Essays for Solo Singles

"Solo singles" is a term we use to describe unmarried adults who live alone. Solo singles make up about 27% of the nation's households. In some cities, they have an even larger share of the housing market. In Seattle, for example, over 39% of households contain solo singles.

This section of our web site is reserved for articles about solo singles. Some are essays written by unmarried adults who have no partner or children at home. Others are summaries of, and links to, articles for solo singles which have appeared in newspapers, magazines, or on other web sites.

Single and 40 calls for a catch-up celebration

By the time a single person turns 40, imagine how much money he or she has spent on gifts for other people's weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers -- events for which there has been no reciprocation.

So if you are single and turning 40 soon, why not throw yourself a shower, registering at a store gift registry and all.

To read this essay by Deb Gruver, click here

Being Single: or surviving a Noah's Ark world where everything comes in pairs

Businesses and marketers and discounters seem to be obsessed with 2.  Whether it is travel prices, two-for-one deals, charity tickets, restaurant seating, or dinner parties, the focus is on couples.

To read this essay by Johanna Kohler, click here.


Singled Out: survival tips for other people's weddings

From the bouquet toss to sitting next to Spinster Sally at the singles table, weddings are notorious for making single people feel like a sideshow.

To read the tips that Amy Berkowitz has for singles to survive the ordeal of being "singled out" at weddings, click here.


So, why aren't you married?

In the now fifteen-plus years since college, Conally Gilliam has gotten the "Why aren't you married?" question or its cousin from a greater variety of folks than one might ever have imagined. Hannah, a third grader at the time, asked with the earnestness of her age, "Why don't you have a husband and kids? Aren't you lonely without a family?" A homeless woman with whom Conally was eating lunch asked between bites of her pizza, "So why aren't you married? Don't wanna be, eh?"  This essay describes her attempt to answer folks who keep asking "the question."  For the complete essay, click here.

Single, but not square

Mphuthumi Ntabeni wrote this essay for the Mail and Guardian about single life in African culture.  He explains that African culture sees matrimony as an inescapable necessity of social existence. Any man who takes too long to enter the institution of marriage becomes suspect; relatives and friends believe he is trying to escape his duty. Hence the traditional strictures on permanent bachelorhood in most African cultures.

To read the full essay, click here.

Singling out the single people

Rachel Pater, wrote an essay for the Calvin College Chimes in which she noted that her friend Chris occasionally bemoaned his own family’s prejudice toward his singleness. Chris recalled how every year at the Thanksgiving celebration with extended family, his brother and girlfriend were given seats at the adult’s table, while Chris was left, knees protruding awkwardly over the plane of his chair, to entertain his younger cousins.

Rachel noted that they had separate tables in our church as well. Single people are rarely asked to hold leadership positions. Sermons are geared toward and have themes around marriage. Ceremonies like baptisms and marriages are the bedrock of our churches celebrations: neither events that celebrate the single life.

Single people are marginalized even in attempts at inclusion: the minute they walk through the door, we feel the need to usher them into a singles’ ministry where they can mingle with others with the same affliction. Personally speaking, none of my problems have anything to do with being single, and I’d rather be a part of the “big people’s table” when it comes to matters of the church.

To read the full essay, click here.

Please don't take pity on us singletons

I'm 32. I'm not married. Never have been.  This poses problems for many people in Greensboro.  "She is a singleton, just like you, you should meet her," said one well-meaning 50-something woman.  She was trying to be helpful. But I had to suppress a giggle.  Her words implied a couple of things. First, word choice. Using "singleton" broadcasts that she was searching for a word other than spinster.  Spinster would be cruel, seeing as it means permanently alone -- and lonely. Cats and muumuus come to mind.  Using single would not be quite right, though. That's for people younger than 30.  Singleton says you're over 30; with prayer and divine intervention, maybe you'll meet someone.

To read the full essay, click here.

Scheduling priority: birthday for single vs. wedding anniversary

Anne Marie McQueen, a writer for the Ottawa Sun, was confronted by a friend who asked Maria to reschedule her birthday party because the date conflicted with the friend's wedding anniversary.  Which should take priority? 

