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Dr. Bella DePaulo on Bad Advice for Singles on Valentine's Day

Editor's note: We are privileged to be able to share an excerpt from Dr. Bella DePaulo's book Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. Ten of the chapters in Singled Out debunk myths about single people. This send-up of Valentine’s Day advice is from Chapter 5, which mocks the myth of “the dark aura of singlehood,” which dopily proclaims that if you are single, “you are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic.” 


If you want to see fools rush in to provide well-meaning advice to hapless single people, buy a ticket for Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite examples appeared in USA Weekend in 2003, under the title How to survive Valentine’s Day without a sweetie. Here’s what it said:

“Valentine’s Day alone need not be depressing or embarrassing; you can survive and even thrive without a lover if you plan accordingly. These tips come from dating guru Jennifer Frye: 

  1. Don’t just sit at home and mope. Keep your spirits high by getting together with other single friends. Make dinner, watch empowering movies (The War of the Roses is a good one) and talk trash about love.
  2. If you have no single friends, take the day for yourself. Do something fun: Take yourself shopping, go for a nice lunch, go to a museum. No errands today!
  3. Avoid romantic restaurants and bars. The scene will just remind you of your loneliness.
  4. For a little end-of-the-day affection, kiss your pets, if you have any.

The guru is so smart that she knows without asking that if you have arrived at Valentine’s Day without a sweetie then you are miserable. Moreover, you are also stupid, and cannot figure out how to survive this tragedy without professional help.

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