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We’re BACK! (With one little quote) July 25, 2014

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., We like. . ..
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1 comment so far

Beloved Copious Readers,

We’ve missed you! Many of you blog yourselves, so you know how sometimes life has a way of rudely inserting itself between your fingers and the keyboard.

For now, we’d like to offer you just a tidbit of Singles-Power to carry with you during dry spells when Onely or the other singles’ advocacy blogs you may follow (or write!) are not posting regularly. We’d like to present you with a pithy quote to tide you over during those dark days when it seems as if everyone around you is taking for granted that married people ought to be favored over unmarried people.

But first, some background: Many of you know that we here at Onely believe the institution of marriage is over-privileged. Married people receive too many rights at the expense of unmarried people. It’s discrimination that no one sees.

The playing field needs to be evened out. Tax professionals, legal experts, lawmakers, business owners and others with expertise in social planning need to start rethinking how to behave towards marriage. They need to start figuring out how to untangle marriage from random rights, such as–to name just one of over a thousand examples in the U.S. federal code alone–the right to set up an IRA for their spouse (single people usually can’t help anyone out by setting up an IRA for them, except maybe dependents).

Our power-brokers need to help facilitate these readjustments, but they won’t–because they don’t see a problem or disparity.

When Lisa and I wrote an article about the financial aspects of this discrimination for Atlantic.com, some people opened their eyes and said, “Wow, that’s a really good point!” But go look at the comments section.  Many other readers opened their eyes and said, “Wow, we hate you!” (Meaning: “You messed with our entrenched world view!”)

One of our more subtle haters was a “tax professional” who sent us at least two multi-page emails calculating and re-calculating the “reasons” married people get more screwed by the IRS than single people. Even though we politely explained that our Atlantic story was representative and accurate, if not comprehensive, and even though we explained that we had consulted our own tax professional, she kept insisting that it’s the singles, not the marrieds, who win out in the end.

People, it’s not a contest–it’s a problem.

We were surprised that Atlantic.com produced so many haters, because we had assumed their readership would include exactly the smart, liberal demographic you’d imagine would go for the kind of massive paradigm shift required to end discrimination of any sort–including marital status discrimination.

But no, not necessarily. (We had the same problem at Change.org–this very liberal site barfed up more than one hater when I wrote about marital status discrimination for my women’s right column.)

But anyway, as we started to say in the beginning before we got distracted by our multi-paragraph “Background” extravaganza, we’d like to offer you a relevant quote we hope you will carry with you until the next time we post and you honor us with your readership:

THERE ARE SOME IDEAS SO WRONG ONLY A VERY INTELLIGENT PERSON COULD BELIEVE IN THEM.

–Quote by George Orwell

–All other blatherings by Christina

 

How Many Showers Per Pregnancy? June 13, 2014

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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3 comments

Question: Is it ok to have two baby showers for the same baby? Or is it taking a double opportunity to get free stuff

pregnant-163611_640A friend of mine had a shower in her hometown in West Virginia, and she will have a shower a month later in her current home in Maryland. I will be attending the Maryland event.

Usually here at Onely we focus on singles’ advocacy and marriage privilege, not babies, and not baby showers. This is because baby showers do not discriminate against single people. Both married and single people have babies, and therefore, both married and single people usually get baby showers (at least in the U.S.–this doesn’t happen in every country). So when we here at Onely freak out about showers, we’re usually talking (or sniping) about wedding showers. For wedding showers, there is no singles’ equivalent, even though unmarried people too may have significant events in their lives that perhaps require crystal bowls, dish towels, or friend-financed trips to Tahiti.

However, singlism (pithy word defined by Dr. Bella dePaulo, meaning discrimination against singles) is tied to childfreeism (stupid-sounding word defined just now by me, meaning discrimination against people without kids) because unfortunately our society still largely normalizes the marriage-children trope. Therefore, in this post we will talk about baby showers.

There is no baby shower equivalent for childfree/childless people. Like singles, they can’t throw a party for a big life event–such as their dog recovering from major heart surgery, or them raising 5,403 dollars by running a marathon for a starving children’s charity (there’s irony for you)–and expect to receive tribute from their friends and family, without very likely being whispered about: Wow, can you believe how selfish she is? How greedy! Shocking. I’m going to come up with some excuse not to go.

