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Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After

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Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the workplace, the marketplace, and the federal tax structure, they are not simply victims of this singlism--single people really are living happily ever after. Singled Out Debunks Ten Myths of Singlehood, Including: -Myth--The Dark Aura of Singlehood: You are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic. -Myth--Attention, Single Women: Your work won’t love you back and your eggs will dry up. Also, you don’t get any and you’re promiscuous. -Myth--Attention, Single Men: You are horny, slovenly, and irresponsible, and you are the scary criminals. Or you are sexy, fastidious, frivolous, and gay.


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Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the workplace, the marketplace, and the federal tax structure, they are not simply victims of this singlism--single people really are living happily ever after. Singled Out Debunks Ten Myths of Singlehood, Including: -Myth--The Dark Aura of Singlehood: You are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic. -Myth--Attention, Single Women: Your work won’t love you back and your eggs will dry up. Also, you don’t get any and you’re promiscuous. -Myth--Attention, Single Men: You are horny, slovenly, and irresponsible, and you are the scary criminals. Or you are sexy, fastidious, frivolous, and gay.

30 review for Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book was a game-changer for me. Why? It's been a few years since my last long relationship, and while I've dated some, I was starting to suspect that I might actually be happier when I'm alone. I have, however, had lingering doubts from time to time that such a thing could even be possible. Surely I should keep getting out there and trying to meet someone. And if I didn't want to, something must be wrong with me, right? Am I selfish, immature, or scared of commitment? Well, no. This book con This book was a game-changer for me. Why? It's been a few years since my last long relationship, and while I've dated some, I was starting to suspect that I might actually be happier when I'm alone. I have, however, had lingering doubts from time to time that such a thing could even be possible. Surely I should keep getting out there and trying to meet someone. And if I didn't want to, something must be wrong with me, right? Am I selfish, immature, or scared of commitment? Well, no. This book confirmed a lot of things for me, namely that there's nothing wrong with you if you'd rather be alone than coupled. Author Bella DePaulo also puts other doubts to rest by scientifically and statistically dismantling the misinformation and stereotypes that people often have about single people. Not only that, DePaulo makes it clear that singles can and do have fulfilling lives that are every bit as valid as those of married people, and she does so with humor, intelligence, and a touch of sarcasm. I especially enjoyed the chapter on why married people are even concerned about whether other people are single. Some of the information there blew me away and gave me a deeper understanding of people who make disparaging remarks about single and/or childless people. Will I ever be in a relationship again? I can't say. But for as long as I'm single, I'll be feeling confident, comfortable, and content about it--because being single, as Bella DePaulo argues, is pretty great.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I stumbled upon this book last week on Facebook. Someone had posted a New York Times article covering National Singles and Unmarried Week. Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. Harvard, was mentioned along with her newest book Singlism: what it is, why it matters and how to stop it. (The latter is on my wishlist. It's an anthology by 26+ contributors on the topic.) At any rate, DePaulo is the first author I've read to really face the topic head-on as a social scientist with an objective, critical eye. The book e I stumbled upon this book last week on Facebook. Someone had posted a New York Times article covering National Singles and Unmarried Week. Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. Harvard, was mentioned along with her newest book Singlism: what it is, why it matters and how to stop it. (The latter is on my wishlist. It's an anthology by 26+ contributors on the topic.) At any rate, DePaulo is the first author I've read to really face the topic head-on as a social scientist with an objective, critical eye. The book examines myths about marriage and happiness as well as why so many singles are indeed content with their lives. DePaulo brings forth studies concerning material discrimination against singles (divorced, widowed and never-married) which I found quite fascinating. She urges the reader to diversify one's life, to seek comfort in work, relationships, and community. She comes out a winner in demanding that the government stay out of marriage, allowing financial perks such as Social Security benefits to be shared by all caretakers or significant others (sexual or not) as do many industrial nations. I look forward to reading her anthology and urge others to read her work, share her findings with others and above all demand a cessation in being "singled out." Doing so does NOT imply that one is anti-marriage or anti-couples, but it does underscore that all people are created equal. A lovely read! Includes index, notes and bibliography.