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    Introduction

    Diminishing Returns

    Get Over It


    Why You're Still Single is not about chasing men, so you will not need a butterfly net. It is not about making them chase you, because they are not wolves and you are not a bunny. We will not suggest that you treat men like hostile alien presences, pretend you don't understand football, buy padded bras, or refuse to call people back. But the benefit of other people's experience might point out a few things that are tripping you up, no matter how much of an amazing, smart, hot, totally worthwhile ass-kicker you may be as a general rule.

    Go here for more about our philosophy.

    We recommend: Honesty (usually), playing fair, shutting up (sometimes), speaking up (other times), respecting that voice in your head that says "You're doing WHAT?", making compromises, knowing when to cut bait, good sex, giving yourself a break, being needlessly generous, and periodically leaving your apartment.
    We don't recommend: Pretending to like what you don't like, treating winking and giggling like a Get Out Of Jail Free card, testing people, stubbornness, martyrdom, talking everything to death, and convincing yourself that you're desperate.

Introduction

Evan

My name is Evan and I’m still single. I started writing this book because the titular question, which gets asked of anyone on the far side of 30, can’t summarily be dismissed in one line. Believe me, I’ve tried. Here was the best I could come up with to explain my perpetual bachelorhood:

  1. I just haven’t met the right person
  2. I got dumped by the only two women I would have      married.

Yeah, well, both these statements are true and undoubtedly play a large part in why I’m still single. But so what? Acknowledging this doesn’t put me any closer to my long-term goal of marriage. I can’t force myself to meet “the right woman" and I can’t go back and fix my past relationships. All I can do is look ahead.

Why You’re Still Single is about looking ahead.

But first we need to look back. We need to take stock of our past behavior and vow to act differently the next time around. Awareness doesn’t mean you've found a quick fix, but it can certainly put you on the right path toward future success.

Being the authors of this book doesn’t put us on a pedestal from which we will demonize you for being single. That would be horribly hypocritical, wouldn’t it? No, Linda and I are two people who are going through it ourselves, who see a common thread connecting all of us, and who just may have something unique to say about the human condition. While most advice books pose facile answers to women about capturing a man to marry, we chose to ruminate on why 99 percent of relationships fail before they hit the altar. Not to mention the reasons why many of them don't get off the ground in the first place.

Just because we’re spending all this time talking about how women trip themselves up doesn’t mean we’re not acutely aware of the issues surrounding the typical man. Alas there’s no point in writing a book that would weigh fourteen pounds, especially since there are only 8,317 men in America who would buy such a thing. If any of the other 150 million men are interested in changing, they're going to do it by their own volition. The moral of the story isn’t that men are fine and women are broken, but rather that you can’t change men and you can’t make them read self-help books. All you can do is be aware of your own actions and try not to repeat the same mistakes over and over. After all, that would be insane, or so said a man who once flew a kite in a thunderstorm (apparently any nutjob can run around dispensing advice).

If knowledge is, indeed, power, we hope you feel empowered by what you’re about to read. You deserve the best in life, and the only way to get it is to seek answers. We may not know for certain Why You're Still Single, but we hope to stimulate some valuable conversation, or at the very least, get more laughs per page than Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Linda

If you wander over to the cookbook section in a bookstore, you won't find a cookbook called Why You Burn Everything. That’s because you probably approach cooking pretty simply. When you look at yet another blackened grilled cheese sandwich you probably can't pass off as Cajun-style, you say, "It may be time to do something different." So you buy a book. It doesn't mean you're a bad person; it doesn't mean you have to like the book; it doesn't mean the people who wrote the book are smarter than you are; and it doesn't mean you have to do it that way if you don't want to. It means, "We've set off the smoke detector a few times ourselves over the years, and if you're looking for a different approach, we've got one."

Evan was already working on this book when we met, and when he described it to me, I believe my exact words were, "I hate those books." And I wasn't just being nice. For the most part, books for single women about being single -- the members of the genre of Building a Better Butterfly Net: Man-Catching Pointers for the Desperate, Miserable, Slowly Decaying Hag -- are insulting, condescending nonsense, shot through with sexist claptrap and a hundred other kinds of poison. They either suggest or flat-out declare that there's something fundamentally wrong with you if you're single (there isn't), that you can't be happy as a single person (you can), that single women have more things wrong with them than single men (they don't), or that any relationship is better than accursed spinsterhood (it's not -- it's really not).

But there's a difference between beating yourself up and learning from the mistakes you and everyone else have already made. There's nothing wrong with you because you can't cook, either. That doesn't mean that if you keep putting the same sandwich in the same pan on the same burner at the same setting and you leave it there for the same amount of time, it will eventually stop burning because you're a good, well-intentioned, deserving person. You may be great, but your dinner is still going to burn. You know this, because you've done it. A lot. Your choices, as we see them, are to learn to like the taste of char, resolve to order takeout forever, or consider the possibility of doing something different.

It's not that you're single for every reason we're going to suggest. You're not picking fights and being jealous and being sexually timid and hanging on to past hurts and hung up on your looks. At least we hope you're not. But everything you're going to read about is something we've seen -- in ourselves, in our friends, in relative strangers, and in all the stories that those people have told us over and over (and over) again. These are observations that hatched over beers, in emails to grieving friends, in pained conversations with people we want to date or are dating or have dated, or, occasionally, in the shower. We've done this stuff. We are this stuff.

So what do we know? Well, really, what does anybody know? Who is qualified to talk about the mysterious landscape of relationships between single men and single women? If it can't be single men because they don't know what it's like to be a single woman, and it can't be single women because they obviously don't know how to get a decent boyfriend, then what are you left with? People who haven't been single since Reagan was president? What if you wind up taking advice from someone whose marriage then goes belly up, or whose boyfriend you wouldn't choose over a chaste evening of Parcheesi and Diet 7-Up? If the ability to collect relationships like Hummel figurines made a person brilliant about the subject, you'd be eagerly reading a relationship book called Kisses, Dahlink! by the Gabor sisters. I mean, fourteen husbands! An even twenty if you count Magda. They must really know what they're doing.

In the end, everyone's experiences are irrelevant to you, and everyone's experiences are universal. You're not going to know whether the things Evan and I say make sense because they got us dates, or laid, or married. You're going to know whether they make sense because you're going to read them for yourself, and if you're anything like us, you're going to recognize yourself and your friends. And maybe even the Gabor sisters.

This book isn't about catching men or reeling anybody in. Catching is for escaped zoo animals and nine-year-olds playing freeze tag, and reeling is for trout. This is about you considering the possibility that you're tripping over your own feet -- no matter how much of an amazing, smart, hot, totally worthwhile ass-kicker you may be as a general rule. In other words: If you’re looking for a different approach, we've got one.