It is heresy in America to embrace any way of life except as half of a couple. Solitude is un-American. It may be condoned in a man -- especially if he is a "glamorous bachelor" who "dates starlets" during a brief interval between marriages. But a woman is always presumed to be alone as a result of abandonment, not choice. And she is treated that way: as a pariah. There is simply no dignified way for a woman to live alone. Oh, she can get along financially perhaps (although not nearly as well as a man), but emotionally she is never left in peace. Her friends, her family, her fellow workers never let her forget that her husbandlessness, her childlessness -- her selfishness, in short -- is a reproach to the American way of life."Erica Jong, "Fear of Flying"