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This more of a rant than critical/scientific criticism on the culture of marriage. The book attempts to debunk myths surrounding singlehood. It is a nice but flawed read. Except for the insight into the welfare system and the subtle discrimination which singles face, I don't think that this book is necessary. DePaulo highlights the fact that marriage is deeply ingrained in our culture. I didn't need the book to tell me this; just about every magazine is obsessed with who's hitched up with whom. This more of a rant than critical/scientific criticism on the culture of marriage. The book attempts to debunk myths surrounding singlehood. It is a nice but flawed read. Except for the insight into the welfare system and the subtle discrimination which singles face, I don't think that this book is necessary. DePaulo highlights the fact that marriage is deeply ingrained in our culture. I didn't need the book to tell me this; just about every magazine is obsessed with who's hitched up with whom. A positive thing about the book is the revelation on how much the welfare system rewards marrieds more than singles. This explains and encourages the importance of marriage in society. However, proving that this book is a mere rant, DePaulo does not explore the idea that there might be a political objective behind it. Governments do want more marriages and more children, especially in developed countries with declining birth rates. DePaulo also opens my eyes to the phenomenon of subtle singlism (discrimination towards singles). The book illustrates instances of subtle singlism that most singles would accept without batting their eyelashes - which is quite scary. It shows how much all of us revere marriage. But most of the myths in the books are old news. It is no secret that singles are treated differently, especially by couples. Singles are given unflattering labels, and always asked the dreaded 'what's up in your love life' question wherever they go. Singles know and expect the obvious discrimination. What would be the point of debunking the obvious myths? There can hardly be one single person who would believe them in the first place because these myths are stereotypes. The statistics do not show that there are millions of gloomy depressed people despite the fact that there are millions of single people. So, what is the aim of the book? Is DePaulo trying to convince herself on the glory of singlehood? I guess debunking these myths opens the eyes of anyone who discriminates based on marital status. Especially the ones who engage in subtle discrimination - the people who ask questions like 'why are you single?' and 'what's wrong with you?'. The book also boosts morale of those who are single and calms those who are single but desperately trying to change that (but what is wrong with wanting to change?). But would any of these people read this book? I gather that the target audience for this book is people who are proudly single. They don't need anyone to bust myths about themselves or to learn that it is OK to be single. What I don't like most is how DePaulo pokes fun at marrieds in her attempt to glorify singlehood. There is a story about a journalist who was appointed to report a very important story overseas and admitted that she missed her family and cried in her hotel room. DePaulo mocks her, and rebukes her for crying when she should be happy that she had a good job. But why shouldn't she miss her husband? He's her husband after all. What DePaulo does when she pokes fun at the marrieds is to attack discrimination with more discrimination. Judging people because they are married is discrimination. There are married couples who do not fit the mould and are non-traditional, just like there are singles who embrace being single. Being proud of your single status does not justify any counter discrimination towards marrieds just as feminism does not mean discrimination towards men. The last chapter in the book affirms this broader view, but it comes after all the snide remarks of previous chapters. Being single or married is a choice - a woman could cry because she misses her husband despite having a great job or a woman could decide not to get married because her job requires her utmost commitment. If you do not like your status, you have the power to change it. It is OK to choose either status, to be either single or coupled up. Each status has its pros and cons. Neither one is better than the other. Additionally, DePaulo seems to pick a bone with anyone who implicitly or explicitly suggests in their comments that people should be married. This can be rather petty and childish. It can also reinforce some of the very myths that she tries to bust. For example, an interviewee was asked whether she had family and she answered that she had a husband and children. DePaulo thought she was practicing singlism, because she could have said that her family was her parents, siblings, cousins, etc. What if she is an orphan or she does not like her parents? Even though she may have parents, siblings, etc. her closest family is her husband and kids. Why shouldn't she be able to say that those people are her family? I think this is just taking the definition of being petty too far. Another example of unnecessary rant is the paragraph arguing that the reason that 9/11 happened is because President Bush did not see an urgent memo in January 2001 due to a family holiday. It is implied if Bush was single, he would then have enough time to attend to the memo. This only reinforces the myth on how singles are married to the job and have 'no lives'. It implies that singles on holidays can be interrupted at any time. A second issue is regardless of their marital status every nation leader should be able to go on holidays and enjoy them uninterruptedly. Thirdly, no evidence was put forward on the direct connection between the frequency of holidays and being single. It is possible that Bush would still go on holiday at that time if he was single. Or that he does not wish to be interrupted by a memo despite his being single and 'no-life' status. After numerous similar attacks, one gets the impression that one would have to be extremely careful in what and how one should speak to DePaulo if one does not want to be on the receiving end of DePaulo's attacks. This rather paints a single person as touchy and uncomfortable with their status. Perhaps minding what and how one speaks to another is exactly what DePaulo's aim is all along - despite the circuitous approach to achieve it. I just wish for less pettiness.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sherrod

