Why I Do What I Do, Part 1: Every Stereotype in the Book

In one short email just sent to me, the writer captured just about every stereotype and insult about people who are single. I reprint it here. Dispelling these kinds of myths and misperceptions is one of my main motivations for doing what I do. 

Why I Wasn’t Surprised that Al and Tipper Gore Split

I have a pet theory (untested, as far as I know), and it goes like this: If you flaunt it, you don't have it. Public displays of affection broadcast the smoochers' theories about what will impress other people. They may not say much about the actual state of the relationship. 

Single Life as a ‘Satisfying Choice and a Profound Threat’

There have been so many single people at so many different times and places that the study of singles provides a "hidden history of human relations and marriage." So says Elizabeth Abbott in her book, A History of Marriage, which features a separate chapter on singles. That chapter includes a nod to this Living Single blog. So do you think we can now say that we've made history? 

AP Gets It: Not All Single Ladies Want to Put a Ring on It

A story just released by the Associated Press takes on just about every stereotype about people who are single. The reporter also asks what's up with the term "cougar." Oh, and the story mentions this Living Single blog, too.

Do You Have a Council of Friends?

A 43-year old dad, faced with a grim diagnosis, assembles a "council of dads" to be there for his daughters in case he can't be there himself. Two years later, he's realized that the council is "less about parenting and more about friendship." Whether we are parents or not parents, single or coupled, our social convoys are probably an important part of our lives. 

Maureen Dowd Quotes Me, But Not About Singles

In her column in today's New York Times, Maureen Dowd discussed some of what I've learned from studying liars and their lies. Now if only she would write about Singled Out! 

eHarmony: They’re Not Embarrassed

Look at this response from the eHarmony CEO who was asked how he would address the skeptics. 

Here’s the Answer You Are Not Allowed to Give If You Are Single

Here's an excerpt from an interview of the ever-single actress, Edie Falco. What is it about this interview that is so utterly commonplace yet so completely wrong?

What’s With All These Big-Time Liars?

How do ordinary people become extraordinary liars? It doesn't happen all at once, and the liars need help from the people all around them - including, unwittingly, the people who care about them the most. 

NY Times Gently Mocks Matrimaniacs

Maybe with more stories like Holson's appearing in prestigious publications such as the New York Times, the hosts of the pity parties for successful single people will more often find themselves mocked than taken seriously. 

Are Mothers Better Than Everyone Else?

Are you persuaded that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is not gay, and that it should never have mattered anyway? Good, because we can now move on to her next supposed shortcoming - she's not a mother. 

Beyond the Gay Debate: Elena Kagan and What We Still Don’t Get About People Who Are Single

Amidst all of the "is she or isn't she" (a lesbian) talk about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, there are arguments intended as defenses of her single life: "Oh, she just hasn't found the right person yet. It is hard for someone so accomplished to find a man who can deal with that. She does date, you know." What is too often missing even among some of the smartest commentaries is the possibility that Kagan actually likes her single life. 

Opening Up When Tragedy Strikes: Are You Sure It’s a Good Thing?

On September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans were offered this opportunity: "If you would like, please share your thoughts on the shocking events of today." Who do you think had the best physical and emotional health two years later -- (a) those who answered the question in great detail; (b) those who gave a short answer; or (c) those who chose not to answer? 

Let’s Hear It for the Guys

Welcome to two guys from the blogosphere calling attention to stereotyping and discrimination against singles. Both draw from published scientific reports to make their points. One of the studies shows that single and partnered people hardly differ from each other at all in what they are really like, but our singles-are-doomed stereotypes persist nonetheless. 

In Response to Shaming of Singles, Cacophony of Voices Says ‘Not This Time’

They tried so hard to make us pity all those highly successful people because they were single. What good is any accomplishment, no matter how fulfilling or impressive, if you have no spouse with whom to share it, the program seemed to suggest. We singles have heard this so many times before. This time, though, we aren't buying it. And by "we," I don't mean just me. 

