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Jenny Slate hits the single-lady sweet spot

Jenny Slate appears at the SXSW festival in Austin on March 11. (Sarah Kerver/Getty Images for Glamour)

Jenny Slate has hit the single-lady sweet spot. In a New York Magazine article, she comes across as enjoying her alone time even though she eventually wants a romantic partner.

This sounds like a normal balance of desires, especially because Slate is fresh off a breakup and a divorce. But single women — in Hollywood especially — are often portrayed as one-dimensional: If you’re content with your solitude, you’re a loner who’s incapable of a deep, serious relationship. And if you express the desire to be in a relationship, you’re lonely and desperate for a man.

This story about Slate avoids falling into either trap. Instead, she’s portrayed as happy while single now. And when the timing and person are right, she’ll be happy to get back into a relationship.

That doesn’t mean her breakup with actor Chris Evans has been easy, however. She has been through the standard breakup routine of cycling through woe — crying while watching rom-coms (“You’ve Got Mail,” specifically); crashing with friends and calling them to swoop in when she’s feeling particularly alone — and then arriving at the joy of being alone. Slate talks about decorating her new apartment exactly as she (and only she) wants, flowery throw pillows and all. She reveals her vulnerabilities about being alone through describing the personality of her dog, Reggie. “He’s like a little soul mirror of me,” Slate says. How so? “Needing closeness. Despair when left alone. But also he’s very excited to misbehave when left alone. So he doesn’t know what he wants.”

But Slate does seem to know what she wants. And right now, that’s solitude. “The way I feel now is I’ve stepped out of the woods and I’m a forest animal and I’m standing on the lawn,” she’s quoted as saying. “And if anybody tried to approach me right now, they’re seeing a creature that’s just trying to figure out what the lawn is like. All I’m thinking about is the lawn. I’m not thinking about whether or not they are going to be a fun person to be on the lawn with, because I am just trying to be on the lawn. … I like the lawn. It’s filled with air, freedom, sunlight, and I’m alone.”

Eventually, she’ll be ready to have someone join her on the lawn, she says, in another delightful animal metaphor: “I’m like a mallard, definitely looking for my other duck.”

Still, she has been in love enough to have a better idea of what she’s looking for. “Whoever is the next person is going to have to respect that I had a husband who I loved and this boyfriend who I loved so much, and I don’t want to have to act like they weren’t important.”

Slate and Evans met on the set of “Gifted,” which they’re about to promote together. “I feel pretty relaxed about it right now,” she says, adding: “But that doesn’t also mean that I’m going to sleep well the night before, you know?”

Understandably so. But beyond her new movie, there’s another role Slate is playing: a woman who enjoys both solitude and partnership, a paradox that’s not much of a paradox at all.


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