23 Quips for Marriage Skeptics and Lovers of Single Life

Humorists, intellectuals, celebrities and queens all savor singlehood

Posted Mar 10, 2015

Here are some of my favorite quips and quotes about solitude and single life. Categories are (1) a few good quips, (2) quotes from authors and intellectuals, and (3) quotes from celebrities and queens.

Have a few of your own? Please share them.

A few good quips

  1. "I've found if you have a really good sauté pan then you don't need someone to share your life with." –Henry's Kitchen (cooking show)
  2. "Life is not a fairy tale. If you lose your shoe at midnight, you're drunk."  -- All over Facebook (let me know if you know the actual origin)
  3. "Normal is just a setting on a washing machine." – Another one all over Facebook
  4. “Can you believe it, Marlow – our little girl is finally getting divorced.” --New Yorker cartoon, March 22, 2010

From authors and intellectuals

5. “If you’re afraid of loneliness, don’t marry.” --Anton Chekhov, quoted in "The Week," July 22, 2011

6. "Love is a source of anxiety until it is a source of boredom; only friendship feeds the spirit." –Edmund White, "City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and '70s"

7. "Until marriage is either abolished completely or has become a hollow sham, I am afraid that women are going to make far too little effort to improve their own position." –Eva Figes, "Patriarchal Attitudes"

8. "Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it." –Rod McKuen

9. "He's going to have to be a very special man. I'd like a partner, but if I don't get one, I'm not going to be unhappy." –Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice, in response to a Time magazine question about finding a partner

10. "…the amazing frequency with which people remember childhood moments of solitude in a positive and often romantic glow…seems to suggest that as adults many of us have a deep and real longing for more solitude than we are presently getting" –Sara Maitland, "How to Be Alone"

11. “…being single is a completely legitimate way to exist and, for me, a very absorbing and interesting one. Once I made that realization, I was much happier inside of my life and when I look back at the last 15-20 years, I have been very satisfied with it. The only thing that was making me unhappy was the idea that I should be doing something else that I wasn't doing.” –Kate Bolick, author of "Spinster," in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio

12. "I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."--Henry David Thoreau

13. “…there is always an element of uncertainty in interpersonal relationships which should preclude them from being idealized as an absolute or seen as constituting the only path toward personal fulfillment. It may be our idealization of interpersonal relationships in the West that causes marriage, supposedly the most intimate tie, to be so unstable. If we did not look to marriage as the principal source of happiness, fewer marriages would end in tears.” –Anthony Storr, "Solitude: A Return to Self"

14. "I was never less alone than when by myself." --Edward Gibbon, "Memoirs"

15. “American teenagers are fortunate enough to live in an era where their future no longer relies on meeting a prince, yet they fail to utilize this…It’s no good having all these victories in the battle for emancipation of women if we still send out a message that finding Mr. Right is the only route to utopia.” –Helen Croydon, "Screw the Fairytale"

16. "Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement." --Alice Koller

From celebrities and queens

17. "I wish I had known sooner that I like being on my own. If I'd figured that out earlier, I probably wouldn't have gotten married three times." –Whoopi Goldberg

18. "I want to be alone." Grusinskaya, Russian ballerina played by Greta Garbo

19. "Husbands, no. Marriage, no. Would I want a companion? Possibly. Friendship? Of course. But not permanent, because I really like my space." –Debbie Reynolds, responding to a Los Angeles Times reporter who asked her if she will have any more husbands

20. “Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” –Mae West

21. “The poor woman is bodily and morally the husband’s slave. That always sticks in my throat. When I think of a merry happy free young girl – and look at the ailing, aching state a young wife is generally doomed to, which you can’t deny is the penalty of marriage.” --Queen Victoria, on why she didn’t like congratulating brides, quoted in Newsweek, January 25, 2010

22. "I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married." --Elizabeth I, Queen of England

23. "What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be."  --Ellen Burstyn