Sympathetic Singles




Being single in New York is difficult. Everyone knows that. One thing that isn’t difficult, however, is finding singles events in New York. Even the Cornell Club hosts singles events for its members. My favorite innovation: singles charity events for young professionals, held at city hot spots. In October, I attended a singles fundraising event for the Jewish National Fund at Home. This month I am slated to attend something similar at Marquee for Love Our Children USA. While I am ashamed of my hollow generosity (I didn’t even know that the name of the charity was Love Our Children until I was forced to look it up for this post), I am consoled by the fact that I am doing good, even if I am doing it in an overtly self-serving way. Here is a great example of how the desperation of urban yuppies can be channeled into charitable success: the Singles Charity Ball held in San Francisco on March 24, 2007 for Seva Foundation’s sight program. According to one account, the event raised $11,000, enough to restore sight to over 200 of this country’s blind.

So there’s one reason why singles like me shouldn’t be ashamed. In addition, I have other theories that can assuage the self-flagellating tendencies of single yuppie urbanites, at least where hollow generosity is concerned. For instance, while not all charity work is overtly self-serving, it has always been my philosophy that most people don’t do good for the sake of doing good. They do things for others in order to feel better about themselves, to rack up some karmic credit, ameliorate some guilt, get the cheap high of momentary fulfillment in a life were most are not free to live who they are. It can even get as “bad” as social and professional networking. Some criticize the larger trend of fashionable charitable giving, calling it “philanthrotainment”and “malltruism;” I, however, respectfully disagree. Sure, it would be great if people lived by the spirit, as well as the letter, of charitable giving. In the absence of altruism, however, the current state of affairs isn’t a bad runner-up. As de Toqueville put it (although, admittedly, the context was a little different), this is “self-interest properly understood.” Given the multitude of ways that our base desires are manipulated daily, I can think of no better cause than the public good. So I say, go to it single New Yorkers! Attend these events with reckless abandon! Throw on those Louboutins and go help some people! Not only are these functions kind of fabulous, but even if you have a miserable time and come nowhere close to hitting relationship gold, you can never say that the night was a waste.

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