Tuesday 13 November 2018 8:28 am

DEBATE: Can we expect the Chinese celebration of Singles’ Day to make it over to Britain?

and Benedict Spence
Benedict Spence is a freelance writer. He is on Twitter @BenedictSpence

Can we expect the Chinese celebration of Singles’ Day to make it over to Britain?

Abbie Llewelyn, a writer and commentator, says YES.

If you think that Valentine’s Day is a commercialised hallmark holiday, just wait until UK companies catch onto Singles’ Day. Originating at Chinese universities in the 90s, Alibaba made it what it is today: a shopping frenzy surpassing even Black Friday in sales.

The only reason it has failed to hit the UK market so far is because it clashes with Remembrance Day, which is supposed to be a sombre occasion, not a self-indulgent spending spree. There is quite an easy solution to this, however: just change the date of Singles’ Day for countries which recognise 11 November as a day of remembrance.

Call me a cynic, but we already have people semi-jokingly acknowledging “Galentine’s Day” (celebrating female friendship) on 13 February, and we have taken on Black Friday despite not celebrating Thanksgiving.

I don’t think it will take much longer for UK companies to start milking the money cow of single people who like to complain that they have no one to love on Valentine’s Day.

Benedict Spence, a freelance writer, says NO.

What is celebrating being single if not a demonstration that one is available to not be single?

The phrase “single and ready to mingle” is an invitation to find someone new, usually following a break-up and with the intention of inciting jealousy in former partners. Less a celebration, more a cry of desperation, it is certainly not a declaration of desire for perpetual solitude.

It’s the mingling we yearn for, so the Chinese phenomenon of Singles’ Day isn’t going to take off in the UK. Famously reserved as we are, in the midst of the “dating Apocalypse”, most Brits won’t be thrilled at receiving cards highlighting their inability to reproduce. Their parents already do that.

Dating in the age of Tinder is already depressing. If we really need a holiday for singletons, bring us something constructive: National Speed-Dating Day, or Shotgun-Wedding Week.

If some choose solitude, it means they don’t want company, especially not some company selling them rubbish. If they wanted that, they’d be married.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.