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Happy Unmarried and Single Americans Week! (Creepy Census Edition) September 27, 2014

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, single and happy.
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September 21-27 is Unmarried and Single Americans Week.

Yay, rah rah, gooooo Singles!

So we here at Onely figured we had to make sure to get *some* sort of post up by the 27th, otherwise what kind of singles’ blog would we be? Got to post. . . got to post. . . got to post. . . got to post. . . But post what?

Well, we could join the rest of the mass media, which have been reporting like mad on the fact that single people now make up more than fifty percent of the U.S. population. Again:

Yay, rah rah, gooooo Singles!

Our cheerleading feels a little icky, though, when we think too hard about how the U.S. Census arrived at this figure: They included 15- and 16-year-olds in their definition of “unmarried adults”. Um, ew. I imagine a high school sophomore opening her front door for a census worker who asks, “Hey there, little lady, are you married? No? Seeing anyone? Free for dinner, perhaps?” No no, I joke too harshly. Census workers have a hard job and they do it well–at least in this case, where they were able to give us beautiful figures such as this one: 44 percent of the adult population is unmarried. That’s 105 million people.

In case you’re one of the few readers of this blog who’s thinking, “So the hell what?”, here’s what:

The U.S. government discriminates against every one of those 105 million people. We talk about this injustice all the time on this blog, so we won’t go all Singles’ Soapbox on you this time, but I did want to tell just one story that shows how unmarried people get the sharp end of the stick and, by extension, illustrates why we need a special week to draw attention to how single people are simultaneously both awesome and screwed.

I got this story, like all good stories, from a fit of eavesdropping. I couldn’t help it–my coworker several cubes over has a loud voice. No, to be honest, I just have very good ears. Anyway, there once was a thirty-something coworker of mine who had a sister who had a husband. Now, this husband was not a nice man. In fact, to use the words of the coworker, he was an A$$hole. His wife didn’t like him. In fact, she hated him. She was going to divorce him.

But before she could, the husband died. Unfortunately, I couldn’t overhear from my coworker exactly how he died. Perhaps he accidentally got stuck in the trunk of a car rolling into a large deep pond. No matter. He was dead, and his wife was, if not happy, then not exactly snorting teary snot into her Kleenex either. But her not-unhappiness quickly changed to full-on happiness when she realized that she would now be able to quit her job!

Yay, rah, rah, gooooo Social Security!

My coworker’s sister is now living on the $3,000 per month social security checks the government gives her for having been married to an A$$hole she was planning to divorce anyway. Now, I don’t know how long they were married. Some people might say she deserves the money for having put up with him for–for how long? One year? Ten? I don’t know, and here’s the point: to the government, it doesn’t matter.

Well, it matters to me.

I’m not saying $3,000 per month is a mungo huge bunch of money. But it’s not pigeon feed either, especially if it can allow this woman to quit her job and lounge around at home (although my guess is she doesn’t live in the D.C. area, which I unfortunately could not confirm via my eavesdropping).

I’ve been putting up with all sorts of A$$holes every day, such as: my neighbor who lets her unspayed cats roam the streets yowling and birthing little, skinny, suffering kittens; my coworkers who spend hours talking top-volume about chickens, Tourette’s Syndrome, the Kardashians, and the Redskins; and my boss who joins in with them (seriously). I even lived for one year with a woman who told me she double-bagged the cat poop because the CVS bags sometimes had holes in them, and then she asked me in all seriousness “Do you know what I mean?” So I’ve had my share of A$$holes in my life, but the government isn’t giving me a monthly check–because I never married any of them. Poor planning on my part. Maybe I should show a little more cleavage at work and learn the name of the Redskins’ main pitcher.

–Christina

 

Single, Sick, and Shy About Asking For Help? Do a Worksheet. May 19, 2014

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Just Saying., Reviews, Single with chronic illness.
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4 comments

Copious Readers, as you can see from recent posts, Onely’s new Thing is writing about singles with chronic illness. Our goal is to encourage a wider dialog on this topic. This is especially important in light of the fact that unmarried people are already legally discriminated against in many ways. And then a chronic illness necessitates dealing with additional heartless bureaucracy, especially the parts that already favor married people–most notably health and disability insurance and Social Security. Single and sick: potentially a double downer, at least as far as life logistics go. (Although sometimes it’s easier to be single and sick, or at least to live alone and be sick–we will write about this in a later post).


helpOnely has been in touch with a number of bloggers and writers who are also interested in what happens to unmarried sufferers of chronic illness (and we hope that more interested parties will contact us, please!). Today, though, I wanted to flag one particular interesting resource for any socially or legally single folks out there who are constantly sick.