Because I am terrible about coming up with excuses not to go places (Oh, too bad, that was the day I was going to shampoo the curtains), I will be attending the baby shower.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ogre–I often like to give a friend a congratulatory gift–but I just don’t want to be forced to do so by some discriminatory and presumptuous social custom.  The host of the shower told me flat out, “If you are getting clothing, get something larger than newborn because babies in our family have weighed a lot at birth”.  Roger that.

Hopefully there will not be too many outfits, because all the requisite cooing and aww-ing over teddy, duck, and “Mommy’s Little Girl” patterns gives me a throatache. My plan is to get something for my friend to use personally because I’ve heard that often the mother, buried under a pile of strollers and footie pajamas, neglects to pamper herself. But then I’ll feel guilty about not buying something for the baby, so I’ll do that too.

Copious readers, any thoughts? Things to consider: Twins. Second pregnancies. Recent relocations.

–Christina

Photo credit: Pixabay

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

Singles (and Seduction?) on Sailboats February 25, 2014

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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3 comments

Copious Readers,

It’s been a long time since our last post. Sorry if anyone missed us. (We hope someone missed us.) But never fear, even though we weren’t posting, we constantly had our eyes peeled for examples of marital status discrimination against singles. There are examples all over the news (thank you, Google feed), but we prefer to write about incidents we personally experienced. And our favorite kind of personal vignette is when the marital status discrimination is reversed–when married people experience a little bit of what singles live with every day. Mean but true. 

water-14687_640You may or may not know my stance on singles’ groups. I personally find them kind of icky (I explained why here) but some people like them, so whatever. My friend Kisha is part of a beautifully-alliterated group, Singles on Sailboats (that also happens to have the unfortunate acronym SOS). But here’s the thing–Kisha is in a relationship. She’s not single.

So what’s she doing in a singles sailing club? Does this mean that Kisha is stepping out on her  current man Dean and scanning the sailboats for a smarter, richer, tauter, funnier version of Dean?

Well, no.

First, because Dean owns the boat. You can be single as George Clooney, but you can’t be in SOS unless you have a boat (which is a dumb example, because of course George Clooney has a boat). Second, SOS allows couples like Kisha and Dean to join. Because they are not married.

Did you get that? Unmarried couples ok, married couples not ok. Perhaps SOS thinks that until a couple signs that piece of paper–until they become legally coupled as opposed to merely socially coupled–SOS should not deprive them of the chance that, while attending a SOS function, one of the unmarried pair might find, well, a smarter, richer, tauter, funnier version of Dean.

I would go to SOS myself and try to seduce some socially-but-not-legally coupled men, just to test this theory, except I don’t have a boat. Or any seduction experience or equipment.

I heard about the marital discrimination information straight from Kisha. “We’re trying to get them to allow married couples,” she said, and more power to her. Maybe if they add married couples they can become People on Sailboats, which sounds kind of stupid but at least they’d lose that unlucky SOS acronym.

(Full disclosure: The SOS website, technically you can be married in the club, but you must have joined as a single person. Which pretty much amounts to the same thing I’ve been yapping about above.)

All that said, here are the people that SOS does welcome unconditionally:

single members with all levels of sailing experience, from novice sailors to seasoned skippers. . . all single persons twenty-one years of age or older, regardless of race, color, creed, sex or national origins

Which just shows how discriminatory singlism (or, in this case, marriedism) is ingrained in our society. The club has no qualms about making policy based on marital status, but they go out of their way to advertise their lack of racism, colorism, creedism, sexism, or national originsism.

Until they fix their marital status discrimination, they cannot legitimately say, as they do on their website, SOS is a sailing club, not a dating club.”

Copious Readers, can you think of better acronyms for this club, either reflecting their current status as a dating club, or their future status as a non-singlist, non-marriedist club for everyone?

