3-Minute Interview: Sasha Cagen

The San Francisco resident wrote the books “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics” and “To-do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us.” Her first book inspired International Quirkyalone Day, an alternative to Valentine’s Day now in its sixth year.

What’s a quirkyalone? A quirkyalone is someone who enjoys being single. They want to be in a relationship, but it really has to be the right one.

What inspired International Quirkyalone Day? I looked around six years ago, when I first started International Quirkyalone Day, and realized that Valentine’s Day doesn’t work for most people, whether you’re single and feel left out, or in a relationship and have all these high-pressure clichés to live up to. And I thought there’s definitely room for an alternative. But instead of being bitter and having an anti-Valentine’s Day, I thought we should have a day where you can be proud of being single, of your strength to be single in a world that tells you you’re more successful, cooler or more attractive if you’re in a couple.

Why write a book about to-do lists? People have been sending me their to-do lists for about seven years, so I’ve collected more than 5,000 of them. I became fascinated by them because they’re so telling. Reading every list was sort of like reading someone’s diary, but just the bullet-point version.

What are some of your favorites? There’s everything from a woman in her 40s who’s deciding whether to leave her husband — the list is called what’s wrong with my marriage, and it’s crazy and goes on for pages and pages. And, keeping with the Quirkyalone Day theme, there’s a young Mormon who lists ideal qualities in a mate, like “keeps her mouth shut” or “always uses turn signals.”

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