It’s sometimes hard to ask for help from people who are not in your immediate/nuclear family, because our society tends to teach that it’s ok to ask parents, children, or a spouse--especially a spouse–for all sorts of care and assistance–even the ongoing care and assistance often required by a chronic illness.  So single people without that specific support system may feel odd or uneasy about asking their own, unique support systems and loved ones for help, even though those people would probably be happy to assist.

Beth O’Donnell at Single and the Sweet Side of 40 has created some workbook charts, called HELP THEM TO HELP YOU, that assist you with wrapping your mind around certain important issues and decisions in your life. The Chronic Illness workbook is not out yet (we’ll let you know as soon as it is!), but two of the other workbooks actually provide guidance and insight that could very relevant to a single person dealing with an unrelentingly irritable body.
In order to get the workbooks, visit SSS40’s support page and opt in to the email list, or contact O’Donnell via her site. The two Help Them Help You guides most relevant to chronic illness are: The Broken Heart Edition and The Heavy Lifting Edition.

First, The Broken Heart Edition: The phrase “broken heart” usually appears in the context of a separation from or loss of a loved one. But the loss of your body as you once knew it can also break your heart. You might need as much moral support as if you had gone through a terrible breakup. And as helpful as hugs and phone calls are, O’Donnell points out that “Moral support is great, but if you really want to help, clean my house.” (Or, in my case, “If you really want to help, go to my office and. . . well, do my work.”)
Don’t worry about sounding demanding–remember, people want to help, and the housecleaning and other suggestions are couched in the form of a whimsical “TLC for Me” letter. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, but effective, guide for writing a letter about how someone could care for you. Sort of the way you’d leave a note for your petsitter. Except funnier.

As a cat owner, my personal favorite is:

The vacuum is _____________________on the___________________floor.

As someone whose body seems to hate her, my personal favorites are:

The odor in the house is most likely:
a) dead food
b) dead mouse
c) me
d) ___________

I’ll take a shower when:
a) water doesn’t hurt
b) my hair is so dirty it can be sculpted
c) I get out of bed
d) ___________

I’ll get out of bed:
a) when I wake up
b) for five minutes, to walk the dog
c) tomorrow
d) __________

 

Second, The Heavy Lifting Edition:

Frustratingly, if you have a chronic illness, common household chores like changing a high lightbulb or hanging a mirror or patching the hole you’ve kicked in the drywall may seem as elaborate and energetic as setting up base camp. O’Donnell describes “any seemingly simple household task requiring another set of hands, legs, or eyes” as “heavy lifting”.  She points out that if you need help, all you have to do is Ask–but sometimes, Asking isn’t simple. We can be shy about asking for help. We might exhaust (pun accidental) all other options, and sometimes drop the mirror on our head, before asking for help.
How to feel better about requesting assistance with some task that you can’t accomplish on your own? Remember that people *do* like to help. Most notable for those of us who hesitate to ask for help, the worksheet contains a list of suggestions for “Helping the Impromptu Helper” which might help you feel less uneasy about “imposing” on him or her. For example: If the helper seems to want to leave, make sure they leave, even if the job isn’t finished; provide assistance within reason; offer drinks and snacks; etc.
There are also guidelines/options to make an “Enlisted Helper” more comfortable and, by extension, make you more comfortable. For example: work within their schedule; defer to their expertise (except in matters of taste); pay them with money or wine or food or a review on Yelp or whatever; provide supplies and have the work area prepared as possible; etc.
Much of this is self-evident, but it helps to have everything written down in worksheets, especially if your mind is muddled from pain or exhaustion or too many mochas.
–Christina

Photo credit: saiyanzrepublik

Nothing To Do With Being Single: The Spectre and the Sickness March 27, 2014

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Your Responses Requested!.
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1 comment so far

Copious Readers, welcome to our very first post that has nothing to do with being single! We have written over 400 posts so far and each and every one has directly pertained to some aspect of being single, either socially or legally (or both). Not today! 

41cmjVXhQCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I wrote an all-true essay about ghosthunting and Lyme Disease called The Spectre and the Sickness, and I put it up on Kindle Direct Publishing. For only a dollar, you can find out how paranormal investigations and Lyme disease are very much alike. Please check it out. Any feedback is welcome.

Anyone can write something and put it on Kindle Direct Publishing, and I highly recommend you do. Trust me, it’s worth all the trouble of wordsmithing–if only because the Kindle program for making your own cover art is so damn fun.

So do it–write about social or legal discrimination against single people! Write about silly things non-single (or unenlightened singles) have said to you about your single status! Write about being single with a chronic illness (our current favorite topic here at Onely)!

