Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Oh, No, They Didn’t! Unsolicited Advice and Product-Promotions for Singles

Here’s what they THINK Living Single readers are interested in

I just realized that my post office box and e-mail inbox contain the makings of a short course (as brief as this one post) on stereotypes and misperceptions of people who are single. The pitches I receive from publicists and from people pitching their own products capture a lot about the reign of singlism in contemporary society.

Plenty of people discover this one thing about me - I write this Living Single column for Psychology Today. Then, without thinking they need to read a single word of any of my posts, nor a sampling of anything else I've ever written, they are sure they know what would interest the readers of my blog on single life.

Here are some examples, mostly from just the past week or so:

  • This publicist wants me to know that her client once was sure that she just did not have "the wedding gene," but she just "got married!!" Lucky me! She is now "available for an interview to discuss all things WEDDING."
  • This next publicist believes I might like "to create a larger story for your Living Single blog" on this topic: "The majority of men and women surveyed indicated that they would be more willing to perform oral sex if their partner's taste and smell was improved." Perhaps my readers would be interested in this new nutritional supplement they can buy for $29.99 per month? Comes in banana, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. (No pun intended.)
  • "Traveling as a couple is one of the most romantic parts of coupledom bliss - but it can also be the most stressful," this pitch began. So of course this person assumes that my readers want to know all about how they, too, can enjoy blissful, stress-free couples vacations.
  • "Ellen" would like to send me samples of an ice-cream-like product that I can then hype to you so that you can "indulge in a healthy shake without wrecking your bathing suit body!"
  • The next one begins, "Bella- ‘Want 2 c a movie with me?'" This publicist is offering me an interview with her "textpert," who can offer tips to "folks who insist on using text message to get a date." She seems certain I'm interested in knowing that "cell phones have seriously changed the dating game - especially when it comes to teens."
  • This man offers to send me samples of his client's waterproof, rechargeable product "ergonomically designed to complement the natural contours of women."
  • This last example isn't something that was sent to me because I write this blog, but it seems to fit with the "oh, no, they didn't!" theme. A self-styled book-marketing expert sent me a copy of an interview he did with an author who supposedly has sold more than a million copies of his books. Asked about the book he is currently writing, the author replies that it is about parenting. The first chapter, he proudly proclaims, is about "planning your toddler's wedding."

I swear, I did not make up ANY of this!

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Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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