–Christina

Photo credit: Pixabay, Public Domain

I Spent Christmas Alone December 26, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, I want to..., Some Like It Single.
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4 comments

4156759926_26aa1c1c16_oActually, that title is not true. It was Thanksgiving that I spent alone, and which I wanted to post about several weeks ago. But I never got around  to writing the piece until just now, so I tweaked the title just to make this post more timely.

I didn’t have to spend Thanksgiving alone. I could have joined some friends or my family. But I wanted to be alone during the entire Thanksgiving weekend, and be thankful for my aloneness. But would it work? Could it be done?

Answer: Kinda.

My plan: On Thursday morning, I would drive twenty minutes to Bull Run Park, where I would spend three nights camping in a Rustic Cabin, writing my Adequate American Novel and snacking (not necessarily in that order).

There would be no WiFi.  I had long believed that if I could simply get away from the Internet, I would finish my book in a weekend, easy.

The nice woman on the phone at the park swore my computer would not pick up one single quiver of WiFi. “No Internet,” she said, “But there is heat, a microwave, mini fridge, futon, table, chairs, queen bed, and bunk beds.” This all seemed a bit luxurious for a writing retreat in the deep woods. But perhaps I’d get lucky and the heat would fail, and I would have to continue typing in fingerless gloves with a scarf around my neck, hunched over my keyboard, as boundless creativity flowed from my stiff white fingertips, the way I’d always imagined–correctly or incorrectly–Henry David Thoreau did when he went to Walden Pond.

Now it’s true that Thoreau did not have a down comforter, plus a down-filled bomber jacket, plus a calf-length down coat (not meant to wear over the bomber jacket, but I wore it over the bomber jacket).* Nor a frozen Trader Joe’s spinach pie (Thanksgiving dinner) and a bag of organic pears and nutmix. But nonetheless the words he used to explain his famous explanation for his retreat kept playing over and over in my head. I remembered them from the movie Dead Poets Society.  Or thought I did. (I did not and will not Google them to make sure I get them right.) This is what I kept hearing as I shuffled around my little cabin, from computer to refrigerator and back again: (more…)

Single and Sick: Nika Beamon Takes It On December 12, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Marital Status Discrimination.
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1 comment so far

Copious Readers,

We at Onely are trying to write more about the issues of being single and sick (health insurance inequalities being one of the main bullsh!t factors creating a more difficult situation for singles with chronic illnesses).

So we were thrilled to see that Bella dePaulo, longtime singles advocate and social scientist, posted a guest article by Nika Beamon about dating and living with a chronic immune disorder.

Read it here.

We also tweeted it, so we request you retweet so that we can get the dialog going!

–CC

 

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…)

Single and Sickness–The Personal Side November 16, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource.
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1 comment so far

Copious Readers, please don’t forget that we always love to hear from your and encourage guest posts from all our readers (even those who disagree with some of our content). Lately we are trying to explore the issue of singles and sickness.

Today’s contributor is Yolanda, a longtime supporter of Onely and the driving force behind the active and supportive Footloose Femails email group and the new Facebook group Happily Single Women’s Group. She also happens to have many medical problems including chronic pain, chronic fatigue and chronic hunger and thirst 24/7   but she doesn’t let those physical challenges define her. In fact, sometimes she laughs in their faces:

Invisible_Man_by_NogarKhazI’ve got a new boyfriend!! I’ve known him all my life, but we’ve gotten really close since I got sick 16 years ago.

His name is Will Power.

But I heard that he’s got a lot of other women “on the side”, so I’m sure that he’s seeing a lot of YOU out there too.  I don’t know how he does it!!!

I might be unmarried but I honestly believe that Will Power will be someone I’m going to spend a lot of time with!!  He’s probably going to be almost like a husband – sticking with me through thick and thin, in good times and bad. Hopefully he’ll never desert me.

Yolanda

P.S.  After a few hours I’m actually thinking of ditching him!!

He abandoned me as soon as the going got tough. When I was feeling sick & tired he just ran away into another room. And that’s when I needed him most!! Oh well, “in good times and bad times”. Hopefully he won’t abandon me too often!!

Maybe when you’re asked, you can say you have a boyfriend called Will Power too? Saves you having to justify being single.

