It's fun and fine to be single
Today is a difficult day to be alone.
But try to blank out the content couples and Valentine's Day deals, because tomorrow is when single people come into their own.
Observed on February 13 or 15, Singles Awareness Day gives people without partners the chance to celebrate or commiserate in their single status.
Wellingtonian Hilary Combes believes in putting a positive spin on being alone, arguing that Singles Awareness Day is "a great opportunity to boost recognition of how great solo life can be" - in spite of its unfortunate acronym.
In 2009, Miss Combes, originally from the British island of Jersey, founded the social group SARC, for Wellingtonians who were content in their single status and looking to meet new friends.
SARC stands for Socialising, Adventure, Recreation and Culture - or, Miss Combes says, half-joking, "Singles Are Really Cool" - and its motto is "Meet mates, not dates".
On its website it sells greeting cards bearing the slogans "It's fun to be single" and "Celebrate your single life".
"It's not saying you have to stay single forever, but if you're taking time out from relationships, or if you've just come out of something serious, come out and have fun with us."
SARC offers single Wellingtonians the opportunity to try new activities and experiences without the pressure of a dating situation, Miss Combes says.
"Because there is so much emphasis on dating, singles clubs are really dating clubs, because that's their purpose - but ours is genuinely a singles club.
"There were people who said: ‘That will never work', but it did."
More than 1100 people have signed up to SARC's free online newsletter.
A core group of about half a dozen "mostly mature ladies" meet regularly for Sunday brunch, movie nights, trips to the theatre and other activities.
"It's not that we just sit around talking about our single lives - SARC is more about while you're single, enjoy your single life."
SARC is holding a board game challenge at the Spring & Fern Tavern in Tinakori Rd from 6.30pm tomorrow in celebration of Singles Awareness Day. Entry $20, spaces limited. Bookings can be made by going to sarc.co.nz/singlesawareness day. Information on SARC can be found at sarc.co.nz.
The Dominion Post