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Archives for November, 2011

General

The Power of Pets

It hurts to be rejected or excluded. Even rejections that might objectively seem impersonal and inconsequential can be upsetting. For example, if you play a ball-tossing game online with two other people and those two others start tossing only to each other and excluding you, that’s upsetting.

In experiments using that ball-tossing game, no one is using real names or photos, and there are no rewards or punishments involved....
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Singlehood

Simple and Healthful Food for the Other 364 Days

I love food, and a day of indulgence such as Thanksgiving is my idea of a celebration. On the other 364 days, I savor healthful foods. I’m already looking forward to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when I’ll have a few friends over for seafood, veggies, and fruit. (OK, desserts too.)

I grew up in an Italian family where we all shared the food-related work: My mother cooked and everyone else ate. I didn’t learn much...
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Love & Affection

What We Miss by Thinking the Same Way as Everyone Else

For a long time, I didn’t really understand why diversity was important in any deep sense. Sure, I believe in equal opportunity as a basic tenet of fairness in America, and that was reason enough to want to see all different kinds of people in classrooms, neighborhoods, and boardrooms. What I did not get was how people who are not like everyone else can see things in profoundly different ways.

They ask...
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Marriage

Growing Inequality? Marriage Contributes to It

Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks created a stir with the title of his new book, Is Marriage for White People? Then, in a subsequent essay in the Atlantic magazine, he took his provocation a step further by suggesting that marriage is also for rich people.

Banks does not think that marriage should be primarily for white people or rich people. Quite the contrary. He believes that...
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Love & Affection

What Kim Kardashian’s Marriage Tells Us About Everyone Else’s

At the heart of Kim Kardashian’s grandiose wedding and wee little marriage was something meaningful. Under the guise of a celebrity spectacle, the bride was modeling something utterly ordinary about the place of matrimony in contemporary life.

For Kim Kardashian, the highlight of her married life appeared to be her wedding. All of the planning and hype built up to that. The special that E! showcased and will probably continue to run...
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Marriage

Think Young Adults Are Slackers and Narcissists? Wrong!

If you are a young single person, look out! Your parents and grandparents, along with others their age, may think of you as self-centered slackers who need to grow up already. They think you are narcissists, the “me generation.” Actually, they are wrong. Here’s why their perceptions are so distorted.

“Kids these days!” When people of a certain age express that exasperation, they are not talking about children. They are rolling their...
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The Allure of Single Life

“Sometimes I want to be single.” That’s what a reader wrote to the author of a “Love Letters” column, in an exchange that drew a huge response (for example, more than 1100 comments and a special segment on Boston’s NPR station). What so many people found intriguing about this reader who wondered whether single life suited her best was that she was in a long-term relationship with a person she described as
“an amazing, wonderful man. We have a fantastic relationship. Communicate well....
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General

Has Dining Solo Lost Its Stigma?

How do you feel about walking into a restaurant on your own? I don’t mean just a fast food restaurant, but a real, sit-down-and-take-your-time sort of place. If your answer is not entirely positive, how do you explain your negative feelings? Are you worried about what other people might think of you if they see you eating alone?

When I first started doing research on single life more than a...
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General

Mother of the “Old Maid”: Sound Advice

Many single people lament the pressures from their parents to get married. Recently I read a welcome twist on that old story.

A mother wrote to an advice columnist because her 30-something year old daughter started calling herself an “old maid” in the making. The mother was not asking how she could turn up the heat on her mate-seeking daughter. Instead, she wanted to know how she could be supportive without...
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