But Like Maybe Don't?
After Arianna Margulis’s boyfriend broke up with her, she took a Sharpie, doodled her frustration, and put it on Instagram. Her hilarious comics about the mistakes she made while dating became an overnight sensation and thankfully, it’s now in book form to save us all from making the same blunders. Her straightforward advice like “Be yourself. Don’t pretend to like his favorite band” and “Don’t think that you can handle going back to him. You won’t be chill. Don’t think you can be chill” is like having a hilarious big sister who’s been there.
Anu Desai thought that telling her close-knit family that she’s separating from her husband was the hardest thing she’d ever have to do—after all, they were the ones that pressured her into marrying him in the first place. But she soon realizes that supporting her young daughter and trying to get her fledgling yoga studio business off the ground without going deeper into debt is harder to balance than she initially thought.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.
One of the best parts of being single is having lots of time for your friends and Samantha Irby feels like your most foul-mouthed and bluntly truthful pal. These self-deprecatingly funny essays touch on everything from why a trip to sprinkle your dead father’s ashes shouldn’t also be combined with a romantic getaway to why Irby would make a great Bachelorette candidate (she’d start with realistic dates—no helicopters for her).
Topics of Conversation
Fans of Sally Rooney will love Miranda Popkey’s debut novel. Told almost exclusively in conversations between women, the narratives contain threads of infidelity, desire, self-hatred, loneliness, guilt, and love. The storytelling feels so visceral—almost as if you’re inside the head of the unnamed narrator as she combats the same self-loathing, self-sabotage, and sexual urges we all do. Reading this novel feels like looking in the mirror in the best way possible.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies
What is self-care, really? Tara Schuster, a young TV exec at Comedy Central, was in her late twenties when she realized she was an anxious mess who was chronically self-medicating. In this candid and witty self-help manual, she teaches us the rituals that worked for her, including lots of baths, well-fitting bras, gratitude lists, quitting the critical internal monologue, and yes, buying the $7 Trader Joe’s lilies because they’re pretty and they smell good. Her advice is the opposite of cheesy and will make you relish time alone with your one true love—yourself.
Single, Carefree, Mellow
These are eleven delightful short stories for the commitment-averse. The women in these hysterical stories realize falling in love is, generally, inconvenient and difficult. We meet women in love with their bosses, women in love with people who are married to other people, and women nervous about other people finding out who they are coupled with. Endlessly entertaining and incredibly satisfying, these short stories are as fleeting as a one night stand.
More Than Enough
Sometimes, when we’re a part of a couple, our own needs and wants get shelved and our focus goes instead to our partner’s needs and wants. Former Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Elaine Welteroth’s memoir, More Than Enough, teaches us how to claim space for who we really are and come into our own—no matter who that is. In singledom, we can really focus on shaping our own identities, and Welteroth’s manifesto is the perfect inspiration.
New Erotica for Feminists
Need a little—ahem—stimulation that’s both salacious and arousing in its feminist agenda? Look no further than this slim and riotously funny volume filled with things that will really turn you on. Respectful Tinder dates. Tom Hardy delivering cases of LaCroix to your doorstep. A gender-balanced congress. An immortal RBG. EQUAL PAY! I’m getting hot and bothered just thinking about it all.
Roberta has spent her whole life trying to suppress her appetite and remain small—both physically and in the space she occupies in the world. But when she meets effervescent artist Stevie, the two create a secret society of women who gather at night to celebrate their hunger. They feast until they’re sick, their bodies change, they stop apologizing for taking up space, they rebel against a society who told them to stay skinny, stay quiet and stay small. It’s a coming-of-age story for any woman who wants to suck the marrow out of life.
Fans of Mindy Kaling and Tiffany Haddish need to read the essays of Akilah Hughes. The comedian and YouTuber’s essay collection made me feel seen—specifically, her musings on acne, her weight, and how to make it in New York on zero dollars. (Hi, been there.) Curl up with Obviously during a long, leisurely Sunday all to yourself and get ready to laugh.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
If singlehood is making you exhausted and you feel like you might want to take a very long nap (being awoken by a kiss from Prince Charming, of course!), you should absolutely read Ottessa Moshfegh’s bestselling novel instead. Once you’re ensconced in the life of our narrator, whose parents are dead, and whose Wall Street boyfriend treats her like shit, and who’s got a toxic relationship with her best friend, and who’s taking a daily combination of drugs to make her numb to the world around her, your partner-less life will start looking pretty sunny by comparison.
In between swiping left and right on Tinder recently, I had a moment of gratitude for my singledom. I’ve been self-partnered for about 8 years now and I love that, in that time, I’ve become increasingly independent, confident, and self-assured. I know who I am and what I want, and I’m looking for a partner who compliments that. And if they don’t come along any time soon, well, I’m good with that too. Now, don’t get me wrong. Dating is tough and I’ve been on my fair share of terrible, soul-sucking dates. But any time I close the door on someone completely wrong for me, I open the pages of one of these books. These books about being single make me feel instantly better. And they’ll never suddenly be emotionally unavailable or develop a fear of commitment so…that’s a bonus.