To read the full essay, click here.

To be or not to be single

Remember those stories back when a woman became a wife and a mother at the age of 14? She raised eight kids and managed to have dinner on the table by 5 p.m. Or the one that says once a bridesmaid, never a bride?

Well I'm now 27, no kids - not even a pet - and I've been a bridesmaid in seven weddings.  I know, no need to say it - I might as well be done with it all. I'm doomed!  Says who?

To read the full essay by Reagan Flamboe, click here.


Chicago writer Michael Austin says he would love to meet a woman who is smart, funny and at least vaguely interested in the fine arts. But not necessarily right now.  Austin, and millions of others who live alone are happy being a solo single at the moment.  That may change, but for now, they are celebrating their independence.

To read the full essay, click here.

The irritating question: when are you going to get married?

Why do people love interrogating singles on when they plan on getting married? Faith Karimi asks: Is the world suffering from a phobia of being single?

To read the full essay, click here.

Survey says solo travel becoming more popular

An overwhelming majority of Americans see the benefits of traveling solo, but there is still a stigma attached to doing it, for women in particular, according to a new survey from Fodor's Travel Publications. A nationally representative survey of approximately 1,000 people conducted for Fodor's by Roper Public Affairs found that a whopping four in 10 Americans have traveled alone for pleasure, staying away from home for two nights or more, in the last three years.  To read more, click here.

Eating for One

Darla Carter, a reporter for the Courier-Journal says that being single does not mean you can't eat well.  In this story, Carter reviews some books about solo cooking, and interviews several singles who talk about the challenges they face as they try to eat well without mealtime being a chore.

To read more, click here.

Solo household can still be a home

Molly Calahan, a reporter with the Plain Dealer, wonders why so many people expect the refrigerator of a single person to be near empty.  Don't they understand that solo singles cook, eat, and entertain? 

To read more, click here.

Marriage vs. singlehood!

Foo Yee Ping, a writer with Star Publications in Malaysia, expresses her disappointment with a segment of "Sex in the City," a show which is supposed to celebrate singlehood, which in the end had lead characters discarding their single status to settle down with a man.  Ping discusses single women in the city and points out that some, but not all, really are not that interested in marriage.  To read more, click here.

Single, yes.  Lonely, no!

Annette Tan, a columnist with The New Paper, published in Singapore, discusses the infamous "head tilt" and how it annoys her when people display dissatisfaction when they discover that she is not married yet.  To read more about the "head tilt" click here.

Solo singles enjoy the holidays too

Orlando Sentinel columnist Eric Edwards discusses single people during the holiday season, a time when couples and families seem to dominate the scene.  There's a place for single people too, says Eric.  To read more, click here.

Korean single fights back through Internet humor

A drawing that has recently been floating around the Internet shows happy-looking couples skating hand in hand on an outdoor ice rink. The scene includes a young girl who has slipped and fallen, and is kindly being helped up by her boyfriend. With white snow falling lightly over the happy lovers, it's perfectly romantic and sentimental.

However, in the corner of this beautiful but contrived scene is a sullen-looking female crouching on a sleigh, looking sad and all alone. While the rest of the picture is rendered in soft pastel colors, she is in dirty gray and black and looks like a cross between Golem and a gargoyle. Her name is Solo, and according to the drawing's creator, she represents the fate of single people all over Korea.  To read more about these drawings, click here.

Being alone is not the same as loneliness

Steve Burtt, a columnist with the Mississippi Press, makes a distinction between living alone and being lonely.  Sometimes the hardest part of being alone is the pressure put on you by relatives and friends who are constantly trying to hook you up with a date.  Steve talks about some of his friends who say they will never marry again, because they are enjoying a solo single life too much to compromise their freedom.

To read his column, click here.

Singles can thrive in a small town

Jessica Yadegaran, columnist with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, suggests that it is s myth that single people cannot be happy living in a small town.  In fact, she says that singles can thrive quite well outside of an urban setting.

