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Single and Forced to Mingle Is the Perfect Lighthearted Read for Quarantine Cuffing Season

As if dating during normal times wasn't awkward enough.

Book cover for Single And Forced To Mingle by Melissa Croce

Let’s be real for a sec: dating (and romance as a whole, for that matter) has gotten real awkward since COVID-19 entered our lives. On top of the already stressful realities many of us have had to adapt to, there’s the added discomfort of navigating the wacky world of dating and—and the new social rules that come with it—in the midst of a pandemic.

For totally understandable reasons, many people have temporarily put dating on hold or embraced the extended solace of singledom to give more focus on themselves; others have found themselves newly uncoupled and exploring solitude for the first time while adjusting to everything else that’s hit us in the past year—a new normal in many different ways and for many different reasons, and it’s come with its own sets of growing pains and hiccups.

But that being said, there still remain the familiar parts of singlehood: the awkward moments, the odd societal and peer pressure, and the overly prying (and frankly completely unnecessary) questions from relatives, friends, and well-meaning acquaintances. It’s uncomfortable at best and irritating at worst, and though there’s no official user manual available for navigating these moments, I must personally say that Melissa Croce’s Single and Forced to Mingle comes pretty darn close.

Not only is the book a funny, lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek guidebook on dating (or rather, the lack thereof), it’s a wonderful book on building comfort in being by yourself, which is starkly relevant and handy for these current times. (Though I doubt Croce intended/nor anticipated the book being aligned with the current state of 2021!)

Single and Forced to Mingle also serves as a fun guidebook for introspection and self-care, and views solitude not as something to be avoided, but rather as a pleasant opportunity to rediscover or learn something entirely new about yourself. It also gives fun activities for socially-distant solo adventures or those long extended nights in at the homestead.

It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is part of its inherent charm. After all, laughter is the best medicine. And hey, if on the next family Zoom call, your nosy aunt prods you yet again about your love life, this book will surely provide you with the tips necessary to deflect her nags and nosiness. Or, if you’re feeling really zesty, you can turn the family Zoom call into a family book club, starring Yours Truly.

Either way, single or otherwise, Single and Forced To Mingle is worth a read, because although it is framed through the lens of romance, it does a pretty good job at understanding what it means to cultivate a healthy sense of self-love, and teaching you how to truly love your own company—which, in my opinion, is something that is always valuable, no matter the circumstances.

(featured image: Atria Books)

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Larissa Irankunda (she/her) is an East African star child and writer based in Brooklyn. Fantasy and Science-Fiction are her first loves, and her writing focuses on amplifying diversity and inclusion in storytelling. You are most likely to find her nose-deep in a good book, or professing her love for Danny Devito and Jeff Goldblum on the interwebs.