    I'm tempted, this time around, to just share all the passages I highlighted, but that would just be lazy, and would probably somehow confirm some of you in your stereotyping of older single women as selfish and flippant and useless and whatnot. Heh. For yea, I am one of those, unashamedly in my 40s and not only unmarried but uninterested in changing that, and I've been the target of every single (heh) one of the crappy remarks, employment practices, interrogations and dismissals Bella DePaulo cal I'm tempted, this time around, to just share all the passages I highlighted, but that would just be lazy, and would probably somehow confirm some of you in your stereotyping of older single women as selfish and flippant and useless and whatnot. Heh. For yea, I am one of those, unashamedly in my 40s and not only unmarried but uninterested in changing that, and I've been the target of every single (heh) one of the crappy remarks, employment practices, interrogations and dismissals Bella DePaulo calls out as a sneaky form of prejudice she names "singleism." But I did not turn to Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After for a categorical list of injustices to get steamed up over, nor did DePaulo intend the book as any kind of call to arms (though she does devote a chapter towards the end to imagining, maybe a little wistfully, what an America that did not discriminate against the never-married, the divorced or the widowed might look like); that last bit of the subtitle, in white lettering on the cover, is key. For while we do get a laundry list of ways in which daily, if not hourly, encounters with "smug marrieds" can be emotionally and psychologically draining, in which popular media (fictional and "reality") dismisses categorically the idea that choosing not to hunt down a spouse is in any way valid (or possible), in which the government denies singles the right to designate a beneficiary for their Social Security checks in the event of their deaths but lets widowed spouses keep on getting paid for life, in which businesses routinely demand that singles pay extra to subsidize their cheaper-per-person couples rates for travel and dining and entertainment, in which employers assume that just because one is not married one is always free to work the extra hours or take the unwanted business trip (and not only that, but really owes it to married co-workers not to tear them away from their all-important families) -- that is not, by a long shot, all that we get. What we also get is someone who doesn't take media reports of half-assed scientific studies at face value (DePaulo is herself a scientist). She looks at the data herself, shows it to us, and in the process debunks most of the popular mythology that says marriage is better for one. For instance, she finds in study after study purporting to "prove" that married people are happier and healthier that the data was "cheated" -- those happy healthy people who got counted as married were only the ones who were still married. All those divorced and widowed people got clumped in with the never-marrieds, and, let's be honest, dragged our numbers way down. When the data was broken into four, rather than two, categories (still-married, never-married, divorced, widowed) the still-marrieds come out on top, but by a negligible margin (and, interestingly, in one study that did not, as most of these do, look at just a single snapshot of time but instead over a good long period of subjects' lives, on average those "still marrieds" had started out marginally happier to begin with). Who's next happiest? Oh, look, the never marrieds. But all those "how to find a spouse" and "case for marriage" and "single people suck" crusaders rarely, if ever, mention that. And, too, the book is loaded with anecdotes about unmarried lives, with or without children, which positively brim with unrecognized quality of life -- Condoleeza Rice's, for instance; David Souter's (the book was written before Elena Kagan joined the Supreme Court, but I bet she is a part of DePaulo's pantheon now!); Ralph Nader's; Barbara Walters'. What would our world have been like without them taking on the demanding and challenging roles they did?* And how do you think it feels in interview after interview to always be asked (usually by a "smug married" journo) if it doesn't all feel kind of hollow without a special someone to share it with? And if the high-achieving single in the hot seat says something along the lines of "anything but hollow" well, he or she is just in denial or doesn't understand what he or she is missing, and probably isn't mature enough anyway. Unsaid, most of the time, is that hey, the married person doesn't understand what he or she is missing, either. But so, once again, I'm part of the choir being preached to, here. I am sometimes lonely, I'll admit, but it's not the lack of a spouse I feel so much as the lack of intimate friends in close proximity; the city in which I live is a profoundly heartlandish one, in which life is centered around the spouse and kids and offers little to those without them but doing time in a bar, and I've had difficulty establishing relationships in which I'm anything more than a casual once-in-a-while pal, someone to see a movie with once or twice a year but otherwise on whom it's perfectly okay to cancel last-minute because hey, I didn't have to hire a babysitter or whaever. I have wonderful friendships all over the world, even in other parts of Wyoming, but the city where my job is considers non-marrieds like me to be all but lepers, and that's even before it's discovered that I'm "not even trying." Which, contrary to smug married belief, does not mean I've given up; just that I've never really considered OMGGOTTAFINDAHUSBAAAAAAAND just for the sake of HAVINGAHUSBAAAAAAND to be much of a priority. Should I actually find someone who makes me want to give up my single life, that's fine, but I find the idea that I should devote my time and energy to finding someone who wants to shackle me to be patently absurd. To say nothing of finding someone who wants to knock me up; that's easy (and anyway, there's such a thing as Zero Population Growth, in which I fervently believe and furthermore believe I should practice what I preach). Someone, and I'm pretty sure it was Theodore Sturgeon in his wonderful novel Godbody, once observed that people who hate being alone do not consider themselves good company. I first read that book when I was a teenager, and I think I probably took this message (one of the many many wonderful and wise things Sturgeon shared in that and his other writing) very much to heart; I have cultivated myself to be good company for myself -- and I have also developed a talent for enjoying strangers -- some of my favorite memories are of random conversations in airport bars or on trains or in line at a coffee bar or walking my dog. I seem very good at reading people and finding common ground with them, enough to make them smile for a moment or a few hours. Would I have this talent, I wonder, if I'd spent most of my life hunting down and then focusing to the exclusion of everyone else on a husband who must be, by contemporary dogma, "my everything" (and will expect that of me in return)? Would I have the time and attention to spend on my friends' children when they need a break from being someone's spawn or student and just want to be a person for a little while? Or just need a little help with some science homework? And this is not even mentioning the online relationships I've established, many of which go back decades, that I value deeply. Is there a tinge of whining to DePaulo's book, as some have complained? Yes. But she is very careful not to even appear to equate singleism with all of the serious civil rights/discrimination issues that have beset us as a society (racism, homophobia, misogyny, etc), and seems more interested in teasing out why treating singles as they so often get treated is still okay (perhaps the last remaining prejudice it's still okay to have, though fat shaming is still awfully common even among people who consider themselves enlightened and tolerant), and what the cumulative effects of these subtle annoyances and expectations might be over a life time -- and how remarkable and awesome it is that single people manage to be happy anyway. It takes more guts and fortitude, she says, to be single in a "matrimaniacal" society than to do the expected, conformist thing and get married. Which, now I just want to race home to my worrying (still married) (to each other) parents (both their daughters are now gleefully in their 40s and unattached) and crow to them about how their lack of grandchildren and sons-in-law is actually proof of how awesome they were in raising us; we both grew up self-sufficient, brave, strong, capable and emotionally mature enough to enjoy life without the need for A PARTNER. And anyway, from a ZPG standpoint, our family is already in the red (our cousins have not only replaced themselves, but the two of us, too, and one more to spare). But so anyway, the next time you see a couple of early middle aged broads yucking it up at a riverside diner or in the local hot springs or having coffee and none of us happens to be wearing a ring on that finger, maybe withhold your certainty and judgment -- and your humblebragging pity -- for a moment. There are lots of ways to live a life. And lots more ways to be happy than just sharing a bed with somebody for a few decades. But if you must make a faux-friendly remark about it, be prepared to be patronized back in return. Poor little marrieds, like Linuses and their blankies, will they ever grow up? We don't really want to bust out rhetoric like that, but push us and we just might. Go, Bella, go! *DePaulo has some somewhat tart remarks about some what-might-have-beens that the choice to put spouse above country/public sphere duty prevented, namely: President Colin Powell.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    People made comments about the angry tone of this book. I guess being perceived as pathetic, stupid and or incompotent because you don't want the same thing most people want should not make you angry. Of course, this general attitude of superiority on the part of married people tends to make one embrace a solitary lifestyle all the more. People made comments about the angry tone of this book. I guess being perceived as pathetic, stupid and or incompotent because you don't want the same thing most people want should not make you angry. Of course, this general attitude of superiority on the part of married people tends to make one embrace a solitary lifestyle all the more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