Oops, I guess I have turned this post into one about marital status after all. Quick, undo undo: Write about kittens! Write about hot air balloons! Write about the crisis in Ukraine! Write about intestinal polyps! (A topic we, too, will address soon in an upcoming post–and don’t worry, by then we will be back to writing about singleness again.)

–Christina

Sillybacy: The Funnier Side of The No-Sex Oath January 10, 2014

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, We like. . ..
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4754863837_97f5417ffe_oAs our Copious Readers at Onely know, some single people have lots of sex, some have (ahem) rather middling amounts, and some have no sex at all. What? None?

For unmarried or uncoupled people who want sex but aren’t having any, this seems like quite the problem. But many people actually choose or swear to be celibate–maybe for a pre-determined period, maybe permanently, or maybe for an indeterminate amount of time after (ahem) a particularly bad first date, involving an argument about ice cream in a public parking lot and also (don’t ask) beansprouts.

But despite all these different kinds of celibacy, when most people hear “celibacy”, our knee-jerk reaction is,

Difficult. Extreme. Embarrassing to discuss, especially with the perpetrator.

So I am pleased to flag for you this tongue-in-cheek list on the blog of a Catholic priest friend of mine, which explains why being celibate isn’t so celibad* after all. (more…)

Guest Post: A Take on How to Be Single and Happy December 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers.
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4 comments
 Copious Readers, remember that we always like guest posts expressing different writers’ feelings on being single and happy (or not). Here is one from Veronica Hayes. We welcome comments!
–Christina and Lisa
 
How To Be Single And Happy
The title of this article is how to “be” happy, not stay happy. So what you will read is about the present – the here and now. It’s about looking around and realizing you have made a sane and conscious decision to be single at this point in your life. Today is not forever….which means you’ll be able to change your mind. People do it all the time – men and women, young and old. If there’s one constant in life, it’s change.Stay Active

Being single and happy means taking advantage of the fact that your primary responsibility is to yourself. It also means that your time is to yours to do with as you choose, so choose wisely. Sitting around the house playing video games, going online, or watching TV are all options. A great option for most people is to get up and out on a regular basis and mingle with other single people. Join a gym club, find local social events, or get involved with sports teams – professional or local. Staying active will keep you from wondering what to do with all the free time you have available to you.

Maximize Your Surroundings
Since you live alone, there is no one else to consider when choosing the type of sound system, size of the big screen TV, or how comfortable the chairs should be. There is no one else’s mess to clean up, so you take care of yourself. Take advantage of this and create the type of single person environment that makes a statement about you and being single. I once lived in an apartment that had a massive living room which I turned into an entertainment room, complete with big screen TV, surround sound stereo, and uber-comfortable furniture for lounging. I didn’t worry about someone rearranging things or telling me to turn the volume down.

Be Real! (more…)

Those Family Stickers on Cars August 20, 2013

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, STFU.
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6 comments

8143655393_58d23e3ce0_oThey are really disturbing, and if you live in North America, you know them. You see them all over.  You may even have some yourself! Those stick-figure-esque stickers showing the white outlines of people in the simplest breakdown possible: Man, woman, boy, girl. People put them on the back windows of their cars to show who is in their family. Oh, you also get dogs and cats and the occasional little baby. Some of the people carry things that represent their fun hobbies: Lacrosse stick! Guitar! Staple Gun! (Well, maybe not that last one.)  You may be thinking, SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM, GRUMPY ONELY?

The man is always bigger than the woman who is bigger than the children. That last part makes sense. But the first part has the potential for trouble. And trouble there is! 99.9 percent of the sticker families are ordered left to right–as is our written language in this part of the world–and so people (I hope without thinking) in an attempt at aesthetics smack on those stickers on biggest to smallest. So the father is always, always on the left, and hence, first.  And the woman second.

Ignoring for the moment that these sticker collections are almost always nuclear-focused, let’s look at that father on the left. First. Taller. ALWAYS. I don’t think I have ever seen them ordered Mother, Father, Children. Ever. And I have seen a looooot of them. These stickers give me the chills because of their father-as-head-of-household mentality. Maybe not on purpose, and maybe that wasn’t the intention of the company who makes them, but customers are still slave to the big-to-small aesthetic and hence stick father-then-mother, perpetuating a dynamic that I thought was supposed to be dying out in the 1960s!

But don’t worry! A few lone independent thinkers are fighting back!

Somewhere in Colorado between Denver and Boulder, I saw a black car in front of me with the family stickers. They were on the bumper instead of the window. And they had been, shall we say, rearranged. As this is a family blog (Hey, singles blogs can be family blogs too! Right?), I won’t go in to details, just to say that one scene had a girl (you could tell by the feathered hair and triangle skirt) throwing a baby’s head to her brother (you could tell by the boxy shorts).

