The Great Diaper Debate September 8, 2013Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought.
Tags: diapers, single blog, single fathers, single mothers
Copious Readers, I have never changed a diaper.
Is that weird?
I had a very, shall we say, impassioned discussion of this topic with a friend of mine whom we shall call ‘Trent’. (Every blogger–nay, every writer–knows that the best part of writing is making up pseudonyms.)
Fate chose for Trent to walk the married-with-children path. Result: a seven-year-old son and a sixteen-year-old daughter and lots and lots of diaper-changing experience. Fine. (Smelly, but fine.)
The argument (I’m upgrading it from ‘impassioned discussion’) happened while I was talking to Trent on the phone–he was at a beach house with some friends. (Strike one against him.) Also present in the house, according to Trent, were one male friend with two small girls and another male friend—hmm, how about ‘Derek’!–who had no children. Trent told me that Derek was good with the little girls but that he wouldn’t really be the best person to watch them alone, because he’d never even changed a diaper. Trent told me this and laughed, as if it were a funny and surprising fact.
“But I’ve never changed a diaper,” I said.
“Are you serious?” he said.
I won’t recreate the dialog here because it went pretty much along those lines, with a couple interesting twists. He said that diaper-changing was a right of passage. He said 95 percent of Americans do it. He said, didn’t I ever babysit? (No, not since I had to chase that naked four-year-old around the house with a toothbrush and pajamas.) He said diaper changing was a way to show love, to overcome the grittiness of life for a greater purpose. (I’m saying it better than he did.) He equated it to never having travelled outside the U.S. With nearly every sentence, he intimated that I had missed out, and that I was a lesser person for it.
I tried to argue back, but I argue best on paper (or on pixels, I guess) so most of my words came out “but. . but. . .I. . uh.. no. . .” So sure was he of the order of things, that he didn’t even realize he was making me nuts. He laughed harder and harder, while at the end of the conversation I was practically screaming into the phone, near tears and feeling frustrated and offended.Copious Readers, what would you have done? What would you have said? Below is a slightly edited version of the email I wrote to him once I calmed down (sorry for any bad formatting juju):
Dear Trent, (more…)
Single? Blogfest Explains How to Get Screwed 1,000 Times! April 15, 2013Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Marital Status Discrimination, Singled Out, Singles Resource, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: #SinglesBlogfest, #UnmarriedEquality, Atlantic Magazine, bella depaulo, Christina Campbell, Cindy Butler, Eleanore Wells, Marital Status Discrimination, singles blogs, The High Price of Being Single, Unmarried Equality
Marital Status Discrimination: Today, Onely joins forces with dozens of other bloggers to highlight the problem of Marital Status Discrimination. Why? Because on Tax Day, Uncle Sam picks the pockets of singles at the same time he’s rewarding couples for getting married.
So what? So this: The U.S. government–a democratic government, a government “By the People and For the People” and all that–discriminates against fifty percent of its population: unmarried people. Our federal code alone contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out.
Because this phenomenon was a problem with no name, we at Onely christened it “institutionalized” Marital Status Discrimination. In January we made a big slam-dunk stink about it in The Atlantic.
The Million-Dollar Difference: According to our very conservative and basic calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily pay at least a million dollars more over her lifetime than her married counterpart, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws (such as Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security).
What’s more, our hypothetical scenarios did not consider state laws, nor the many ways Marital Status Discrimination shows up in corporate policies–such as when singles pay more for all sorts of insurance. These factors could easily push the million-dollar figure higher. Much higher.
But money isn’t everything: That’s why our government has thoughtfully provided other laws that don’t impact single people’s pocketbooks. These laws instead impact single people’s peace of mind. For example, as we described in 2010 on Psychology Today, an anti-stalking law promises protection to the victim’s spouse. Phew! But a single person being stalked is offered no such additional protection for a loved ones.
Any stalker who does his research (and we imagine this is all of them) would know exactly whom his stalkee loves most. R.I.P. Grandma; if only you had married your grandson maybe there would have been cops by your door when his stalker came calling. . .
The U.S. Government thinks being unmarried means: a life free of connections and cares, and full of discretionary spending. Unfortunately, even if this were true (and we at Onely fervently wish it were), no society is at its best when half its members are treated differently from the other half.
So let’s get started obliterating Marital Status Discrimination! Our first step is to. . uh. . . We will start by. . . ahem. . . Our next move should be. . . um. . . Well, as you can see, while we at Onely are skilled at pointing out these problems, we aren’t so sure what we should do next.
