Chastened, By Hephzibah Anderson

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The Independent Culture

One Valentine's Day, the literary critic Hephziabah Anderson went to bed with a pile of escapist novels, reminding herself that "though I felt lonely, I'd felt lonelier in the past with a lover by my side".

Wearied by the merry-go-round of modern courtship - sex by at least the third date - Anderson decided to forgo sleepovers for a year. This candid account of her "gap" year – much of it spent in New York – raises questions for a world more shocked by "chastity" than by "pole dancing".

Singletons should take heart: Anderson got to know nicer men (she spent more time talking), wore warmer clothes, wrote better prose and discovered that romance didn't have to be "life's defining drama."