Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.
All the single ladies, all the singles ladies...
For those who feel alone in being alone, we have some numbers that should cheer you up. Bloomberg has reported that more than half of Americans 16 and older are single (50.2 percent to be exact), per August 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That's a pretty big jump from the 37.4 percent back in 1976, when the government first began keeping record. Now before you start throwing yourself the old "I'm going to die alone" pity party, let's break down a few things.
As a shitty ex-boyfriend once said, "Single is a relative term." In this case, the BLS is defining singles as anyone unmarried. So your open, casual, "it's complicated," and on-again-off-again relationships don't count. They're also not counting unrecognized gay marriages, long-term relationships, and engagements -- so take this number with a grain of salt.
Still, there's no denying that times are changing. The number of Americans who have never married has increased from 22.1 percent in 1976 to 30.4 percent. And to us, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
As societal pressures ease up and gender roles begin to evolve, marriage is no longer as necessary as it once was. Women can pursue careers. Men can be baby daddies without being bread-winning husbands. And while same-sex marriage isn't yet recognized in every state, coming out trumps hiding in a sham marriage.
Simply put, more singles means more options. And with the ability to swipe through countless dating profiles with a touch of a screen, can you really blame the modern-day single for not wanting to settle?
So the next time you find yourself fielding questions from relatives about your imaginary significant other, showing up to a wedding solo, or reinstalling an online dating app on your phone for the 11 billionth time, remember that you are now technically in the majority -- and everyone else can suck it.