    I reviewed this book for Windy City Times, and the original review can be found at the link below this review. If you're single, you'll die alone and miserable in a cramped and filthy apartment. Only the stench of your putrefying corpse will alert neighbors to your death. Once they break down the door, they'll find your desperately ravenous cats chewing on the soft tissue of your eyes and lips. There'll be no one to claim the body or your pitiful estate. Your life, in short, will have been useles I reviewed this book for Windy City Times, and the original review can be found at the link below this review. If you're single, you'll die alone and miserable in a cramped and filthy apartment. Only the stench of your putrefying corpse will alert neighbors to your death. Once they break down the door, they'll find your desperately ravenous cats chewing on the soft tissue of your eyes and lips. There'll be no one to claim the body or your pitiful estate. Your life, in short, will have been useless; you will leave behind no works of value to the world and no lasting memories. This vision of single life is ingrained in culture and perpetuated by studies claiming to prove that married and coupled people are naturally bound to live longer, healthier and wealthier lives. Couples, we're told, are just better people, leading unselfish lives as they go about loving each other; sending children off to college; buying consumer goods; and generally contributing to the overall well-being of the world. Singles are seen as a collective embarrassment, bitter and gloomy folk who slither at the margins of sane society with wasted lives spent in the pursuit of their own happiness. Single parents are demonized for raising children supposedly doomed to become high school dropouts, serial killers and drug addicts. As Bella DePaulo puts it in her excellent and refreshing new book, this is pure poppycock. Singles lead lives that defy stereotypes and most are single by choice. A 2005 Pew Report revealed that 55 percent of singles are not in committed relationships and are not looking for a partner. Divorce rates are up and 51 percent of women aren't married. Even coupledom is being reconfigured; fewer couples cohabitate or share bank accounts. So why does what DePaulo wickedly calls the "marriage mafia" remain in the grips of "matrimania?" And, "…if married people … have so much going for them, why do they need swarms of scientists, pundits, politicians, experts, authors, reporters and entertainers making their case for them?" In answering such questions, DePaulo combines her training as a social psychologist with wit and sharp analysis, bringing the entire 'marriage is better' argument down like a house of cards. Singled Out dismantles the common myths about singles and examines the far-reaching impact of 'singlism'—the rampant discrimination faced by singles in everyday situations. The social slights are easily recognized by anyone who's had to endure the callousness of couples. DePaulo describes people who make it clear that she's not worth inviting to an adults' night out with other couples, only inviting her to brunch when she can entertain their children. Singles face insidious forms of discrimination in the workplace when pressured to work overtime or teach night classes so that their married counterparts can have time with their families. They supposedly don't have anything better to do than make life more comfortable for couples. Singles earn less than their married colleagues because they cannot collect the benefits claimed by married people. Even death is no equalizer—a single person's social security benefits can not be claimed even by a close friend, even though she spent her work life subsiding benefits for the married. And if you've been married multiple times, you can collect the social security benefits of your richest spouse. Don't just marry — marry often. The book is an engrossing read, and DePaulo's examples of singlism range from faux scientific surveys that expound the supposed benefits of marriage to the public shaming of singles. Take, for instance, the 2004 interview of Ralph Nader by Chris Mathews. Given his vast influence on citizens' rights and environmental matters, Nader is inarguably one of the most important figures in American public life. Yet, Mathews berated him for his lack of maturity because, unlike his opponent George Bush, he hadn't "exactly grown up and had a family and raised them and seen them off to college." Well, then. Singled Out focuses on marriage as the prevailing obsession of straight society. But the book is especially relevant to queers, given our rabid and misguided emphasis on gay 'marriage equality' as an organizing principle. We seem to believe that it's impossible to be queer and single. If you're single for more than a week, pffft, your membership card goes up in a cloud of pink smoke. This might explain the relentless drive to serial monogamy among queers who keep entering the revolving door of sequential relationships. Marriage is considered critical for us so that we can access the same benefits of married straights. From a queer progressive standpoint, this approach only perpetuates inequality and benefits for the few. As DePaulo asks, "Why should you have to be any kind of couple to qualify for … benefits that are currently available exclusively to couples who are married?" Her chapter, "The Way We Could Be," details the kinds of fairness that make for a truly just society—basing taxes on the earnings of individuals; ensuring that single or married people who care for children and the elderly are subsidized; and giving all employees the same benefits regardless of marital status. Singled Out argues that we overvalue coupledom and ignore the social networks that singles create as part of what DePaulo calls 'intentional communities.' This is especially relevant to those of us, queer or otherwise, who don't define our social groups according to ties of blood or romance. The book details how singles forge long-lasting and profound networks of friendship and care; the growing importance of these might ultimately be the reason why so many are opting out of coupledom. That's not to argue that there's no place for the loner who prefers a larger degree of isolation. Ultimately, Singled Out is a funny, clear and absolutely necessary book that emphasizes the importance of maintaining our connections to ourselves. Yasmin Nair is an academic, activist and writer who was eight when she decided she would always be single. She can be reached at [email protected] © Yasmin Nair http://www.wctimes.com/gay/lesbian/ne...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I picked up this booked after enjoying Bella DePaulo's essay in "Single State of the Union," a book that I would rate as far superior to DePaulo's solo effort. While she does raise some excellent points about how singles are stigmatized and marginalized in US culture, she does it with casual writing and a snide attitude. I found it odd that she would go to great lengths to thoroughly research and write a quasi-academic book so as to talk about the issue without appearing to be a "bitter single p I picked up this booked after enjoying Bella DePaulo's essay in "Single State of the Union," a book that I would rate as far superior to DePaulo's solo effort. While she does raise some excellent points about how singles are stigmatized and marginalized in US culture, she does it with casual writing and a snide attitude. I found it odd that she would go to great lengths to thoroughly research and write a quasi-academic book so as to talk about the issue without appearing to be a "bitter single person," and then write it in such a sarcastic tone that you can't help but view her as a bitter single person. I'd recommend skipping this one, there are much better books on the subject out there...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meika

