If you're a Lonely Guy, says Bruce Jay Friedman, take heart: There are millions of people just like you out there. Unfortunately, your chance of meeting any of the really attractive ones are slim.
The Lonely Guy's Book of Life is Friedman's classic manual on handling undesired solitude. Some of his tips (and remember, a woman can be a Lonely Guy too):
Your apartment: The worst view you can have is a bridge, particularly a "Lost Horizon" type that's obscured in fog at the far end. In no time at all, the Lonely Guy will start thinking of it as a metaphor for his life, stretching off into nowhere.
Plants: Buy a lot of them. Scattered about, they will cover up the fact that you don't have enough furniture and aren't knowledgeable about room dividers. A drawback is that each day you will see little buds and shoots, life perpetuating itself while yours may very well not be.
Cooking: Forget about measuring things. Just tear off hunks of things and toss them in. Lonely Guys are too upset to be dealing with 1 1/2 tsps. of nutmeg, which they won't have around anyway.
Dating: An effective strategy is to schedule periodontal work on a Friday afternoon. This will keep you desperately uncomfortable until late Saturday night. At that point, you can say to yourself: "No sense calling anyone now. I might as well get the Sunday papers and pack it in." Simple as that, you'll be out of the woods. And you'll have tough gums, too.
Friedman's experiences after the Book of Life was published in 1978 would bring hope to any Lonely Guy.
"I was living alone when I wrote it, and was feeling the pain," he says. "But the second I finished it, literally, I went out and met my current wife.
"Now I'm here with a new wife, a new baby, two dogs, two cats, and God knows what else -- and I crave a little loneliness."