Life Advice



Single File: Renewable Virginity

Life Advice / Single File /

Odds are your first sexual experience wasn't what you thought it would be. Who knew what to expect -- and what you'd be thinking afterward? Odds are you didn't have the foggiest notion of what sex was about. I certainly didn't! And I can sense there are many heads out in Readerland nodding in agreement, not all of them female.

If the end of ...Read more

Single File: Letting Off Steam

Life Advice / Single File /

Whenever someone learns what I do for a living, out pours a torrent of past dating slights. For the first years -- "Single File" is in its 40th year -- I absorbed the slings and arrows, and certain people learned to live with my branch of journalism (and their dating woes), but that was not to be. Yes, there have been a few periods of relative ...Read more

Single File: Think in Many Tenses

Life Advice / Single File /

It's complicated, this single life. On your own, shunning both dependency and isolation, after a while, you adjust and learn to live in the present moment. Sleepless nights have taught you not to voyage into the future (what will be) too often and not to dwell in the past (what might have been). The fancy footwork needed to balance that triangle...Read more

Single File: Two-Handed Love

Life Advice / Single File /

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 ...Read more

Single File: Clutter

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: You write about clutter in our lives. Clutter people, things, projects. Isn't that a bit cruel?

DEAR BLOGGER: (Sigh.) There are times in life -- single life, especially -- you must be "cruel" to be kind to yourself. The "c" word is in quotes because I really don't believe it's cruelty. The thing is there is only so much time in your...Read more

Single File: Celebrate Your Singleness

Life Advice / Single File /

Sounds a bit corny celebrating your own unmarried state, but trust me not to burden you with same-old, same-old stuff. We may not always agree on things, you and moi, but it's a safe bet we'll learn something from each other most of the time. Take, for example, trumpeting your own singleness. At first reading, it may sound like outsize weirdity ...Read more

Single File: That Age Thing, Reversed

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: Here's the thing about older women with younger lovers: He's as much a predator as she is! He wants her to teach him the ways of sex. He wants her to teach him what a younger woman probably can't. But then, when he's learned her sexual technique, he most likely will go on to marry someone more appropriate -- a younger woman. So, ...Read more

Single File: Unavailable

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: I agree with your reader that idealizing and pining for an unavailable someone is the time-honored way to avoid having to face one's own fears of falling in love. But why do we do that?

DEAR BLOGGER: Every problem forces a choice between tackling it head-on or telling ourselves it doesn't exist (aka deluding ourselves into thinking ...Read more

Single File: Gaspworthy

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: Maybe I've mistaken the point of "Single File" -- which I imagined was about people who are single, not in a long-term, committed relationship! In the past, I've commented on your blog that you seem hung up on the notion that most people "lose themselves" when they enter a relationship. Some certainly do, but just as many do not. I ...Read more

Single File: Love As Catalyst

Life Advice / Single File /

Once we fall in love, we tend to believe it's that other person, our beloved, who makes us feel complete because he or she fills in the element that was missing while we hungered for love. We tend to look for the man who makes us feel like a "real woman" at the zenith of our femininity.

If that sounds (all too) familiar, it's time to clear up ...Read more

Single File: Wondering

Life Advice / Single File /

Even if you yourself are snugly married, you probably have many single friends who love to pass along their tales of woe, stories of meeting and greeting the undead at bars, and contrived single minglings. The honest ones will admit being relieved when they go home alone, kicking off their shoes and dropping into a warm bed. Their lips are still...Read more

Single File: Bed Gratitude

Life Advice / Single File /

Her phone call startled me. The distraught woman on the other end spoke in rapid-fire sentences, most of them half-finished. Every word was confused, jumbled. But after some time, it became clear that her husband of 30 years was leaving the marriage. He wanted to live alone. In a way, he had already gone; they hadn't had sex in a year, and the ...Read more

Single File: Friendship With Benefits

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: There's something between casual sex and sex between committed partners. I don't know what to call it, but I do know it exists. I read that the French have a term for it: "less than lovers, more than friends." It's certainly possible for two people who care about each other as friends to have a sexual relationship. Neither partner is...Read more



Rubes Rudy Park Darrin Bell Non Sequitur Strange Brew Between Friends