    This book was a pressure release valve for me. Growing up in a church where the patriarchal model of marriage and family is central (all-consuming might not be overstating it), I'm very familiar with much of the rhetoric about how your health, happiness, sense of self, longevity, and eternal salvation are dependent on finding a mate and bearing children. I ran like hell because it went against everything that matters to me. I ran like hell because I didn't like the feeling that I was little bett This book was a pressure release valve for me. Growing up in a church where the patriarchal model of marriage and family is central (all-consuming might not be overstating it), I'm very familiar with much of the rhetoric about how your health, happiness, sense of self, longevity, and eternal salvation are dependent on finding a mate and bearing children. I ran like hell because it went against everything that matters to me. I ran like hell because I didn't like the feeling that I was little better than a head of cattle in that arrangement. (I know, that's insulting and not everyone feels that way.) On the outside, I thought, I can be free of that stigma. The stigma that clearly marks me as desperate, fatally flawed, gold-digging, spinster librarian etc etc etc vomit. Alas, out here, there is match.com, eHarmony.com plentyoffish.com etc etc vomit again. Not only that, but now that I can watch rated-R movies with impunity, I'm subjected to Bridget Jones Diary, Never Been Kissed, He's Just Not That Into you... etc etc etc Dry heaves. Stigma still sticks. What the fucking fuck? I ask. Seriously, this is insanity, right? It has to be, but even my friends are telling me, "you're human, it's natural, it's a numbers game, you'll find him..." and suddenly a hermitage in Montana looks like the sweetest deal on the planet because all these people are fucking insane!!!! But wait, maybe I'm not the only person who feels that way? According to Bella DePaulo, I don't have to want to enter into a matrimonial state in order to fulfill myself. Furthermore, there's no guarantee that it'll give me everything that's promised to accompany it, so I should be wary of false promises of ecstasy. Furthermore, exclusive, tight coupling with expensive white weddings and tons of gifts is a total fad. Suddenly, it occurs to me that all these people who have been telling me that my career matters, that sitting around with yarn and books because it makes me happy is fine, that burning my social energy going on blind dates with internet trolls isn't necessary, are right. Not that I didn't believe them... just that I couldn't rule out the competing viewpoint. What DePaulo adds to the voices of reason is a strong background in Social Science and a tight deconstruction of flimsy studies based on poorly interpreted statistics. She often has counter-arguments that are also based on good science. She also provides references to additional resources so you can dig deeper into this stuff. She also acknowledges where she's letting her personal bias of bitchy "Fuck off," attitude creep into her writing. Some people find this distracting; I did not. DePaulo also says I am allowed to be pissed off by the fact that my boss assigned me to a project involving more travel because the other person who was available "has a family," even though he knew I was in the middle of training for competitive weight lifting. This really happened. Nevermind I'm not equally compensated, bear a tax penalty, and had to buy my own Cuisinart. Don't get me started on smug-married bullshit I'm supposed to be perfectly happy with (because I will get my turn to be bridezilla). Hm.... yeah. Bella tackles it all. One thing I didn't particularly like was that she only briefly mentions the status of single fathers. She goes into detail about single parenting, but in this one area, she does not acknowledge her bias towards single mothers, and I think that's sad. I do think that had she adequately addressed the whole issue of single parenting, the book would've been another 100 pages long, at least.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I expected to be annoyed with this book, anticipating a "poor me, look how hard my life is" rant. The Washington Post called it hilarious, which I would downgrade to witty. Each chapter left me more angry than amused as I learned of numerous quality-of-life structures in society that discriminate against single people. The financial advantage goes to the marrieds on issues of healthcare, insurance, salary, benefits, travel, restaurants, etc. I had previously been only vaguely aware that two-for- I expected to be annoyed with this book, anticipating a "poor me, look how hard my life is" rant. The Washington Post called it hilarious, which I would downgrade to witty. Each chapter left me more angry than amused as I learned of numerous quality-of-life structures in society that discriminate against single people. The financial advantage goes to the marrieds on issues of healthcare, insurance, salary, benefits, travel, restaurants, etc. I had previously been only vaguely aware that two-for-one meal coupons were discriminatory against singles. I suppose we singles could order both meals and have one of them boxed to go? I highly recommend this book to all unmarried adults, as well as to any married person who needs a boost of appreciation for how well off they are, regardless of the love quotient in the marriage.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Interesting book, easy to skim and gather the main thrust of her argument. I am now exquisitely sensitized to the many ways that society stereotypes, stigmatizes and ignores me. Also, I am now aware that Bella DePaulo has an unexpectedly complicated relationship with the long defunct TV show "Judging Amy." Interesting book, easy to skim and gather the main thrust of her argument. I am now exquisitely sensitized to the many ways that society stereotypes, stigmatizes and ignores me. Also, I am now aware that Bella DePaulo has an unexpectedly complicated relationship with the long defunct TV show "Judging Amy."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    I liked the idea of this book much better than I liked the actual book. I ended up skimming the majority of the chapters. While I generally didn’t disagree at all with the author’s points, the tone and the energy were just horribly negative. It was like reading a one-sided argument where the person speaking sounded very, very defensive and angry. I didn’t like the energy this book was bringing into my life, so I just skimmed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lirazel

