As a scholar and practitioner of single life, I should probably be collecting great quips and quotes about singlehood and solitude. There are some classics, such as Mae West’s “Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”
I don’t have such a list, but it is time to start one. So if you know of a great quote, please post it to the Comments section.
I also like the kinds of quotes that are not so much quips but personal comments or insights or observations. The ones that reflect positively on single life are the ones I like the best (big surprise, I know) but the derogatory ones are telling in their own ways.
Here are some quotes from the beginnings of my collection. Please share your own favorites.
- Debbie Reynolds, in response to the question from the Los Angeles Times of whether she has “any more husbands in the offing,” said, “Husbands, no. Marriage, no. Would I want a companion? Possibly. Friendship? Of course. But not permanent, because I really like my space.”
- Eva Figes, author of Patriarchal Attitudes, and escapee from Nazi Germany, said, “Until marriage is either abolished completely or has become a hollow sham, I’m afraid women are going to make far too little effort to improve their own position.”
- Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, asked by Time about finding a partner, said, “I’d like a partner, but if I don’t get one, I’m not going to be unhappy.”
And now a disappointing quote, from novelist Jodi Picoult, who cannot imagine that anyone could truly enjoy solitude (from The Week, May 16, 2014): “Let me tell you this: If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
Advertisers do not typically have better insights about human nature than novelists do, but the creators of a television ad for Splenda did far better than Jodi Picoult when they showed a woman savoring “the delightful discovery that you have the house all to yourself.”
Unsurprisingly, Thoreau has a thing or two to say about the appeal of solitude, such as, “I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” (From here, a source of some other good quotes about single life.)
Henry David Thoreau image is in the public domain.