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Monday, January 29, 2007 - Page updated at 12:57 PM

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Girl about town

Writing the book on being single

Seattle Times columnist

Being single is not a contest. And yet, some people are "better" at being single than others. In Seattle, where nearly 60 percent of women are living single, it is practically sport.

I am occasionally "good at" being single. I am at my single best when eating pink-frosted cupcakes for breakfast and feeling smug about married people who are required to eat sensible meals. After which I like to text-message a girlfriend and complain about getting fat.

I am at my single worst when it is almost Valentine's Day and I've decided that I'm too lazy to date. On the plus side, if I just stay single and it were a contest, I would win.

This is a good time of year to be bad at being single, when you realize there is nothing good about February, and that has everything to do with Feb. 14. And the weather.

So I called Jen Schefft, who is so good at being single that she's done it on TV — twice — and has now written an entire book on the subject: "Better Single Than Sorry: A No-Regrets Guide to Loving Yourself and Never Settling" ($22, www.amazon.com). Jen is best known for being briefly engaged to Andrew Firestone on ABC's "The Bachelor," and if you think being single is hard, try doing it after being labeled "The Bachelorette" on national TV.

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"It's put an interesting spin on things," Jen said.

There is really no better antidote for the single-girl blues than realizing that someone else has it worse. There's single single, and then there's Jen Schefft single. Here's what she told me about what it's like to date in a post-"Bachelor" world.

The bar scene is impossible: "There's a lot of pointing, staring. If a guy doesn't know who I am, the girl next to him is going to tell him. I get the pickup lines, 'Would I have gotten a rose?' "

Blind dates aren't really blind: "People have this preconceived notion of me, like, 'Oh, I hope you don't want a guy who has millions of dollars, like Andrew Firestone.' "

Double dates can be awkward: "I've gone on a couple dates with guys and their friend's girlfriend will ask me about Andrew. I'm sitting next to the guy I'm on a date with, and you're asking me about my ex-boyfriend? That's weird."

Meeting the parents is even more awkward: "I always think, what is this person's mom going to think of me? Is she going to be a fan or is she going to be like, 'Who is this girl, and is she going to hurt my son?' It's one thing if they watched the show, but when it comes to their son, they're like, 'Ooh, I don't know about this one.' "

Online dating is out of the question: "Can you imagine if I did that? I feel like it would be on Page Six: 'Jen Schefft from "The Bachelor," still single, can't get a guy!' "

Everyone, not just your mom, wants to know why you're still single: "When a lot of people meet me, the first question is, have you found love yet? And then I say no and they say, 'Ohhh, I'm so sorry.' And I'm like, 'It's OK! I'm not dating anyone, but I have a really good job!' It's not just 'no.' I have a whole sentence prepared."

Still, Jen maintains her sense of humor. After all, if it weren't for bad dates, we would have no entertaining stories to tell over brunch or cocktails.

"I don't feel like it's bad to be single," she said. "The reason I wrote the book is to show people that it's fine. Don't put your life on hold until you meet a guy."

But that's not to say she doesn't have her moments, and when she does, she plays the "At least I'm not ... " game just like the rest of us.

"It's hard enough when somebody breaks up with you, but if they broke up with you for Angelina Jolie? ... There's no way."

Seattle Times researcher Gene Balk contributed to this column. Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life. Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

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