myths about single people Articles

Singlism in Finland Is Causing a Stir

Monday, June 9th, 2014

helsinkiEarlier this week, a top political leader in Finland declared that people who live alone are targets of unfair taxes, fees, and housing costs. The laws, she noted, are unjust.

To all of the millions and millions of solo-dwellers living somewhere other than Finland, take a moment and allow yourself some vicarious savoring. Imagine that in other countries, too, political leaders might begin to take seriously the financial challenges of people who are single, especially those singles who are living alone.

Pros and Cons of Singledom: Guest Post by Paula Coston

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Paula_Coston[Bella’s intro: I recently discovered UK singles blogger and author Paula Coston. One of her posts included a set of pros and cons about single life that I found particularly clever, so I asked if I could share some of them here. Happily, she agreed. Thanks, Paula! Readers, please contribute your witty pairs of pros and cons.]

From Paula Coston: I’m a British female singleton, 59 and childless.

Some cons and pros of singledom, as I see them.

Con: I talk to myself.

Pro: I make more sense than most people.


Feminist Biology and Matrimaniacal Psychology

Monday, May 26th, 2014

scientistMake Room for Singles in Teaching and Research” (also available here) was the title of an article I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education, together with sociologist Kay Trimberger and law professor (and now Dean of UCLA Law School) Rachel Moran. When the Chronicle published the article, it was in a special issue on diversity.

I think that was apt. We need a singles perspective in academia in the same way we need the perspectives of other groups such as women and people of color. Without these different points of view, we end up asking a limited set of questions and coming up with a narrow set of predictable answers. We miss some things entirely and see too much of other things.

When One Wedding Is Not Enough

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

cfdWhen writers of movies and TV shows want to reach for an easy plot line, they all come up with the same sort of answer – a marriage proposal, a wedding, or some other tired old form of matrimania. It doesn’t matter what the genre is – comedies, dramas, crime procedurals, even sporting events and newscasts, not to even mention the reality shows that at least have the decency to announce that they are about marriage proposals; somehow matrimania will rear its boring, predictable head.

Now something else is happening.

Paris Is For Solos

Monday, May 19th, 2014

I’m going to tell you the first few words of a sentence in a true story. See if you can predict how it ends.

The story is of a woman who is alone in Paris. She is at the opera, where she “had a seat in a box: a plush crimson closet that one shares with six strangers.” Her description continues like this: “The claret-cushioned chairs were arranged two, two, two, and then – at the rear of the box centered between all of the coupled seats – was a single chair: mine. I was ____.”

That blank at the end of the sentence? That’s for you to fill in. What do you think this real person really did say?

Creepy or Cute? One Approach to the Solo Diner

Friday, May 16th, 2014

diningThere’s good news and bad news about dining alone. The bad news is that many people are intimidated by the mere thought of dining solo. They think that other people will see them as lonely, pathetic – as people who do not have a friend in the world. The good news is that they are wrong. In research my colleagues and I did, we found that on average, other people were no more likely to think ill of a solo diner than of the same person dining as part of a couple, a group, or any other arrangement.

How to Make Happy Single People Feel Bad

Monday, May 12th, 2014

oneFrom all of the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against single people that I call singlism, you probably already realize that many people have a problem with people who are single. What really surprised me at first is that some people seem even more upset at single people who are happily single and choose to stay single than at sad singles. Now there is research documenting what was at first just a feeling. Other people really do feel angrier at single people who choose to be single. Happy single people ruin their views of how the world works.

Maybe that’s why there seem to be so many ways to undermine single people’s contentment with their lives – or at least try to. Rebecca Adams wrote about this in, “If you feel bad about being single, it’s not because you’re single.” Among the pressures that can cause single people to doubt their own happiness with their single lives are:

What’s Wrong with This Effusive Account of a Great Experience?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

On the Travel page of the magazine, The Week, was a one-paragraph excerpt from a story about a visit to America’s “happiest seaside town.” Read it and see what you think. Then keep reading if you want to know what I thought.

About Those 23 Ways Single Life is Superior

Monday, May 5th, 2014

saladFor the second time in just a few months, a reporter asked me if there are scientifically-documented ways in which single people are not just doing as well as married people, but better. It was time for me to start my list, and so far, I came up with 23 ways in which single people are doing better than married people.

What do these results tell us about single life and married life and the differences between them?

Did You Choose to Have Fewer Friends?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

groupThe results of 277 studies from around the world showed that after age 30, the number of friends in our social networks shrinks. Other social networks – except for family networks – tend to get smaller, too. That’s what I discussed previously. But what should we make of these findings?


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Recent Comments
  • Cameron: Many people could come up with movies that fit the bill. The beloved The Shawshank Redemption avoids the...
  • jakebraekes: Younger men living alone are “fine” usually because they are living the years of friends and...
  • Alan: I wonder if some of the older men have problems living alone because they were used to the traditional sex...
  • Dusty: I really hate the stupidity of: “a renter does not have property tax or maintenance.” Where does...
  • RachelAB: Thanks for posting this post, Bella, and thanks for articulating some of the reasons for not marrying...
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