So, Copious Readers, here’s where we need your help: Now that we’ve gotten the dialog started, what do you think our “next steps” should be? How do you think we should take action (and by “we,” we mean the collective blogosphere standing up for single people everywhere)? What subject matter experts are best positioned to spread the word or propose legislative change? Do you know tax professionals or legislators friendly to our cause? (Or can you convince them to embrace our cause?)
Please share your insights and spread the word: Comment below. Or tweet #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest. Or share this article on Facebook!
If you have more questions about Singles Blogfest, please write to Onely@onely.org or to email@example.com. Huh? Clue? Yes:
The Communication League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE):
We at Onely were not the only ones who instigated this effort. We were honored to have had lots of help from three of the most active voices in the progressive singles’ movement, who jumped on board the Singles Blogfest project with unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise:
Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!
Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com
The Wife Date December 9, 2012Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Dating, Heteronormativity.
Tags: (not) looking for a wife, dating checklists, dating for fun, single and happy
As our Copious Readers know (but as we often have to clarify to our not-so-Copious Readers and Friends), Christina and I are not against coupling per se. We’re against the privileges associated with coupling, especially when they are unequal to the privileges provided for singles.
Why am I giving you this caveat? Because I went on a date recently. And I didn’t want anyone to think that, by going on a date, I was not being Onely. We believe it’s possible to be Onely and have a love life too.
That being said, I have something to say about the date, which I am heretofore nicknaming The Wife Date. Perhaps by the nickname you can guess how I felt about it. But in case you can’t, let me explain:
Have you ever gone on a date where the conversation consisted of a series of generic questions, rather than from finding mutual experiences or interests in common? (more…)
Onely Gets Stood Up, Resorts to Machinery June 18, 2012Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Dating.
Tags: cleaning, getting stood up, love dramas, singles blog, vacuum cleaner
My mom set us up, so I should have known the date wouldn’t turn out well. To be fair to my mom, I did ask her to find me someone. And when she described Robin over the phone, Robin sounded amazing and I couldn’t wait to meet her. The whole week my stomach filled with happy butterflies I looked forward to Saturday at 2 pm.
Saturday arrives. At 1:50 I move my car so Robin can pull up right in front of house when she arrives. At 1:55 I start to pace by the window. At 2:00 I make sure the ringer on my phone is on in case she tries to call to say she’s running late. By 2:15 I’m pacing faster, in ever more erratic circles. By 2:30 I begin to worry: Do I really want a relationship with this woman if she can’t even call to say she’s running late? Is she a chronic late person? Because I could never be with a chronic late person. My butterflies settle into the pit of my stomach, a soggy cocoon of disappointment.
At 2:45 I call her. “Oh I’m so sorry,” she says. She doesn’t sound sorry. She sounds distracted. “I’m in Silver Spring.” This is a forty minute drive from me. She says, “I got caught up and didn’t realize the time.”
I’m opening my mouth to tell her not to bother coming now, when she says, “My longtime client had a fire in her nursing home and I’m trying to clean that up. Smoke damage. Can we reschedule our consultation?”
“Oh,” I say. “That’s too bad. Of course we can.” But I’m really thinking, Oh, the old fire-in-the-nursing-home-excuse. What about *my* estimate for a vacuuming job? What about the tumblefurs flying across my hardwood floors, clinging to the feet of my chairs, and sticking to my newly-moisturized face?
Robin lives in my neighborhood, so she says, “I’ll be home around six. Call me tonight and I’ll come over and give you an estimate for your vaccuuming.” She seems unfazed about having missed our 2pm date, and I wonder whether she would have even called me if I hadn’t called her first. That’s how it always is for me in relationships–I give, give, give and the other person takes, takes, takes. I curl up for a nap and rock myself to sleep through the tears.
At 7pm I wake up and call Robin. When her machine picks up I try to sound breezy, as if I don’t need her (more…)
Bad Onely Activities: Packing for My International Move August 22, 2011Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, solo travel.
Tags: cross-cultural communication, international adventure, Moving without much help, online research, packing alone, shipping boxes
It was a Saturday morning in August, and all my clothes, papers, and miscellaneous junk had been pulled out of my two closets; now they laid heaped in large piles across my living and bedroom floors. My dog stared at me nervously from one of the few remaining free squares of carpet. I was all alone, and I was ready to cry.
Such was the scene three weekend ago in my apartment in Louisville. My mission: finish packing all boxes for sea freight and plane luggage for the upcoming move to Beirut. I had already packed the easy stuff – eight boxes full of books. I had already sold most of my furniture, as well as my car. But tons of work remained. My final departure wasn’t for another month, but the boxes (19 in all) were to be picked up on Tuesday, and I had two domestic trips planned that would keep me away from home for three of the remaining four weeks.
