Why You Don't Need a Boyfriend (Especially on Valentine's Day)
Advice from Spinster author Kate Bolick on the importance of putting yourself first.
Girls have accomplished so much within the past century or so, whether it's winning Nobel Prizes as teens, flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean, or crushing athletic records without breaking a sweat. Even with all these achievements (talk about #goals), the stigma of being single has stuck around as stubbornly as last weekend’s glitter eyeliner. The pressure to have a boyfriend comes in all forms: cutesy Valentine’s Day overload, that one friend who constantly pressures you to find the love of your life asap, or worst of all, your own nagging worry about whether or not you’ll be alone forever.
These reasons, among about a million others, are exactly why Kate Bolick’s debut book Spinster is so important. The title alone warrants a second glance—and even better, Bolick makes being single seem not just OK, but awesome. Weaving her own life experiences along some other badass independent women like Edna St. Vincent Millay and Edith Wharton, it’s an inspiring tale of finding yourself—no matter where you happen to be in life.
Just in time for V-Day, Bolick shared why you don’t need a boyfriend (this weekend, or any weekend!). Consider it our Valentine’s gift to you.
First things first: Dating is hard, especially in high school.
"The tricky thing about high school is how you’re dealing with so many changes on so many levels: physical, hormonal, intellectual, biological. This makes it harder to be as objective and as clear-thinking about your decision to date as you are when you’re older. For instance, women in their 30s are always being like, 'I’m taking a break from dating to focus on myself.' It’s a lot harder to do when you’re a teenager."
If you're single, embrace it. (But, like, actually.)
"Never feel bad about being single! There are so many great things about it, particularly when you’re young. The number one thing is that you have so much time when you’re a teen. This means you can spend time making art, or having a job to get money, or reading books. Your brain is still physically growing, so cram as much into it as you can."
Having a boyfriend is fun, but it shouldn’t be a life goal.
"People have a tendency to think that having a boyfriend is a status thing, or that it will make you feel good about yourself. It’s nice if you do fall in love, but having a boyfriend shouldn’t be an achievement."
Multiple platonic relationships > one romantic one.
"Part of why I started getting so interested in single women was because I had boyfriends my whole life. I don't regret it looking back—falling in love is great—but the experience did detract from my other friends’ relationships. Although I was well-rounded, the center of my life was my family and my boyfriend. I never really invested in my friendships the way other people did. It made me feel a little lonely, and it also meant that I had to learn to have close girl friendships later. I kind of wish I learned how to do that in high school. It wasn’t really until college when I really invested in my friendships in a way that I never had before."
Being single forces you to get to know yourself.
"You learn not to be influenced by peer pressure and learn what you like and what you don’t like on your own. If you’re a girl in high school it can be distracting—meeting guys, wanting a boyfriend, getting mixed up with guys who are jerks—so if you’re single, you’re forced to learn how to make the right decisions for yourself. Don't think of yourself as less than because you don’t have a boyfriend."
Cosign! Our official Valentine's Day recommendation to you: Treat yourself to a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a copy of Spinster. We just made your perfect soundtrack for the occasion.