Life Advice



Single File: Fair And Balanced

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I appreciate that a woman (you) will take time to give balanced views on male/female issues. There are mighty few these days to speak for men, and thousands to speak for women. But, Susan, why don't you write an article about yourself? Your education, hometown, family and how your attitudes were formed. I think it would be interesting. -- Zack B., Long Island, New York

DEAR ZACK: You've no idea how many harpoons have been hurled at this columnist for maintaining the fair balance you value so highly. Because of the amount of newsprint given to men's issues (and I suppose an even-handed viewpoint), I've been accused of being male, and hiding behind a female byline to protect my true gender. And both camps have labeled me man-hater and self-hating woman. (I must admit this non-appreciating activity has come to a complete halt in the last few years, maybe because the non-appreciators dropped out and are reading only recipes, but whatever the reason, letters these days are 99% positive and encouraging. Many, many thanks for yours.) As for a bio, the scarcity of space dictates brevity. And if you'd like to know even more, you can check out my book "Single File", published by St. Martin's Press, at your local library or on the web at The short version of my background:

Born in Westchester, New York. Schooled at Smith College and widowed terribly young. Left with small Scott to rear, totally (!) unprepared for life on my own. Muddled through the first tough years with a little help from my friends, as did my son. We were two against the world, and discovered there were some pretty nice people in it. One of them (a physicist) suggested I write my experiences at Revlon, and, after four years' toil and trouble, a book was published. (NOTE: I was finding my day jobs much more satisfying than the dates that were coming my way.) Around the same time, the same physicist -- an asset in my work, a heartbreaker in my love life -- noted that some people might like to know my secrets for a fairly calm and happy single life. And from that whispered suggestion came "Single File." That was in 1975, and I've been at it ever since. Immersion in singleness has taken many forms: radio host; seminars in single life; a second book; six years as online singles expert on Prodigy; creating and recording scripts on single life; nationwide promotion tour; online sites featuring this column. Today new adventure is bubbling for me. Connected to singleness, of course, so we'll see what life has in store. So far, not one complaint.

DEAR SUSAN: I'm a 39-year-old who wants to find myself a pen pal, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm pretty shy, so writing is a good way to express myself. And maybe something could come from the relationship. My kids are teens, always busy doing things, and life gets pretty lonely sitting home every night by myself. I don't know how to go out and meet new people. I'm not into the bar scene and I'm definitely not a social butterfly. -- Justine K., Indianapolis, Indiana


DEAR JUSTINE: You've made some good choices so far. The bar scene is (usually) the place for slick opening lines and total hype. So far, so good. And a pen pal might sound good, but you'd still sit home alone at night. But there is so much world out there, even for the shy. Personally, I much prefer a shy person, because sincerity is (usually) their strong suit. But you're missing so much, and that bothers me. Could I convince you to join a group that's doing something you like? A cooking class, a hiking club, whatever it is that feels good and brings some enjoyment into your life. You could take a cue from your teenagers and get back into life. Not through the bar horror but using your interests as bridges. They'll bring you to compatible people, you know, men and women who like what you like, and there's not much social pressure when you meet them this way. My advice? Make inroads on several fronts: interest groups, pen pal organizations, volunteer work in your community. And what about joining the parents' association at your children's school? I can't imagine a more meaningful way to spend your time or a more powerful way to show them how much they mean to you.


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at 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.




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