To read her column, click here.


Is singleness a sin?

Camerin Courtney, a columnist with Christian Singles Today, questions the proposition, espoused by some religious leaders, that adults who delay or do not marry at all are somehow refusing to "grow up" and worse yet are defying their spiritual obligation to marry.  Is singleness a sin?  Definitely not, says Courtney. 

To read her commentary, click here.


Single and uninsured: a medical emergency

Ron Wiggins, a writer for the Palm Beach Post, writes about the plight of a single woman, generally self-sufficient, but who has not been able to afford health insurance.  One medical crisis is enough to wreck her financial stability.

To read the story, click here.



That solo diner isn't a loser, he simply likes to dine alone

Scott Dierdorf, writer with the Baltimore Sun, discusses his observations about how people react to the sight of a person eating alone at a restaurant.  Assumptions abound.  But usually people don't understand that some people, at least sometimes, enjoy eating alone. 

To read the full essay, click here.


Friends' weddings pose unique challenges for the single guy

Ken Rickard, a staff writer for the Honolulu Advertiser, writes this essay about the frustration experienced by a single guy in his mid-twenties when he gets an invitation to the wedding of a similar-aged friend.  The challenge begins when the invitation reads "Kenneth Rickard and guest" but he knows he does not have a date to take to the affair. 

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here to access a link to the essay.

It's a Paired, Paired, Paired, Paired World

Paul Jamieson, a lawyer and musician who lives in the District of Columbia, uses this essay to vent his frustration at the way singles in their thirties are treated at weddings and other social events.  

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here to access a link to the essay.

The Real Picture

Each year AASP member Miriam Greenwald receives a mailing from some of the college she attended in her younger days.  The alumni books always have the same format, giving a "family" gloss to former graduates.  Some graduates got married.  Some had children.  But singles go unnoticed.  Miriam vents her frustration that institutions of higher learning are ignoring this segment of the alumni.

To read this essay, entitled "The Real Picture," click here.

Looking Around: the singles among us

A commentary entitled "Looking Around: the singles among us," was published in the Jerusalem Post.  Barbara Sofer, a married woman living in Israel, discusses how single people have not been sufficiently valued in a religiously-oriented couples-dominated society.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

People Like Us: the quirkyalones

An essay entitled "People Like Us: the quirkyalones" appeared in the first issue of ToDoListMagazine.  Publisher Sasha Cagen writes about her experiences and feelings as a solo single in a society greared toward couples, parents, and families.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

deroy.jpeg.jpg (31517 bytes) Al Gore and Single Voters

by Deroy Murdock

A guest comment by Deroy Murdock appearing in the August 31, 2000 issue of National Review is entitled "Gore's Unfair to Single People: he claims to love 'working families' -- but leaves out the unmarried."  Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.

Deroy Murdock is a member of AASP.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here

Parity for the Pairing Impaired

Vernon Gutenkunst, a resident of Minnesota, is a member of AASP.

Mr. Gutenkunst has written an essay entitled "Parity for the Pairing Impaired," in which he observes that some single people remain single because their ability to establish and maintain a relationship with a partner is impaired by an illness.  He also points to medical evidence that people who have healthy social networks (not necessarily in the form of a marriage) are more healthy than those who are isolated.  But, he points out, our society often discourages the formation of unmarried relationships.  Discrimination against single people only aggravates the problem.

To read the full essay, click here

"Unescorted women" find AASP refreshing

Nellie McNeil is a columnist with the Times-News in Kingsport Tennessee.  She is also a member of AASP.

Ms. McNeil wrote a recent column about AASP and how the group stands up for the rights of single people.  Her column was prompted by a comment made by a colleague at a community event.  The married woman looked around the room and said: "Well there certainly are a lot of unescorted women here."

Since when do women have to be escorted to a community event, wondered Ms. McNeil.  She wrote her column about these so-called "unescorted women" and in the process gave a big plug to AASP.

To read the full column, AASP members may click here

Sex is better than abstinence -- or is it?

