Life Advice



Single File: A Son's Epilogue

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: One of your columns caused me to read your bio, and I learned that your son Scott lost his father when he was very young. My mother's greatest accomplishment, she says, is bringing up her three children to have college degrees without needing a husband. (My manuscript about that experience, "The Widow's Son," won an award at a writers' conference that led to publication.) Congratulations on all you have achieved. -- From the "Single File" Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Catapulted into the single world literally overnight, I began to look closely at singleness and that led to a (magnificent) obsession with the unmarried world that soon became a lifelong passion. The book that took shape from that loving research was written while my son Scott was in adolescence. This is the epilogue he wanted to be part of it: "It is quite unusual for the son of an author to write the epilogue for a book, especially this kind of book. But when she and I were talking recently, it became clear to us that I was in a unique position to offer comments, and that my epilogue might be a good way to cap this work. I've known her as mother and columnist, as unmarried woman -- and I've seen the many stages that led to the completion of this book. From my close vantage point I see how she has lived the material before setting it down in print, how she has brought herself from feelings of helplessness and self-pity to the self-affirmation that comes from an inspired creative process. I've watched her grow as a person and as a parent, taking control of her life and developing self-determination while building a love relationship. All that enables her to be a much better mother -- and our relationship has strengthened. I can affirm the value of the ideas embodied in this book because I've seen them put to the test and provide sure guidance to a life. But beyond expressing appreciation of my mom's determination, I want it known that this is a book of empowerment. At every step the goal is to offer those ideas and techniques that bring greater understanding and fulfillment, so that unmarried women in transition can take advantage of their singleness and gain greater control over their lives -- with growing confidence in the fullness of their inner resources. This book can be a valuable catalyst and support system, pointing the way toward a more satisfying life. I know better than anyone that it was written with the conviction that each one of us (man or woman) can fulfill our dreams and our unique potential, as I know my mother is striving to fulfill hers." -- Scott Deitz, San Francisco

DEAR SUSAN: You told 'Nice as Boring' that he would have to be patient (or date women in their 30s) until the girls in their 20s matured and (in their 30s) adopted more sensible values. Is not the theme of the day carpe diem, and what you're saying to your reader is WASTE NO TIME, GO ON NOW TO 30-YEAR-OLDS. Kind of like Monopoly: Go straight to jail, do not pass "Go," do not collect 200 dollars! -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: There is a similarity, in that both are board/bored games. But beyond that superficial funny, there aren't many other similarities. (Yes, I intend to reply with a straight face.) When women use the word "nice" to describe a man, it's a ho-hum description, meaning he doesn't have much to recommend him, but he won't hurt you physically. (That's about it.) And when men describe a woman as "nice", they're insinuating she's not much in the looks department; the only thing she has to recommend her is niceness. And that usually doesn't get male attention. But the sad thing here is that most men equate niceness with quiet, nonstop smiling and not much in the opinion department. Many men are so afraid/timid/leery of women that they clam up when they're with a woman they like, so fearful of offending that they come across as dull, colorless, boring. But when women cross the 30-ish border, having been knocked around a bit by the bad/pretty boys, they tend to reassess their criteria and slowly start leaning toward the nice guys. (Who have learned a bit about women by then and are less intimidated by them.) In a sense yes, the dating scene is a game of wits and words, but by the glorious age of 30 (or so) both genders have learned a lesson or two ... about love, about dating, about themselves. The lucky ones gain a monopoly on The Real Thing.



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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