Back from a Great Trip, I Find Smut and Singlism in My Inbox

I get lots of pitches from people who have never read a word that I've written. They think they already know what all singles are interested in. Their emails are great illustrations of pervasive stereotypes and caricatures of single people. At the other end of the spectrum are the thoughtful questions that are raised and the meaningful experiences that are shared when I take my singles talks on the road. 

Should Larry King Be Banned from Remarrying?

Sometimes people who have gotten divorced over and over again consider themselves superior to people who have never been married. Some even say so in no uncertain terms. A Time reporter has a different take - she thinks that serial divorcers should no longer be allowed to remarry. (Also, a note about my next singles talk.) 

The Leap from A Little Bit Married to the Whole Thing: Do Men and Women Differ?

A new book claims that if you are a little bit married (in a long-term monogamous relationship, without the official marriage certificate) and a heterosexual woman, you are probably more eager to make the leap to marriage than he is. Looking at the big picture, though, I think men and women are becoming more similar in how they approach (or don't) coupled life. A glance at the demographic trends over the past century indicates that the age at which men and women marry (among those who do marry) is becoming more similar.

Bye, Bye Single Supplement! Adweek Proclaims the Power of One

A key theme of a new story in Adweek is that singles are a huge demographic, yet they are mostly ignored by advertisers and marketers.

SNL Brings Us One More Reason to Smile – No, Laugh Out Loud

Saturday Night Live takes on a company that tries to make money by scaring singles.

For Single People, Three Reasons to Smile

That recent step forward in hospital visitation rights has been framed primarily as a victory for same-sex couples. It is. But the Presidential Memorandum is actually wider-ranging than that. Plus, two more reasons to smile if you are single - or if you are a fair-minded person of any stripe.

Is Good Marriage Good for Your Health?

Finally, the New York Times Magazine acknowledges that "the mere fact of being married, it seems, isn't enough to protect your health." But is life in a good marriage better than a comparable single life?

Law Review Article on Taxes: Uncoupled Singles Always Pay a Penalty

A law review article distinguishes between an "unmarried couple's penalty or bonus" and a "single person's penalty." An unmarried couple can, under certain circumstances, end up paying more in taxes if they marry - that's what we usually think of as the marriage penalty. But they can also pay less. A single person (not part of a couple) never pays less on the same income as a couple.

Is Marriage Toxic to Women? No, Misleading Reporting Is

A much-read post to this Psychology Today page ran under the subheading: "Massive meta-analysis says marriage reduces depression." I have three problems with that: The review wasn't a meta-analysis, it wasn't massive, and the literature doesn't show that getting married reliably reduces depression.

Does Marriage Civilize Men?

The Atlantic magazine published claims that men become happier, healthier, and harder working after marrying. The men, it is said, thereby become more "civilized" when they marry. The claims do not hold up well when measured by scientific standards. So who's the barbarian now?

Reason, Season, or Lifetime, Plus Inspiration from Blogger Who Wants to Marry

Are you single for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? Also, in what may be a first, I recommend a blog post by a single person who wants to be married. 

If You Have a Community of Friends, Are You Still Single?

The word "single" can seem to suggest that you are alone, and of course, I don't like that at all. Empirically, it is just not true; most single people are not alone.

“Single at Heart” – Is It Quirkyalone’s Naughty Cousin?

Quirkyalones have especially high standards for coupling, they value friends and not just romantic partners, and they are not at all insecure with their single status. Ultimately, though, they want what everyone else believes they should want - The One, that perfect match, the love songs, the romantic miracle. 

Really? Marriage Reduces Depression?

What does the 2007 synthesis really show about the link between getting married and getting depressed? See for yourself. Also, a glimpse at the long list of topics I am planning to get to in this blog.

David Brooks + Sandra Bullock = Matrimania

See if you can recognize what David Brooks gets wrong in his column in today's New York Times.