On this particular Saturday, I needed to sort all unpacked items into four piles – one pile for trash or recycling; one pile for charity; one pile for the sea shipment; one pile for use over the next month – and then I needed to stuff everything for shipment or upcoming travel into the aforementioned boxes or bags. Later, I would somehow need to dispose of the hills of trash, recyclable papers, and donatable items. Did I mention I live three flights up and have no car?
I needed to focus, and I needed help. But I was alone, in spite of making it infinitely clear to my closest friends for the weeks prior that this weekend was not only my second-to-last in town, but that it was the final push for packing and I would need their help. After receiving no voluntary offers of help or inquiries about my need the week prior, I posted a desperate – and public – plea for help on my Facebook wall Friday morning. Still having heard nothing, and feeling totally ashamed, I sent an email Friday night, once again reaching out to the six or eight people whom I consider my closest friends here.
Finally, by Saturday morning a few friends had acknowledged my email. But no one could help me, and some ignored the message altogether. I felt overwhelmed, but more significantly, I felt abandoned. I have lived away from immediate family for many years and am pretty independent. Truthfully, I hate asking for help, but of course sometimes it’s necessary, and I have gotten pretty good about asking diplomatically and not taking “no” personally. But facing my mess alone that Saturday morning, I couldn’t help feeling hurt because I had assumed my friends would at least want to keep me company since our time was short.
Maybe I should never have hoped for help with such a personal task. Or perhaps it was too much to expect my friends to understand what it might feel like for me emotionally as I prepare to leave while they remain. Even worse, it’s possible my friends aren’t as close as I thought.
But given that every one of the friends I emailed has never before avoided me and seems to like me very much (!), I am tempted to speculate instead that they may have a hard time imagining what it feels like to move without the help and support “guaranteed” by a spouse or significant other. All the friends I emailed Friday night happen to be in coupled relationships. While I *need* my friends for practical support and consider them family, they don’t need me in quite the same way. If I want to go out to dinner with a companion, I don’t have a ready-to-go partner. If I forget something at the grocery store, I have to go back myself. Some have moved locally several times, and while I’ve helped with the physical move, they’ve never requested packing or logistical help. Plus, there’s a strong Midwestern mindset here: I have few uncoupled friends in Louisville, and fewer still who have experienced long periods of being single. Many are regional ‘insiders,’ having grown up in the South or the Midwest, with families who remain in the area. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I am a Midwesterner myself) – but I truly feel unusual in that I have been mostly uncoupled for the duration of my four years living here and have no family nearby. So perhaps I suffered that Saturday due to a lack of serious single-person empathy.
The good news is, I accomplished my task that Saturday and even enjoyed an hours’ worth of help Sunday morning from some of the same friends who left me alone Saturday. And I am damn proud of all I’ve done by myself. But I surely wouldn’t classify this as an enriching Onely experience!
Bad Onely Activities: Killer Bats February 23, 2011Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
Tags: bat in house, I'm bad at tagging posts, single living
Welcome to the latest installment in our series Bad Onely Activities, where we muse on those awkward moments when being single–or living alone–seems kind of tough. This week we wonder whether we should join Match.com: “Woman who loves laughs and walks on the beach seeks same, plus a bat wrangler.”
“EEeeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEE click.” My cat Alvin crouches on top of the kitchen buffet looking at something squeaky and flapping. Then the useless feline turns and runs. It’s midnight, and I’m alone and exhausted. I start to cry.
This is my fourth domestic bat. You’d think I’d be a bat-removal expert by now, but no. I have post-traumatic bat disorder.
The first bat trapped me in the bathroom for five minutes. I curled up on the tile floor, a sheet over my head and body, every now and then cracking open the door to see if the supersonic little bugger was gone. And each time he wasn’t. Whenever I peeked into the hall, a smear of swirling black air whooshed past my face, forcing me back under the sheet. (Lest you wonder how I so conveniently happened to have a sheet in the bathroom: I woke up to the bat flapping around in the canopy of my bed, so I dragged the sheet on top of me as I crawled to safety.)
I didn’t remove that bat from the house. Nor did I ever capture the other bat that one night swooped my face so closely I felt the air from its wings. I lost each one in my mess of bookcases and picture frames. I just had to hope they would escape by themselves, before dying and rotting, or before killing me.
The third bat appeared while my mom and uncle were alone in my house. They trapped it in a jar, like a firefly. I didn’t get those genes.
Which is why I’m shaking and whimpering as I stand on a chair peering over the top of the buffet at this brown furry lump, knowing it is about to charge me. Its wings of crinkled black leather can unfold to over three feet, and its mousy mouth hides fangs as long as my pinky. (I estimate here.) It will rush me, and I will fall off the chair and break my skull and lie on the floor for days until they find me, with the engorged bat still attached to my jugular.
