Single File - March 2022

All The Single Ladies: Here’s the Answers to a Few of Your Questions

by Susan Deitz

All The Single Ladies
Here’s the Answers to a Few of Your Questions

Nice Guys
Those supposed “bad boys” are filling some need in girls’ lives that makes them take notice—and feel special. Maybe it’s only the cheap rush of danger; maybe it’s sexual, but without a doubt, something strong gets their attention! (And nice guys rarely come on as strong!) Males who see themselves as “nice guys” should give up trying so hard to BE nice—and DO more. An interested person is an interesting person! Be the guy who’s doing things in the world, who’s truly interested in his work, who makes things happen. And guess what—he’s nice, too. Females are drawn to a man who’s interesting. And when niceness is also part of his persona, they’ll fall at his feet. —From the ‘Single File’ Blog

Here, here! It’s about time nice guys got wise to the drawing power of the bad boys! Instead of focusing on their niceness (which the girls interpret as being bland) the nice guy needs to be bolder and more assertive, less fearful of offending or contradicting. As you say, blogger, the good guy needs to learn from the bad guy: Take chances; do interesting things; have opinions. Show yourself to be a distinct person, involved in the world and interested in many things. Nice doesn’t mean dull and boring. Make your life interesting for yourself and you’ll attract like-minded friends (of both genders). In this world of sameness, have the courage to stand out. Be yourself—interesting, yes—and nice.

Two-Handed Love
Zen teaching includes a lesson about the sound of one hand clapping. For Buddhists, that leads to deep and provocative wisdom, instructive as a life lesson but not exactly where we’re going here. In the less lofty world, where give-and-take is the name of the game, both partners must be active in shaping their love partnership. If you feel like a one-(wo)man band (or worse, silent partner) in any phase of your romantic relationship, it’s best to speak up—loudly. One half of the twosome cannot and should not be the whole enchilada!

Reciprocity is the mantra of true love because it encompasses so much: respect, patience, cooperation, trust and kindness ... not particularly sexy but absolute bedrock to a love that endures. For that depth of mutuality, walls must come down. Lovers must trust one another implicitly, be ready and willing to leave a warm bed in the middle of the night to buy medicine for a partner’s bellyache (not exactly a romantic setting but one far more necessary to long-term togetherness). Intimate bistros are good incubators of romance, but the real testing comes from unplanned moments of need, when character trumps glamour. Every time.

Being paired with someone who knows the best and the worst of you is an experience like none other. As I’m writing this, memory brings me back to my anxious night on the eve of selling our country house. I was sleep-deprived and chilly from anxiety. Unnamed fears kept me tossing in our bed for hours until my husband asked me to put on my robe and sit with him. There we sat at the foot of the bed, on rumpled sheets and blankets, bleary-eyed and wordless, facing each other. My mate held both my hands in his, radiating steadiness. My irrational insecurity was staging a scene, having a star turn, but it had met its match. As dawn broke the spell, both of us readied for the eventful hours ahead, stronger and steadier partners for the wordless togetherness transfused.

Liking the beloved is the strongest foundation of love. It evolves into a comfortable partnership, a sharing of self only the confident can afford. To reach that pinnacle, lovers must be familiar with their own doubts and fears and allow the beloved access to that vulnerability. It’s not for the faint of heart. Love that isn’t two hands clapping is illusion, promising days and nights of lingering pain. Such a lover is a perennial outsider, his or her presence at best tolerated. The chilling aloneness of one hand clapping is a sound no one deserves.

Newly Single

DEAR SUSAN: You advised the newly single woman to focus first on friendships and let dating come later, since she needs a support system most of all. And you’re right. She can begin dating later, when she’s more settled. But it’s not easy. Making friends as an adult (no longer a student) takes conscious effort because most people have already established relationships that claim most of their time. That effort requires some time alone with your thoughts to come up with a plan of action. To help, the book “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend” describes how Rachel Bertsche transplanted to a Midwestern city and went about creating a network of good friends. (Her system included once-weekly “friend-dates.”) And as you’re building friendships, you’ll learn to take turndowns less personally and cast a wider net than originally planned, to avoid depending on a sole BFF. It’s
worth the effort! —From the ‘Single File’ Blog

Your posting is the stuff of dreams—made solid, no airy-fairy phrases that boil down to empty cheerleading. On the contrary, your suggestions are solid, well-thought out and eminently doable. It’s almost a given that many readers, besides the newly single woman who inspired your advice, will benefit from your words—myself included. One can never have too many friends, but going about finding them seems to get more and more difficult each year, given familial and personal obligations that proliferate. Even the oldest of friends can at times feel tiresome and outdated, despite the emotional attachments that anchor them in place. Refreshing one’s roster of friends can call for annual culling and at least semi-annual rethinking. But don’t be hasty to toss overboard.


Catapulted into single life as a young widow and single parent, Susan Deitz’s unusually deep understanding of her new world was about to be born, a course in undependence (her term for the wholeness needed for a full life) unlike any she had known at Smith College. Totally unprepared for life without a mate, her nights were battles with fear and the dreaded what-ifs. But when those tigers retreated, each new dawn found a more confident woman. On her own, living out her singleness, she was using her own judgment to make decisions for her little family—minor perhaps in the wider world but crucial for her small family. And they proved to be good ones. From those years of life lessons learned the hard way came a lifework and the world of Single File. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. © 2022 CREATORS

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