Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Paris fair celebrates single life in France

A story published today in the Mail and Guardian reports that single life and how to make the most of going it alone -- a way of life increasingly chosen by many, sociologists say -- is celebrated at a three-day fair in Paris, France, this week.

Holidays, hobbies, sports, outings, even how to get the best deals for your finances and phone bills as a "singleton" are lined up for the show at Champerret from Friday.

And, "tragic spinsters" la Bridget Jones listen up -- singledom is increasingly la mode in the 21st century, with more people opting for single life, according to sociologists in France.

"The right to happiness, that's maybe what the fashion for single life is asserting with more and more force today," sociologist and historian Jean-Claude Bologne said.

"Life as a couple, is it possible? A generation is in the process of asking itself the question," he added.

Now in its third year, the fair will target France's 14-million single people, organisers said. It moves to Lille in northern France later in the month.

The title "Celiberte" for the show billed as the "art of life for single people" is a play on the French words for a single person (celibataire) and freedom (liberte). But founder Corinne Bernard acknowledges that for many, being single spells loneliness.

So for reluctant lonely-hearts, the fair also offers ways to meet a soul mate, including via webcam on the internet.

The fast-moving pace of 21st-century life, while exciting and enriching, also takes a toll, Bernard said.

"Slices of solo life make up part of it," she said. "We have to stop making a mystery out of single life; it's a stage of normal life and of freedoms."