Some people like to behave as though being single is some kind of horrifying life sentence. They associate singleness with desperation and cats (not that there's anything wrong with desperation or cats). But we know that's not true. Being single can be freeing, or even joyful. You don't have to fight over blankets, or feel weird about flirting with strangers, or try to make your career sound impressive to anyone's parents. Being single can also be lonely, and difficult (spoiler alert: dating is also lonely and difficult). And like all things in life even tangentially related to sex, authors write about it ad nauseam. So here are a few literary quotes on being single to make you laugh, cry, and feel sorry for all those saps in relationships.
Everyone pressures single people. They insist that you must put yourself out there, or try this dating app, or stop being so picky, or stay single until you love yourself, or get a drink with my friend Steve—he's between jobs right now, but he's a pretty nice guy. But books don't pressure you. Books are just here to say, yeah, I get it man. Me too.
So, whether you're newly single, single by choice, single by circumstance, or thought-you-weren't-single-but-it-turns-out-you-are, here are some perfect quotes for you:
1. I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
2. Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to die alone, but spending quality time with myself 60 to 70 percent of the day is my idea of mecca.
― Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
3. Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired, women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
4. She liked being lonesome for a change. This freedom feeling was fine. These men didn’t represent a thing she wanted to know about. She had already experienced them...
― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
5. I shudder at the thought of men.... I'm due to fall in love again.
― Dorothy Parker, The Portable Dorothy Parker
6. “You want to be single?" I said yes. And then I told her that I thought single was a stupid term. It made it sound like you were unattached to anyone, unconnected to anything. I preferred the term singular. As in individual.
― David Levithan, How They Met, and Other Stories
7. You think because he doesn't love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn't want you anymore that he is right―that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage… You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.
― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
8. I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.
― Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone around the World
9. I think it's good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone.
― Amy Sedaris, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
10. I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents.
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
11. I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone... If Maxim had been there I should not be lying as I was now, chewing a piece of grass, my eyes shut. I should have been watching him, watching his eyes, his expression. Wondering if he liked it, if he was bored. Wondering what he was thinking. Now I could relax, none of these things mattered. Maxim was in London. How lovely it was to be alone again.
― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
12. For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
13. So distracting, so complete is she that she is gone before many realize that she had no escort, she was alone, a parade of one.
― Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl
14. I belong deeply to myself.
― Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
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