I want nothing more than to go upstairs and get my seven-foot-tall boyfriend, the firebreathing one with hydaulic steel forearms. But I’m single and live alone. So I do the next best thing: I call my mom.
“Help help! I’m scared! Tell me how you managed to trap that bat before.”
And she says helpfully, “What bat?”
Seeing that my mom is as useless as my imaginary boyfriend, and also perhaps a little senile (who forgets trapping a bat?) I realize I have to get my Onely on. I must take matters into own hands–once I don my leather work gloves. And a fleece with the hood cinched around my cheeks and chin.
I arm myself with a racquetball racquet, mason jar, and a towel and climb back onto the chair. But my equipment is useless. The creature has cleverly wedged itself between some vases and the raised ledge of the buffet.
The bat jiggles its hips. “EEeeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEEEEEeeEEEeeee click EEEee,” it says, which if I remember my freshman Bat 101 correctly, means something like, “B&tch with the racquet, I’m going to rip out your throat and leave it to rot on your crummy linoleum.”
Point well made. I jump off the chair. What, I think, would my huge, fearless, imaginary boyfriend do when confronted with such a foe? Why of course–he would throw cat toys at it.
I toss some jingle balls. Ding ding ding EEEeeeeEEEclickEEEEeeee ding ding ding. The bat crawls down to the floor behind the buffet. I roll ping-pong balls to dislodge it, thinking that any moment the fiend will swoop me. Instead it waddles backwards into an open corner, where it just sits. I tiptoe forward, sniffling, holding the towel in one hand and a nine-volt flashlight in the other. My goal is to blind the bat into submission while I disable it under the towel.
With a wild scream I toss the towel at the corner, where it–damned areodynamics–parachutes down right next to, but not covering, the bat. EEEEeeeeEEE click EEeeEEEee click! Wailing, I grab the corner of the towel, back up, and throw again. Success. My hand shakes as I put the mason jar over the little lump of cloth and pull away the towel. I feel the cloth pulling at the bat’s body. Because it’s almost as if I’m touching the bat itself, I whimper.
Peering through the glass, I see the bat has a ripped wing. At first I feel sorry for it. Then I realize that only its injury stopped it from whooshing at me and clawing out my eyes. I start to whimper again.
I whimper more as I slide cardboard under the jar opening, and I whimper as I drag the jar and cardboard with my fingertips across the carpet to the porch door. I whimper as I lay down a spiral binder as a bridge to slide the jar over the threshold and into the wild.
Sure, that’s not how Bear Grylls would have dealt with the situation. (He would have grabbed the bat with his bare hand and popped it in his mouth.) But in my own wincing, mincing way, I got the job done.
Once again, I’m reminded that living alone is a great privilege, especially in this economy, but a privilege with a price. Am I independent and resourceful enough to deal with crises? Sure, if I’m allowed to whine.
Copious Readers, have you had Bad Onely interactions with wildlife? How dignified were you?
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
The Dangers of Living Alone July 18, 2010Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
Tags: awkward moments with contractors, living alone
Yeah yeah, all sorts of perils come with living alone: close encounters with burglars and choking on melba toast and slipping in the shower and being crushed by falling sofabeds (or maybe that last one’s just me). But the real danger I want to talk about is–accidentally peeing in front of strangers. Yes, it’s a hazard all you intrepid alone-dwellers need to know about. Or you do if you’re the kind of person who habitually pees with the bathroom door open because there’s no one around to see you.
How easy it is to drink too much soda water and then run to the bathroom and begin your autopilot pee routine, which involves pulling down your pants and sitting on the seat, but does not include shutting the door. How easy to forget that the plumber is upstairs working on your showerhead.
This happened to me the other day, and I only remembered I wasn’t alone when I heard his footsteps coming down the stairs towards the hallway where I sat on the pot in flagrante (I’m not sure what that means exactly, but how it sounds is how I felt). “Quick! Close the door!” you might have said, had I been the star of a wierd indie film and you an audience member. Ah, easier said than done.
Whenever I do try to close the door, the thick turquoise towel under the kitty litter box wedges the door halfway open. From my perch I could see the plumber’s thighs, then his torso, thumping downwards next to the bannister. Like in any good Bourne or Bruce Willis film (I’m scrapping the indie metaphor), I had about two seconds to make a crucial decision before the plumber’s head came into view and he turned towards the hallway–should I try to unwedge the towel and close the door, or should I yank my pants up?
