Being single is a viable lifestyle. Just ask Kate.
When Kate was in her late 20s, she ended a significant relationship with a man she loved. There was nothing wrong, exactly. He was sweet, smart, and funny. They were happy together, she was happy — except for a creeping anxiety that closed around her heart every time they talked about their future. Her friends started getting engaged, married and knocked up around her. She stayed single long enough to realise that she was enough on her own. She was complete.
That story isn’t mine, but it could be.
It actually belongs to sensationally successful writer Kate Bolick, who is now 42. And, she tells me from a New York Winter, she’s more committed to the single status than ever. She’s content, self-possessed, creative, and free.
Admitting that is dangerous, though. When Kate publicly argued that women should be happy single, she made men angry. Angry enough to threaten to kill her.
In 2011, at 39, Kate wrote an article for The Atlantic called ‘All The Single Ladies’. It’s the intelligent woman’s single manifesto; equal parts public introspection and fastidious research. And it was groundbreaking. Millions of people read it and publishers squabbled to offer Kate book deals.
The reaction was complicated, though.
“I heard from hundreds and hundreds of women after that story,” she tells me. “It was like nobody had ever told them their lives were acceptable and they were enough, so they got in touch to thank me. And I guess it’s true, we don’t, as a society, talk about the condition of singleness with any seriousness. Women were just so grateful to have that conversation.”
It’s safe to say Kate’s characterisation of men as ‘deadbeats’ or ‘playboys’ may have, ah, pissed some of them right off. Here’s the introduction to her now-legendary piece: