Single shouldn’t mean you’re staying in

Katy Coduto

If you’re single, you might look at Feb. 14 as a day to wallow and wonder what your life has come to. Or, you could stop being miserable about being single and join the 96 million other Americans who will also be single on Friday in a day of hanging out, barhopping and treating yourself.

This won’t be hard. While it might feel like everyone you know is in a relationship with the holiday coming up, you can take heart: 43 percent of the population over the age of 18 is completely single, according to a Pew Research study, and the marriage rate for adults 18 to 29 is only at 20 percent. With stats like this, trust me, you’re doing fine.

Even better, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday night this year, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hang out with other single friends and to mingle downtown. Water Street Tavern owner Mike Beder said the bar isn’t gearing its night toward couples or singles, so it will provide a fun, positive environment for all.

“We don’t want to turn away students with or without dates, so it’s better we play the middle ground,” he explained. Beder said he expects to see couples earlier in the evening, especially for dinner, with groups of singles sliding into the bar later.

“The single crowd seems to travel in numbers that night, groups of guys and girls that decided to head out together,” he said. If you’re single, think safety in numbers as you head downtown. Your other single friends will help you make good decisions throughout the night — hopefully.

Down the street, Ray’s Place will have a similar strategy as it welcomes both couples and singles all evening. Recent Kent State grad and Ray’s bartender Kacey Hocking said she thinks that Ray’s will be ideal for a date night or for those who just want to hang out with friends. She said she expects to see a wide variety of people at the bar.

“Ray’s is a cool hang out with good food and affordable prices, so singles who just want to enjoy their friends without the pressure of an over-the-top Valentine’s Day will probably come in,” she says. “But it’s also a good date for a college kid not trying to break the bank.”

While trying to keep the night affordable, singles and couples alike have to think of how they’re coming across to prospective dates and actual dates. Beder said his bartenders have told him Valentine’s Day is a good tip night.

“They speculate that guys want to look like big spenders to their dates or to any single women that may be watching,” he explained. This is something to keep in mind as you head out Friday night — research conducted by on singles in America shows that 97 percent of singles are turned off by a date that is rude to the wait staff. Tip accordingly if you’re out and mingling, and it could pay off in the long run.

Friday night is not a night to hide out in your apartment if you’re single. It’s a good night to embrace your other single friends and have a night out in Kent; plus, as Beder said, it’s a great opportunity to gauge who else is single.

“I would tell single students to go out on Friday night with their friends and have a great time,” he said. “They’ll probably have more fun than their friends who had to get dressed up and feel forced to do something because it was Valentine’s Day.”

And, as Beder said, there is still plenty of time to get into a serious committed relationship.

“Most importantly, it’s college,” he said. “[You’ll] have plenty of forced meals at the Olive Garden in the future. How many more nights of heading downtown with all their best friends will there be?”

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected]