Rapid review: The Science of Single

Rachel Machacek, The Science of Single (Riverhead, 2011)

When I saw this book in my local library, I thought it would provide some interesting insight into, well, the science of being single. I should have read the back cover, and just as important, looked at the call number (921 for biography instead of the 5xx that a science text would be classified) before checking it out.

Rachel Machacek, a 30-something magazine editor in Washington, embarks on a year-long “grand experiment in modern dating, creating chemistry, and finding love” (according to the book’s subtitle). There isn’t a hint of scientific research in this book, but at least she went back to high-school science class to provide a purpose, hypothesis, and approach to this experiment.

I’ll admit that, despite the deception of the title, I managed to read through the whole thing. Machacek divided the book into smaller “experiments” in which she goes through a variety of approaches to score dates, including online, blind dates, and even going to other cities to check out the singles’ scenes there. As I read, I wasn’t interested so much in the details of Machacek’s numerous dates but rather in the process of how she acquired those dates. She summed up her experiment on the last page, and provided some tips that I could actually use (not necessarily the one involving lip gloss).

But to actually put some science into this, it’s great to have the theory, but the application (and practice) is something else altogether. Or maybe I should drop the cold logic and follow my instincts.


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