    3.5 stars The looks at the data that show that, actually, married poeple aren't happier/healthier/better than single people was helpful, but most of the book was anecdotes about all the ways in which single people are marginalized or made to feel less than, and I already knew that. If you've never considered the single perspective, this book could be really eye-opening for you. But if you've lived it, you already know. 3.5 stars The looks at the data that show that, actually, married poeple aren't happier/healthier/better than single people was helpful, but most of the book was anecdotes about all the ways in which single people are marginalized or made to feel less than, and I already knew that. If you've never considered the single perspective, this book could be really eye-opening for you. But if you've lived it, you already know.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liviania

    I know some people are marriage-obsessed and I’ve certainly experienced one of the main questions at a family gathering being, “So, do you have a boyfriend?”; still, I’ve never realized the extent of discrimination against singles. (And yes, Bella DePaulo is very aware that singles do not face the discrimination many other groups must survive.) Sometimes she seems to be digging too deep into a frankly benign situation, but other times she uncovers surprising truths. The tone rarely contains bitt I know some people are marriage-obsessed and I’ve certainly experienced one of the main questions at a family gathering being, “So, do you have a boyfriend?”; still, I’ve never realized the extent of discrimination against singles. (And yes, Bella DePaulo is very aware that singles do not face the discrimination many other groups must survive.) Sometimes she seems to be digging too deep into a frankly benign situation, but other times she uncovers surprising truths. The tone rarely contains bitterness – yes, there is some, but DePaulo approaches her subject matter with humor. Each chapter focuses on a different subject singlehood in a fairly self-contained manner. Thus, I’d like to make some comments about my favorite discussions. Science and the Single Person This is perhaps my favorite chapter in the book. Some might be intimidated by the large amount of data presented, but DePaulo presents everything in easy to understand terminology and graphics. We’ve all heard that married people are happier and healthier – but how accurately are scientists presenting this data? As it turns out, not very. I want to force some of my science friends to research some of the topics DePaulo brings up for their theses. Myth #2: Single-Minded DePaulo barely has to make a case for this one. What to single people want? To get married. Yeah, right. She deftly addresses how demeaning it feels to be reduced to an empty-headed man or woman chaser, simply because you don’t have a partner. She brings up examples of this experience that will feel familiar to any single. None of the material in this chapter seems stretched; it’s a concise, clearly stated common problem. Myth #4 It Is All About You This chapter definitely brought some issues to my attention I had never considered. Many cultures regard marriage as a sign of maturity, and treat singles as children no matter their age. On the other hand, there are many culturally acceptable ways for married people to act immature. One of the most obvious: a perfectly capable married person can rely on their spouse to cook and do their laundry. Myth #6 Attention, Single Men SINGLED OUT is a female-centric work, partially because it is informed by DePaulo’s person experience. This chapter focuses entirely on the male side of the equation. One of the most intriguing points is the tendency to perceive single men as creepers. In truth, many serial killers married and procreated. The majority of violence against women is done by a past or current intimate partner. In the end, DePaulo concludes society regards single men more favorably than single women. To Be or Not to Be Single DePaulo writes, “I think that most Americans – including most single Americans – want the marital mythology to be true. They passionately want to believe that if only they find their soulmate, they will live happily ever after.” My friends and I talk all the time about this concept, and we do want it to be true. We grew up in an age of high divorce rates, but we still hold the Disney dream close – jaded, cynical teenagers who still believe one day we’ll find the one. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. Who cares? We’ll be just fine on our own, whether Prince Charming arrives on the scene or not. Don’t be put off by the non-fiction aspect. SINGLED OUT is a fascinating read. It may not change your paradigm, but it will open your eyes to various injustices.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was quite slow to start and I nearly gave up after chapter two which was mostly graphs and a lot of data and just confused me. But when she started to write about the myths of being single I was again hooked. I have to admit though that I have not experienced much of the discrimination that went on in this book. It certainly made me happy I'm Canadian and not American, they certainly don't treat a lot of their citizens well. In Ontario I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was quite slow to start and I nearly gave up after chapter two which was mostly graphs and a lot of data and just confused me. But when she started to write about the myths of being single I was again hooked. I have to admit though that I have not experienced much of the discrimination that went on in this book. It certainly made me happy I'm Canadian and not American, they certainly don't treat a lot of their citizens well. In Ontario at least it is illegal to do some of the things described, such as ask about marital status in an interview. As for working weekends and holidays at my work place it goes on a rotating basis, regardless if you are single, married, have kids, or don't. I'm also quite sure that everyone here is paid equal though women might still be lower paid in some jobs. Both my brother and I are single and were about to leave our pensions, insurance etc. to anyone of our choosing, the same with an emergency contact (next of kin). As for being taxed on inheritance, as Canadians we all feel we're over taxed regardless of marital status. So while I was grateful to have no experienced any of those things, I was outraged reading along that things like this occurred. That Bob Woodward said Condi Rice had no personal life it goes to show what a classy person she is that she didn't speak out about that. The serial killers are single loners part I found kind of funny, watching many true crime shows and reading books of the same genre I can tell you that ain't true by a long stretch. There are also many cases of one spouse killing another, not to mention the horrors of domestic abuse. Kind of proves that marriage doesn't buy happiness and suddenly end criminal tendencies as an alarming number of people seem to think. But overall as I said I found this book fascinating. Bella DePaulo's writing forced me to look at things in a different way, to notice things I missed before, subtle hints in the media, a dark shadow over those not married. My favourite part of the book was the myth about how selfish and immature single people are. What was written about weddings was so true and I was tempted to mark that place and show it to the next person who asks me about my marriage prospects. By the end of the book I was even more happy with the choices I made in my life. I am not alone in my decision, and I am certainly not alone in my life either with great family and friends around me. I am very happy I decided to push on past the first couple of chapters as what awaited me was a very engaging read writing by someone who thinks as I do and including the words and stories from others who also feel as I do. I would've given it five stars, but there were some dry points, the data in the second chapter and there was more data included in the single parent and single men chapters as well that made me lose interest, but overall a good read. I would recommend to anyone who is single, and to married people who are willingly to look at another point of view.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Llewellyn

    In this book, the author takes careful aim and fires, knocking marriage off its glorious pedestal. All hail singlehood! We should own it. And down with all the subtle workplace and federal tax breaks based on marital status. In study after study, the author trots them out: always single people are just as happy as always marrieds (divorced are the ones to pity as out of all groups, they rate unhappiest) and all the cash benefits-payroll, taxes, social security-marrieds enjoy compared to singles In this book, the author takes careful aim and fires, knocking marriage off its glorious pedestal. All hail singlehood! We should own it. And down with all the subtle workplace and federal tax breaks based on marital status. In study after study, the author trots them out: always single people are just as happy as always marrieds (divorced are the ones to pity as out of all groups, they rate unhappiest) and all the cash benefits-payroll, taxes, social security-marrieds enjoy compared to singles is downright discrimination of the 1960's kind. The book is divided into fifteen chapters with ten addressing ten myths about being single, debunking the national attitude that all singles are desperate and looking or horny and promiscuous with no life and no value. Single women are much too obsessed with their careers (if they're lucky enough to have one so they live above the poverty level, Bella!) while single men are not the serial killers and rapists Hollywood's made them out to be. So how do singles live happily ever after? By being proud of their single status because the best revenge is a life well lived. Good points, all but here's what bothered me. The author seems to support the myth that coupled singles and marrieds have more value than singles who live the celibate life simply because they "aren't gettin' any" and that all children from broken homes need not fear for they will have layers of altruistic adults who will gladly babysit for free. She doesn't acknowledge the growing group of singles who are choosing not to embrace a life of cohabitation with numerous partners who won't have any blood ties to their children. Those people who would like to be married and have children within the bonds of matrimony are the ones she truly feels sorry for. Being single isn't always a choice, Bella. She's also a firm supporter of same-sex marriage. Because two men getting married to each other doesn't hurt women and children at all. Until it does. Nobody is polling these single moms on how they feel living ALL BY THEMSELVES without a man to define them. It makes me question the author's own moral values of why she likes being single because what it all really comes down to is the bragging rights of who is "gettin' any" and who isn't. But nobody can really know that for sure without the studies turning "nasty-personal," right Bella? Overall, I was impressed with all the data and research the author did to support her claims. She makes some very good points about all the cheap shots society takes at singles, treating them like second-class citizens and nobody thinking twice about it, including the singles themselves. If we would all just change our attitudes about the definition of traditional families, singles will emerge victorious.

