For the involuntarily single and the recently dumped, Valentine’s Day has long been an opportunity to mope, feel sorry for oneself, and lick the wounds that others are salting with their roses and chocolates. However, three of this season’s new books may help keep hope alive. Aimed at the unattached, the single mother and the sexlessly wed, respectively, “Secrets of a Fix-Up Fanatic,” “Single Mom Seeking” and “Mating in Captivity” echo a certain politician’s inspirational (if ultimately unfulfilled) promise: “Help is on the way.”
Susan Shapiro’s “Secrets of a Fix-Up Fanatic: How to Meet & Marry Your Match” (Delta, 2006) is a chatty, readable book full of practical suggestions for those who are looking for their besherts. Her advice boils down to two key tenets: Love yourself first, and then ask someone you know and respect to set you up.
“Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates and Other Dispatches From the Dating World” (Seal Press), by Rachel Sarah, is a memoir of the first few years of a single mom who is actively seeking Mr. Right. Sarah has an infant daughter; her longtime boyfriend, Eric, her baby’s father, disappeared without a trace. Here’s the endearing and steamy, if slightly self-indulgent, story of Sarah finding her way back into the dating world.
In “Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic” (HarperCollins, 2006), couples and family therapist Esther Perel walks readers through the various causes of, and some strategies to combat, matrimonial bed-death. Using real-life examples from her New York City private practice, Perel hypothesizes that “it is not a lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire… desire is fueled by the unknown.”
Beth Schwartzapfel is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. She is working toward a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the New School.