I chose to unwedge. Copious Readers, what would you have done? I know you think you probably would not have been so silly (or, to take Freudian stab at it, so unconsciously exhibitionist?) to have left the door open in the first place. But I still felt it my duty to warn you.
Photo credit: Flying Pig Beach Hostel
Bad Onely Activities: Killer Chairs June 14, 2010Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
Tags: asking friends for help, moving furniture, single living
Although here at Onely we enjoy being single, sometimes we write about ill-considered or unfortunate activities that remind us that being coupled (or at least, living with someone) does have some advantages. Are these Bad Onely Activities bad enough that we should change our single status in order to avoid them? Read the following example and decide.
I felt sick one recent Friday night, and as I often do when I feel sick, I get an urge to move furniture. (Maybe it’s an attempt to reset my qi by altering the feng-shui of my house.) On the evening in question I decided that The Chair needed to go downstairs, STAT. I was having a gas fireplace installed in the basement and needed somewhere to sit and cozy up in front of the flames. Note that the fireplace was only partially installed at the time, and not even close to functional. But that The Chair needed to be downstairs now, tonight, in mere anticipation of the day when the fireplace would be complete and I could curl up in front of it.
The Chair had upholstery the consistency of old rec room carpet. A series of cats had clawed down the armrests so that bare wood showed through in spots. It was wide but still narrower than the staircase it needed to travel down. It was also very, very heavy.
At about 8:30 pm I dragged the chair to the top of the staircase. I intended a controlled push down the carpeted stairs. Slowly I shoved the chair down one step, then two, then three. Then the sofa bed inside unfolded.
Sofa bed? No one had slept on that sofa bed since my grandfather, and he’d been dead for thirty years. I forgot there was a sofa bed. (more…)
The Promised Butt-Post March 18, 2010Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: bicillin shot, butt injection, single medical care
Yay, it’s so good to be writing again! I have missed Onely and our little blogger community! In my last post I promised to write about butts, and now I am. But I have to be careful how I tag this post, in order to avoid creating the kind of accidental pornography that has warped our Most Popular Posts lists, for example: “Hard Core Oneler: Dick Proenneke” and “Animal Sex.”
But this post isn’t about sexy airbrushed porn butts. It’s about my butt, and no amount of airbrushing will get the lumps out of these cheeks. Why? Because my butt has been getting shots of antibiotics. Thick cold serum. From needles the size of cocktail straws. Administered slow as molasses to mitigate the pain of pressurized tissues. Every third day. But the problem is (no, we still haven’t gotten to the problem yet) I cannot give these shots to myself, and sometimes the third day falls on a weekend when the doctor’s office is closed.
Before beginning the treatment, my doctor asked me, “Do you have a friend you can ask to give you the shots?” My question to you, Copious Readers, is do you have a friend whom you could ask to give you shots in the butt? Because my answer to the doctor was, “Hell no I don’t have any friend I can ask to give me a shot in the butt!“
I’m not sure whether I meant, “Hell no; I’m not close enough to any of my friends for that”, or “Hell no, I love my friends but wouldn’t trust them not to sever a nerve or burst an artery”, or “Hell no, I’m not showing my stretch marks to anyone who hasn’t had Gross Anatomy 101″. But in any case, the result was the same: I had to scrounge around to figure out how to get my weekend shots.
“Sometimes,” said the doctor’s office manager Maura (short for Mauron), “Our patients who don’t have anyone can find an Urgent Care facility that will administer the shot for them.” Oh no, I thought, I don’t have anyone.
If I had a significant other, I would be expected to ask him to give me the shot, and he would be expected to give it. Gladly. With no embarrassment or hem-hawing. Regardless of how solid, or not solid, the relationship might be in daily life. But in any other relationship the request “Please can you stick this needle in my heinie?” would be fraught with overtones–do I expect my friend to come to my house? Do I go to their house? Do they feel comfortable punching a needle through my skin and tissue? Seeing my stretch marks? My stretched-out undies? No, no, no, no, and no.
Turns out, my mom came to visit and administered my first weekend injection, making sure to stab me right where I’d asked the doctor to draw with a sharpie: X marks the spot and, subsequently, the golfball-sized lump of liquid and tissue. Moms are on tap for dirty work even more than significant others. But my mom returned to Michigan and I, because I don’t have anyone, found an Urgent Care facility to give me my other weekend shots. Problem solved? Well, mostly, except every now and then I worry who I will call if I fall and break my face.
Still, despite the occasional inconvenience, I like being single. I’m not going to cultivate a relationship just so I can have a shot buddy, just as I won’t install a sprinkler system on the off chance that my house will catch fire. Or something.
photo credit: Steven Depolo