Headline Sep 21, 2014/ ''' A ROOM OF THY OWN '''


'' YOU need an apartment alone if it's over a garage,''  declared Helen Gurley Brown in her  1962  bestseller.

To Brown, who went on to edit   Cosmopolitan magazine,  the benefits of solo living were innumerable; it afforded the space to cultivate the self, furnish the mind, and work late.

Sensational at the time, Brown's counsel seems sensible now. In America more than half of all adults are single and roughly one out of seven lives alone  

WORLDWIDE,  -the number of solo dwellers has climbed from  153m   in 1996 to  202m  in 2006   -a 33% jump in a decade, according to Euromonitor International, a market analyst.

Yet little is known about the wider social effects of this unprecedented boom, writes Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University.

His new book   ''Going Solo''   offers a comprehensive look at the lures and perils of living alone.

Mr Klinenberg parts with those who see the rise of solo living as yet another sign of the decline of the civic society. Now that marriage is no longer the ticket to adulthood:

A desire to live alone is perfectly reasonable, he writes.

Young adults view it as a rite of passage, a period of personal growth before possible settling down. Its culture acceptance has helped to liberate women from bad marriages and oppressive families, granting them a space to return to civic life.

And as elderly adults live longer than ever before, often without a partner, many hope to stay independent for as long as possible.

Nearly everyone who lives alone prefers it to their other options, says Mr Klinenberg, and ever more people hope to join the ranks. 

Solitary living need not mean solitude :  ''No one really bowls alone,''  Mr Klinenberg quips. 

The author offers evidence that people who live alone are often more socially active than their cohabitating peers. The  ''communications revolution''  has allowed more people to experience the pleasures-

Of social life from the comforts of home., and cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture of bars, cafes and restaurants. Urban officials are now eager to:

Lure professional singles -known to both work and playhard   -in the hope that they will stimulate the local culture and economy.

Living alone is easy enough for the young and solvent, less  so for the elderly, frail and poor.

Mr Klinenberg came to this story while working on a book about the lethal Chicago heatwave of 1995.............

When hundreds of people died alone at home, out of touch with friends and neighbours.

This trend for solo living can too easily morph into social isolation, particularly for men,  who are less adept than women at making and sustaining connections.

Other bugbears include loneliness, discrimination  (in the workplace), the tax-code and so on)  and workaholism.

Ageing single adults  -a fast growing group-  complain that there are few decent, affordable alternatives to withering away.

Mr Klinenberg looks wistfully to the Scandinavian countries, where generous social  social-welfare benefits  and communal  urban allow more people to live alone together.

He optimistically calls  for    ''bold policy initiatives''    such as more affordable housing and assisted living facilities.

''We'll need them,''  he adds,   ''since so many of us will be living alone.''

With respectful dedication to the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' No Stopping '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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