AASP member Miriam Greenwald contributes her fourth essay to the collection of Essays for Solo Singles.  Her latest piece is called "Have Good Sex... Or Else."  It questions the assumption made by so many people in society that it is somehow better or healthier for adults to have sex and that something must be wrong with a person who chooses to abstain from sex.  To read this essay, click here.

Discrimination Against the Single Soldier

Vernon Gutenkunst is an AASP member who lives in Minnesota.  As a single soldier, he has experienced discrimination by the military.  Vernon wants people to realize that it is unfair for the military to give married soldiers preference over single soldiers, especially with respect to housing compensation.  To read his essay, click here.

Solo singles connect in volunteer program

Christian Toto is a solo single who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Tired of the usual places for dating, such as singles bars, Toto decided to try something different. He participated in a "Sweet Charity Volunteers" singles group. Toto found the opportunities and rewards well worthwhile. He wrote an essay on his experience which was published recently in the Philadelphia Post Gazette.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

Imposing unrealistic restrictions on a potential partner

Susan B. Kaplan, a writer and lawyer who lives in Boston, wrote an essay that was published on February 14, 2000 in the Christian Science Monitor. The article discusses some of her friends who are solo singles. It seems that many of them stay solo because they are perfectionists when it comes to finding a mate. Kaplan suggests that they might want to lighten up a bit and let go of some of the rigid criteria they have for Mr. or Miss Right.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

Single and Jewish, for a while or maybe forever

The main story in the June 25, 1999 issue of the Jewish Times focused on the growing number of solo singles in the Jewish community. There is not as much pressure to marry as in the past. Some Jewish singles would consider marrying if they found the right person, but in the meantime -- or even in the longrun -- many of them are quite happy to be single.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

Many of the 25 million solo singles are quite happy, thank you very much

John Yemma says that society's image of solo singles being eccentric is off the mark. Many ordinary folks live alone. So did many famous people. Yemma gives examples of some of them and discusses how society's view about solo living is beginning to change.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

A Single Person's Manifesto, or the Power of One

Miriam Greenwald does not live with a unmarried partner, nor does she have children in her household. She is generally happy. But Miriam feels that solo singles get a bum rap by society.  Pressure to marry. Disrespect. Suspicion. In this essay, Miriam vents her frustrations and gives the reader plenty to think about.

To read this essay, entitled "A Single Person's Manifesto, or the Power of One," click here.

Twice and Offender

In her second essay, Miriam discloses that she has violated two unwritten rules of American society.  First, many would consider her a social outcast since she remains single as an older adult.  And then, on top of that, she continues to live with her elderly mother.  In this essay, Miriam discusses her feelings and some of the experiences she has had as a result of this double stigma.

To read this essay, entitled "Twice and Offender," click here.

Being Credentialled

In her third essay, Miriam observes how society bestows a credential of importance and respectability on married couples the moment they receive a marriage certificate.   That social label of superiority attaches to all married people, no matter how dysfunctional the marriage may be.  Society, however, has no ritual and no diploma to bestow respectability on single people, regardless of how responsible they may be.  Maybe it is time for a ceremony or certificate to celebrate the accomplishments of solo singles.

To read this essay, entitled "Being Credentialled," click here.

A Party of One on Y2K
by Eileen Mitchell

This essay talks about the pressure felt by solo singles to find a date for New Year's Eve to bring in the new millennium. Some are desperate, but not the author of this article. Sure, she would like to be with friends, or maybe even have a date if that special person happens to come along, but she would rather stay at home with a good book and some champagne rather than going on a Y2K date with someone she hardly knows or is not completely comfortable with. A thought provoking piece.

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.

Cross of the Single Goddess
by Mona Wood

The Honolulu Star Bulletin carries a regular guest column called "The Goddess Speaks."  On June 29, 1999, the column was written by Mona Wood who is president of a public relations company.  Mona used to feel frustrated when people would question why she was still single.  And then she noticed that when she was in her late 30's, people stopped asking the question.  This essay theorizes why such a shift of social attitude often occurs when women reach that "certain age."

To read the full essay, AASP members may click here.