25 (Possible) Reasons You Are (Still) Single

Real-life quotes explaining why we are alone.

Advice-givers are crafty in their visage. They lure you into a state of complicity by appearing as kindly parental figures who just want you to succeed in life. But the moment you lean in to hear their advice, they morph into their deadly true form. Advice-givers attack when you least expect it, hurling unsolicited bits of advice at your head like bees out of a shaken hive.

No one seems to incite the advice-givers more than the single woman over the age of 25. No matter how successful, happy, or healthy she may be, someone, somewhere is wringing his or her hands over the tragic state of her solitude. She can’t fight the advice-givers with crazy talk about the publication of her amazing new book, her fulfilling work with Habitat for Humanity, or – God forbid – her recent amicable breakup with her nice-enough boyfriend. She’s alone and doesn’t need to be! If only she could just fix this one major flaw about herself.

Naturally, advice-givers have issued forth a myriad of guidance throughout the ages. We polled our friends and readers to capture the best, real-life bits of counsel they have ever received. And then we took off the filters to say what the advice givers really wanted to say.

1. “I was told that I don’t smile enough. So I need to make sure that I’m smiling all the time at the grocery store and Starbucks.” (No one likes a moody bitch.)

2. “I was told by a manicurist no one would ever propose to me with ‘those hands’ and that I needed to come in for more manicures.” (Just make perfect, plaster casts of your hands and wield them instead.)

3. “I was told that I needed to need to straighten my curly hair because it’s too sexy and has too much personality. Didn’t I know that men are scared of curls?” (Curls are trampy.)

4. “I was told my hair was too straight and limp to attract a man. Men like curls because curls mean fertility.” (Curls are youthful and sexy. Strike above translation.)

5. “My mother is convinced that I appear too closed off and that I need to look more approachable. She suggests that I walk slowly down the street and make eye contact with as many men as possible. She doesn’t seem to understand that if I do this in Manhattan, I’ll eventually look like the Pied Piper with a trail of creepy men following me down the street.” (Be confident, but don’t get killed.)

6. “I was told by a friend that my excellent posture was the reason for my state of singledom, that the very carriage of my head was enough to make people dislike me. She suggested that I cultivate a more vulnerable look, particularly if I wanted to marry eventually. Her reasons were that women are much nicer to each other when they don’t feel threatened by competition, and it’s a well known fact that men simply aren’t drawn to confident women.” (Be confident but don’t show it and slouch…a lot.)

7. “I was told that I’m too tall and carry myself too well. It intimidates men. Also, I am not to wear heels since being taller than a man makes him feel inferior. And short.” (Slouch, dammit, slouch!)

8. “I was told by a male friend that my upper arms weren’t toned enough to attract a good-looking guy. ‘You’re so pretty. Now if you just got these arms under control, you’d be really hot.’ Let me add that I was a size 4 when he said this to me.” (Size 4 is the new size you’re-so-fat.)

9. “I had a boyfriend who told me I should cover my arms because of all the freckles. (He had freckles.) This was right before he told me, when I was naked on top of him, that I should ‘really tone up’. (He was not toned up.)” (Fat is only acceptable on a freckled bro-dude.)

10. “A cousin assured me that the secret to catching a man was simple. My smile had to light up a room upon entry. I needed to pause in between sentences so I didn’t babble and listen attentively. I was to cast demure looks about the room. I was to breath slowly, stand straight, and walk briskly with my shoulders back. Yes, she was quoting The Rules at me, and no, I didn’t point out that she herself was twice divorced.” (Don’t listen to your cousins.)

11. “I was told not to write too much of anything online or be too funny. The message I took from that was vague was sexy.” (We all just died alone.)

12. “I was told that I was too nice and too prudish. The actual quote was ‘Just be a little sluttier and a little bitchier.’” (We can’t hear you, we’re dead, remember?)

13. “Apparently, my sassy attitude makes men uncomfortable. If I were nicer to men, they’d like me more.” (Now we’re just turning over in our graves. Our lonely graves.)

14. “I was told to wear a watch so men know I take life seriously and that I’m someone to be taken seriously. A watch gives you a sense of organization and adulthood. You’re not just the woman he has sex with – you’re a woman who takes care of herself with a watch.” (This advice was sponsored by Rolex.)

15. “I was told that I intimidate men. I only attract douches because all the nice ones are too scared to approach me.” (You’re a bitch, so you’re alone.)

16. “I was told that my easy-going attitude made me look like a push-over to men. And since all men want a challenge and/or a saber-toothed tiger to wrestle, I needed to bitch it up before my biological clock kicked out.” (You’re not bitchy enough, so you’re alone.)

17. “My father told me to get rid of my big dog because she intimidated all the men I dated.” (Your dog is now a bitch.)

18. “For a few weeks, I dated Jason, aged 40. We stayed friends after we stopped kissing. He constantly told me that at my age – I was 35 – I needed to be going out with guys in their late 40s, at the youngest. ‘Guys my age want girls in their 20s. You’re more age-appropriate for 45 plus.’ After he said this three or four times, I decided I’d had enough of Jason. But I did wonder if he eventually saw on Facebook that, three years later, I married a really great guy who was two years younger than he.” (Facebook has validating benefits.)

19. “My great aunt told me that I should masturbate before I went out with a new guy so I didn’t feel too tempted to be too sexual on the first date.” (No word on what’s “too sexual” for a first date, but high-five, great auntie!)

20. “I am too open about enjoying sex in conversation. Men don’t want to think of a woman having been with anyone else in the past.” (No word on if this advice-giver is Rush Limbaugh.)

21. “I was told by a male ‘friend’ that no self-respecting guy would marry me if he knew how many sexual partners I had accumulated. Even though I knew it was stupid, I still nervously confessed my number to my boyfriend when things got serious. Not only was he impressed, he still managed to ask me to marry him six months later.” (Three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Awesome Sex Life!)

22. “My dad told me to take it easy with my boyfriend because, and I quote, ‘why should anyone buy the cow when they can get the milk for free?’” (Dads are cute?)

23. “My grandmother told me to kiss as many boys as I wanted because ‘you don’t want to spend decades kissing a fish.’ I tried not to think about my grandfather when she mentioned this.” (Grandmothers are cuter.)

24. “My now-married friend Angela says to always sleep with the guy by the third date to see if we are sexually compatible. But how do you know anything by the third date? And how can you know from one sexual interaction with someone you barely know whether or not you’re sexually compatible?” (Hats off to Angela, who boldly went where many men have gone before.)

25. “I was told that if I just stopped being me, maybe I’d find someone.” (That about says it all.)

Images james_sickmindjames_sickmind /gareth1953

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.