed with a strong execution. This film was all over the place.  Hey, I want to be an action flick, then I want to be a romance, then I want to be a thriller, then I want to have some touching moments... yada yada yada..

Lauren was too smart for the situation she found herself in.  Heck, Reese Witherspoon is too smart for this.  There were a lot of cheap shots and lame jokes.   Chelsea Handler playing Lauren’s best friend got a fat paycheck to act as herself.    Even the “player” side of me (everyone has a little bit in them!)  didn’t get a pay-off--  SPOILER ALERT:  Lauren DIDN’T sleep with both guys simply because “she’s just not that type of girl”… to quote Chelsea’s character—“After all  they do it to us all the time” and "You think Gloria Steinem got arrested and sat in a jail cell so you could act like a little bitch?"  Lauren, I would have loved it if you had slept with both of them just because you could and then left them both.  I wanted to see you do it simply because I’M not that type of girl. 

For my rating, this film doesn’t even get two spies from me. I’m giving it one- and it’s Tom Hardy without his shirt on.  Whew...

Heather's Review:
I don't even know where to begin with this movie because I'm just not sure what it was.  Was it romance?  Kinda.  Action?  Sorta.  Comedy?  It thought so.  Bromance?  Yes, I suppose that is the most accurate category.  But before I devour this movie, I must mention that the eye candy alone was almost worth the price of admission (especially Tom Hardy).  

Obviously, the scenarios in this movie would NEVER really happen.  I get that.  But the movie just took it a bit too far for me.  Let me break it down:  1st off, I have done online dating and NOT ONCE has someone like Tuck (Tom Hardy) been a “match” for me.  And even if a guy like him is on Match (or the like), one would have to go out with a lot of “duds” to finally be rewarded with this gem.  2nd, they are SPYING on Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) and completely violating her privacy.  COMPLETELY.  Ewww!!!!!!!!!  3rd, Chelsea Handler.  I love you Chelsea...I really think you are hilarious.  But I don't know if you were funny in this movie because I was distracted by whatever “work” you’ve had done and I wanted to focus on your jokes...not the fact that the bottom half of your face doesn’t move.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.  That’s one of perk of being a “funny gal.”  Your looks may fade (which I doubt yours were) but you will ALWAYS be funny.  Trust that.  And lastly, it came down to which guy would “win” Lauren.  Did it ever cross their mind that maybe she wouldn’t like either of you?  Nope, it sure didn’t appear that way.  

Now, it’s time for me to get off my high horse.  Because, as I walked out of the theatre, I heard everyone around me saying, “wasn’t that a fun movie?”  “I loved it!!!  It was so funny!”  and various similar quotes.  It may me stop and wonder, am I so “in my head” that I can’t just take a movie like that for what it is: fluff with eye candy?  Did I expect more because I think Reese is adorable?  Perhaps...on both counts.  But I still think it could have done a better job of telling this story.

Bottom line:  If you want to look at some pretty people, see thing blow up and not have to think...this is a sold choice for you.  But keep the bar really low. 

I give it 2 spies...for eye candy purposes only.