  16. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    This book definitely hits home. As somebody with no plans to get married, even though I have been in (and am in currently) pretty serious long term relationships, and have also spent plenty of time single, I can relate to a lot of what is said in this book. It has always struck me as strange and somehow unfair that people who are married are seen as more legitimate and "grown up" than people who aren't married, whether they be single or in a serious long term non-married relationship. Bella DePau This book definitely hits home. As somebody with no plans to get married, even though I have been in (and am in currently) pretty serious long term relationships, and have also spent plenty of time single, I can relate to a lot of what is said in this book. It has always struck me as strange and somehow unfair that people who are married are seen as more legitimate and "grown up" than people who aren't married, whether they be single or in a serious long term non-married relationship. Bella DePaulo really touches on all of these issues and tackles many of the myths that surround being single. Far from being lonely, immature cat ladies with no lives, single women (and men) are able to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. But single people still have to deal with discrimination, social stigma, and lack of government benefits (to name just three things). Although the book can sound somewhat like a long, drawn out rant at times, I don't think that detracts from the book too much. It's definitely worth reading if you're single, plan to be single, or ever have been single.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Overall I really, really enjoyed this books. I have definitely felt and have been on the other end of some of the things she talks about. Not necessarily the huge, major things, but in small ways. I loved that she addressed the myth of marriage, and how one human person cannot meet all your needs and fulfill all your hopes. I hoped that she would explain what does (The Lord!!!), but I am not sure that she comes from that world view, so I think I just have to accept her best efforts.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kate Buechler

    I found this very relevant. Although it was published 12 years ago, I don't think it has aged badly at all. I cared enough about the subject to read this book even though there wasn't an audio version, but am excited to go listen to All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation now. I found this very relevant. Although it was published 12 years ago, I don't think it has aged badly at all. I cared enough about the subject to read this book even though there wasn't an audio version, but am excited to go listen to All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This is a great book for everyone, not just "singles." Because let's face it, at some point in our lives we all feel "single," whether we are married, in a relationship or single. Is this considered self-help? I don't know. I'd call it empowering. This is a great book for everyone, not just "singles." Because let's face it, at some point in our lives we all feel "single," whether we are married, in a relationship or single. Is this considered self-help? I don't know. I'd call it empowering.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynzo

    preaching to the choir, really. being single rules, and i'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who support me, uncoupled or no. interesting to examine the role of the media in people's mindsets of single people... preaching to the choir, really. being single rules, and i'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who support me, uncoupled or no. interesting to examine the role of the media in people's mindsets of single people...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Reva

    I was a bit confused whether to give it 3 stars or 4 because at times it did seem like a rant. But there were quite a few new points that I did not know such as financial or economic disparities between marrieds and singles. But these things are mainly applicable to American society since most of the studies are conducted there. The book merely explains and elaborates the problem, doesn't offer any insights into the possible solutions of it. And there are myth-busting chapters that at times seem I was a bit confused whether to give it 3 stars or 4 because at times it did seem like a rant. But there were quite a few new points that I did not know such as financial or economic disparities between marrieds and singles. But these things are mainly applicable to American society since most of the studies are conducted there. The book merely explains and elaborates the problem, doesn't offer any insights into the possible solutions of it. And there are myth-busting chapters that at times seem repetitive. But since there is a tiny bit of ranting, if you are single, and you are in search of some support / confidence to stay that way then you might benefit from it. and if you are married, then you will become a bit sensitive towards single people and refrain or at least try to refrain from giving unsolicited advice to them. So both will benefit from the book to some extent. And oh yes, if you plan to live in the US, then it might be best to consider marrying if you do not want to be at a significant financial loss. [But having said this, I don't really appreciate this attitude of dealing with problems. especially problems that arise due to some sort of divisions. e.g. single vs married, gay vs straight, white vs people of color, religions, casts, gender, and all the rest of it. It's like we sense some difference, and we see some injustice, and we shout and scream and become activists, and then some laws are modified, and apparently the problem is solved. But we don't ask why our minds react to these divisions the way they do.. why does a mind take sides, either superior or inferior, when it sees a boundary, a division no matter what kind of division it is? I guess we are not really interested in resolving problems.. we are interested only in being activists and shouting. ] So I think we can read these books to obtain some sort of relief or psychological support or even for entertainment, but not in the hope of finding something extraordinarily different.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Good book, with some good insights....however, I found myself skipping a few chapters and reading the remainder with a sort of objective viewpoint that doesn't really do it justice. I suppose I'm just so accustomed to my singlehood that none of it revved me up or made me sit up and say, "Yes- that!". More likely is the fact that I've just never given a shit for anyone's opinions or perceptions of me as a long time single. It helps that I get to trot out my divorcée cred when necessary, though I Good book, with some good insights....however, I found myself skipping a few chapters and reading the remainder with a sort of objective viewpoint that doesn't really do it justice. I suppose I'm just so accustomed to my singlehood that none of it revved me up or made me sit up and say, "Yes- that!". More likely is the fact that I've just never given a shit for anyone's opinions or perceptions of me as a long time single. It helps that I get to trot out my divorcée cred when necessary, though I feel like a bit of a fraud given that it was a 4 year marriage some 26 years ago...haha! Again, the book is good, and the subject is clearly the author's passion. In my favourite passage, from the last page, she references the mythological value of sex, either coupled or potentially leading to coupling, with a sweet quote from John Mayer: "..I really might just be the guy who loves playing music so much that (even) if I'm on a date with somebody, I can't wait to go home and play guitar. If I even seal the deal, I can't wait for them to leave so I can play the guitar." Reminds me of a time I kicked a trumpet player out of my Paris hotel room because I had to stream the Habs game on my iPad....