If familystickers.com isn’t careful, more people might start manipulating their product into even more controversial displays, such as. . . Two Men and a girl with the girl on the left! (I’ve never seen this one; I’ve never even seen two men), or One Woman and Seven Cats (this would be mine) (hey, I’m counting my feral colony, ok!?).

Copious Readers, do any of you have FamilyStickers on your car? In what configuration?

—Christina

Photo Credit: Theo Junior

Talking Back to Dr. Phil, Part 4–The Dr. David Bedrick Interview August 2, 2013

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Everyday Happenings, Guest Posts, Interviews.
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Bedrick, David. Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013).

Copious Readers, welcome to our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. David Bedrick, who proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

Today’s Topic:  What makes you think I want to be more like you?

Onely: You say we need to protect marginalized people and forms of expression being seen as “problems” (xxv) and that such allopathic thinking, prevents us from seeing chances for individual growth–and thereby social growth (5).

How do you think society might benefit by attempting to eliminate marital status discrimination? Would such an effort stabilize or destabilize us?


Bedrick: Great question! This is an interesting debate in the GLBT community where many are fighting of the right to be legally married while a smaller minority does not see this as the best direction because it presupposes that being more like “them” is a better way to be.

I think it was James Baldwin, a black gay man, who said something like “what makes you think that I want to be more like you?” There is a powerful assumption that people want the right to be like those who enjoy the most social privilege, however individuals and society suffer from marginalizing our diversity when actually what they want is the fair distribution of privilege- from affirmation and fair witness to legal rights.

Certainly if this discrimination were lessened, people would be more free to not hold partnering/marrying as central to their esteem and life goals freeing them to express their gifts in ways more suitable to their authentic selves. In addition, as I suggested above, even people who are partnered would enjoy greater inner support for their independent dreams.

Lastly, let me express my appreciation for your work. Your questions, vision, and focus have required me to reflect more on the issues you raise, making me more conscious, a better ally, and a better counselor.

Onely: Thanks so much for taking time to talk with us. Feel free to contact us in the future with any other thoughts or ideas about applying the principles of love-based psychology to Oneliness!

***

Copious Readers, please find the previous parts of this interview right below this one!

–Christina

Singles Strike Back: #UnmarriedEquality April 16, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings.
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As described in our previous post, the Communications League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE) is creating Media Saturation Mania around the topical issue of Marital Status Discrimination. Single people, have you encountered laws or practices that discriminate you based on your marital status? Then join us in writing your own stories on your own blogs, or wherever you write!  (Married people are welcome to share their own stories of discrimination too!)

All these bloggers hit the cyberstreets protesting Marital Status Discrimination in their own words. Join us and them! #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest. The following bloggers did:

(more…)

Do You Have a Best Friend at Work? March 11, 2013

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
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4 comments

Matt_George_and_Best_Friend_Rob_HepplerEveryone in my office had to fill out some HR office morale assessment questionnaire. I know, I feel your fear of the letters “HR”. But in this case our HR department was working to (ostensibly)  improve morale and alleviate any antagonism. Now, I *love* surveys–I love people asking me what I think!–but one particular question stumped me:

Do you have a best friend at work?

Huh. (more…)

You Choose: Best New Relationship Signifier of the 21st Century! December 17, 2012

Posted by Onely in Dating, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: , ,
2 comments

DSC01397.edit-thumbMany single people date. They date in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s. In a previous post we declared that the words boyfriend and girlfriend sound stupid when applied to people over the age of oh, say, ten. For example, stick a little gender neutrality in there and look what we’ve got:

Thanks so much for inviting me to your cocktail party, Jane, but I’ll have to pass because I’ll be in Aruba with my childfriend.

Cheers to reader Terry T for pointing out that icky yet accurate rhetorical twist. Onely’s boyfriend/girlfriend post also got other great responses (thanks to Lola for companion, my favorite because it works for people *and* cats) from people who felt passionate about this troubling gap in the English language–and, in fact, in languages around the world (thanks to Beth ODonnell for beau and paramour). So now we here at Onely are asking our Copious Readers to choose The Best New Relationship Signifier of the 21st Century!

What term should we use to describe that person (or persons) with whom we have a unique, committed combined emotional, sexual, and (perhaps) financial relationship outside of marriage? Because of the complicated, multi-adjectival nature of these relationships, you might be tempted to use an acronym (mine above turns out to be UCCESPFROOM). But instead please consider words that are easily translated. This will allow for maximum scalability around the globe (hey, we here at Onely like to aim high!)

And please remember, we are looking for relationship signifiers versus terms of endearment. = )

Thanks everyone!

–Christina

Photo credit: Rude Cactus (here or here)

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