It's not a hijack, we're just trying to have a counter-offer for Valentine's day, especially for singles, and not only for couples, our duty is to take care of single people. So we're are going to organise speed dating events, seduction parties, the aim is to facilitate meetings between single. Some of them are coming because they want to meet the love of their life, some are coming just because they want to have fun, others have no idea what they will find at these parties, there are no rules.
Sociologists have come up with the concept of sexual nomads, to describe the fact that people now have a consumer's approach to relationships. That's what Léa told me, as she was eating a slice of cake on her twenty third birthday.
In Paris there are numerous opportunities to meet someone and start a relationship. It's much easier to start a relationship and stop it when you are tired of it, it's like you know, we buy clothes and we can throw them away, for partners it's the same we can get rid of them when we're not interested anymore. It's a little bit like that in Paris in any case.
Léa: "It's pretty cool it's a kind of new life it's interesting, I don't have to report on what I am doing, it's the kind of freedom that I like, restaurants, eating out, seeing friends, doing what I want."
Simone Bibal found a new life after her divorce... she was able to go back to her hobbies and be herself again. In a book entitled "allegro solo" she explains that being single is a state of mind, an opportunity to find one's self again. Readers who commented on her book said it was better that Prozac! Simone says it's important that bachelors have a strong network of friends.
Simone Bibal: "If you want to go out, to dance, have a chat, eat out, laugh, you need to find the right people, and make sure that the right people find you, because they need you too. I think it's easier to find such a network in large cities, I have never felt social stigma associated with remaining single in Paris, but I think outside of Paris it exists, because people know you, they run into you, and refer to you as the person who is on her own."
Half of France's singles are like Simone, over the age of forty... It's difficult finding men at that age because men tend to be looking for younger partners. Perhaps the fact that young women are studying longer and working, also explains the increasing number of single people. Candy is a thirty four year old Communications Manager with a large corporate company, she used to organise singles evenings in Paris.
Psychiatrists say that single people are a bit schizophrenic, because although they are enjoying their freedom, they ultimately want to be in a relationship, and leave a mark on the earth, in other words have a baby... As a male, Nicolas's biological clock is not ticking. He says what's for sure, is that he doesn't want to die on his own, but again he is only thirty five so there is no rush.
Nicolas: "When winter comes people feel a little lonely in their king size bed, but I am fine, I date girls so I am not worried about it,"
Why are there so many people who are single in France?
Things are changing so fast people need to adapt, girls, men, I think we're a bit lost, and I think we have to redefine love.
It's as simple as that.
In the meantime the freedom enjoyed by singles is increasingly envied by people in a stable relationship. More and more couples are playing single, in the sense that they are keeping their own apartments, and their own friends.Listen to the report:
At Network Europe we like to get to the bottom of things and when we decided to shift our focus to European's relationships to mark the upcoming celebration of St Valentine, our first question was who exactly was Valentine - Why is he a saint.? And what on earth made him so amorous? St. Valentine is actually San Valentino, the patron saint of the city of Terni, a city in the Italian region of Umbria, about 100 kilometres from one of Europe's self proclaimed "capitals of romance" - Rome. Each year, the Terni locals organize not just a single day, (like the rest of the world) but also a whole month of celebrations: from exhibitions to concerts to poetry readings…all on the theme of love, of course. So, how did St. Valentine become the international symbol for amore? Radio Netherlands, Dany Mitzman had the enviable job of finding out.
As work, study and weekend breaks take Europeans to the four corners of the continent, international romance is blooming. More than 100,000 Poles alone have moved to Ireland in search of jobs since it flung its doors wide-open to immigration from the new EU member states in Eastern Europe. Most of the Poles are young and...single. For its part, Ireland has more young people per capita than any other European country. So even if many Poles don't have romance on their mind when they leave for Dublin, Limerick or Galway, it often ends up that way. Polish Radio's Bogdan Zaryn caught up with Paul and Dominika, one of the increasing number of Polish-Irish couples.
Now speaking of the indirect effects of the EU On the streets of new member - Romania's capital Bucharest intergenerational couples are increasingly frequent - and visible. But apparently as Radio Romania International's Iulian Muresan reports it's apparently not because Romanians have successfully bridged the generation gap. Quite on the contrary... It's all about money.
Across the border from Romania, There's a sea change in the way Bulgarians think about relationships and marriage - as well. And there's a new acceptance of variety. Radio Bulgaria's Radostin Zhelev takes this personal look.
Embracing the new is something Swedes like to think they're good at. Rightly or wrongly, this part of the world as long been associated with sexual freedoms but its also known to be at the vanguard of social legislation equating de-facto relationships and marriage under the law, promoting gender equality, and safeguarding the rights of children as unique from their parents. But there are still some aspects of personal sexual and romantic freedoms that are controversial for some - Radio Sweden's Bill Schiller reports on the state of gay and lesbian rights in Sweden.
This month's Network Europe Quiz is about St Valentine. We ask, what is the name of the festival that couples attend in conjunction with St Valentines day in Terni, Italy? The winners will be announced by the end of the month.
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