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Bella is at her best here when she questions the myths about marriage that are so fundamental to modern life we don't think about them: that marriage turns us into better, more responsible people, that it's the only relationship that truly matters in our lives, and anyone who isn't married is weird, broken, and unhappy (none of this is true, statistically). Because of these myths, social connections wither and marriage itself bends under the strain. It's a really interesting idea. However, she s Bella is at her best here when she questions the myths about marriage that are so fundamental to modern life we don't think about them: that marriage turns us into better, more responsible people, that it's the only relationship that truly matters in our lives, and anyone who isn't married is weird, broken, and unhappy (none of this is true, statistically). Because of these myths, social connections wither and marriage itself bends under the strain. It's a really interesting idea. However, she spends a good portion of the book simply talking about what people think and repeating anecdotes. I get it, you like living by yourself and you admire Ralph Nader! After she stopped picking apart statistics, I found myself skimming whole pages to get to the good stuff. It's here, but there's a lot of "tone" to get past. Ultimately, it's more a manifesto about how unmarried individuals should get equal treatment with marrieds, which I was looking more for an exploration of the marriage mythos as a whole. The subtitle really should have tipped me off more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Williams

    I agreed with the author’s thesis statement. I thought she made some good points about how single people are unfairly stigmatized and discriminated against, but it was so hard for me to read! It was really repetitive and went on and on. Also the author compares the issues single people face to racism and I just thought that comparison was inaccurate and in poor taste. And I was disappointed she didn’t acknowledge that there are people who identify as aromantic and asexual. Edit: I recommend Adam I agreed with the author’s thesis statement. I thought she made some good points about how single people are unfairly stigmatized and discriminated against, but it was so hard for me to read! It was really repetitive and went on and on. Also the author compares the issues single people face to racism and I just thought that comparison was inaccurate and in poor taste. And I was disappointed she didn’t acknowledge that there are people who identify as aromantic and asexual. Edit: I recommend Adam Ruins Everything Season 1, Episode 10: Adams Ruins Weddings If you are interested in this subject.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I wanted to like this book. I completely agree with her theory about how singles are stigmatized but this book was hard to get through. It was a lot like reading a graduate school research paper - the author spends most of her time talking about other people's research and refuting it. Plus the data/stats the author used just didn't hold up over time. What she used was new when she was published, but reading this 11 years after it was published the numbers just weren't relevant any longer. I wanted to like this book. I completely agree with her theory about how singles are stigmatized but this book was hard to get through. It was a lot like reading a graduate school research paper - the author spends most of her time talking about other people's research and refuting it. Plus the data/stats the author used just didn't hold up over time. What she used was new when she was published, but reading this 11 years after it was published the numbers just weren't relevant any longer.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    In Singled Out author Dr. Bella DePaulo attempts to point out how single people are mistreated by society. She does this by examining several "myths" of marriage. I felt she raised a variety of very good points, but I do wish her tone could have been a little kinder. I felt that sometimes she downplayed the importance of unconscious forces such as evolution that drive coupling and too often attributed hostile attitudes to married people in society. Overall I would recommend this book. In Singled Out author Dr. Bella DePaulo attempts to point out how single people are mistreated by society. She does this by examining several "myths" of marriage. I felt she raised a variety of very good points, but I do wish her tone could have been a little kinder. I felt that sometimes she downplayed the importance of unconscious forces such as evolution that drive coupling and too often attributed hostile attitudes to married people in society. Overall I would recommend this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    First, the criticisms - a diversity in examples rather than relying on the same few repetitively would have been more illustrative. At times, the book feels more like a diary - somewhat whiny and with too much personal and political opinion. However, the raw truths that are presented here are a saving grace and a much needed message. It's unfortunate that it is so much preaching to the choir; I doubt that coupled individuals will find it of as much interest as singles. First, the criticisms - a diversity in examples rather than relying on the same few repetitively would have been more illustrative. At times, the book feels more like a diary - somewhat whiny and with too much personal and political opinion. However, the raw truths that are presented here are a saving grace and a much needed message. It's unfortunate that it is so much preaching to the choir; I doubt that coupled individuals will find it of as much interest as singles.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brent A Cupp

    Finally Validation I'm a 55 year old forever single man (no kids), who has quietly basked in the sheer joy of living a solitary existence since moving out of my parent's home as a teen. In "Singled Out," I finally feel validated for my choice to remain single. I no longer believe myself to be a social outcast because of my lifestyle. Great book. Inspiring. Finally Validation I'm a 55 year old forever single man (no kids), who has quietly basked in the sheer joy of living a solitary existence since moving out of my parent's home as a teen. In "Singled Out," I finally feel validated for my choice to remain single. I no longer believe myself to be a social outcast because of my lifestyle. Great book. Inspiring.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Opened my eyes to my sterotypes that exist in American culture that favor coupling over being single. Any book that can prove to me an alternate viewpoint on a mainstream topic gets at least 4 stars in my book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Singled Out A thoughtful and provocative challenge to current social constructs of dating, marriage, and soul mate culture. Highly recommended ! !

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