Thanks, Yolanda, for sharing your thoughts from your unique perspective. I hope one day Will Power will cheat on you with me. (No offense.)  –Christina

Photo credit: NogarKhaz

Shared History: What’s it Worth? Who With? October 8, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought.
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6 comments

DSCN2222Copious Readers, is it worth it to hang on to a “meh” or “blech” relationship (romantic, platonic, or hairstylist) because–and only because–you’ve been together a long time and shared many experiences? Let me tell you two parables. Then consider who you share history or histories with, and what they mean to you, and whether you should continue, end, or try to reinvigorate those relationships.

(1) My friend Beulah was peacefully shopping in Target in Boulder, Colorado when she rounded the corner of the Hair Notions aisle and ran smack into. . . AAAHHHHHHHH! Her best friend’s mother!

Now, many of you Copious Readers may wonder, what is so inherently frightening about one’s best friend’s mother? (Mother-in-law jokes aside.) Well, Beulah of course loves her best friend, Shawna, but Beulah has repeatedly told me, “You couldn’t pay me enough to be part of that family.” I never really understood why, until she told me this story.

Shawna’s mother, Monique, is a wiry woman with an intense face where her cheekbones make arrowheads up to her huge eyes. Right now she stared down Beulah waiting, just waiting, for a chance to ask her The Question. And as Beulah held her breath, there it came:

So, are you seeing anyone?

Beulah said, “No, I’m sort taking it easy on the dating scene, enjoying being by myself for a while, you know.”

Monique said, “Oh, no, you can’t think like that.”

“Huh?” said Beulah, with her face if not her voice. Monique continued.

Don’t you want to find someone you can have a shared history with?

Jim (Monique’s husband) and Monique had travelled the world with USAID–they did indeed have a long shared history. (Subsequently Beulah and Shawna had a shared history, cultivated when they met in Nepal. But Monique wasn’t thinking of that.) She told Beulah, “And all the time we (her family) are hoping for you’ll find someone,that you’ll find someone you can have a shared history with. Like me and Jim.”

After that, Beulah went back to the frozen foods section to pick up a pint of Ben&Jerry’s-Double-Fudge-Super-Rum-Bourbon-Xtacy. Can you blame her? On the phone later she told me, “Monique and Jim snip at each other all the time. The tension in that house is like rubber bands all over the couches, curtains, everything. I’d rather not have a “shared history” than have a history like that.”

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks things through like Beulah. Which leads us in to Parable 2:

(2) My friend Nathan started seeing Tracy when they were in their early twenties. They were together, then apart, then together, then married. After four or five years together (and apart, and together, and married), things grew sour. Nathan wanted to leave. Tracy threatened to kill herself if he did. She went to therapy. Things got better, and then worse, and then better.

Nathan and I have been friends since childhood and he confided much of this to me, perhaps because he, like I, had a mobile childhood he felt he could tell me that Tracy was the one person he’d known for longer than three or four years, and so it was important for him to have that relationship. I didn’t feel it was my place to say that this was really stupid. So I didn’t.

But it was. They had children (twins), separated for two years, but now live together in a semi-amicable-semi-ignoring-each-other way for the sake of the kids.

Speaking of which, I should call him. Maybe discuss our shared history. Of playing with dead insects. Catching crayfish. Looking for Easter eggs. Riding bikes downhill with no helmets. Me driving a motorboat he made himself. Playing pingpong.

I myself prefer to diversify my histories amongst many different relationships. Some shared pasts will be longer or shorter than others. Some will be treasurable and others–maybe even the longest ones–will require snipping of the rubber bands.  They may fly back and sting you, but you’ll always have that shared history even if you end it, and as we all know, every ending opens space for a beginning.

Just saying.

–CC

Photo credit: ChristinaDC

Onely and Only Sitting in a Tree. . . Shoving Off Amatonormativity September 27, 2013

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

Onely, pronunced Wun-lee, is a blog dedicated to dismantling cultural stereotypes of single people and the laws that discriminate against them.

I write this little reminder because even though our Copious Readers all know our mission (and our mission should be–we hope–clear to new readers on our About Onely page), Lisa and I have been away from the blogosphere for a while, due to sickness and Syria (long stories, both).

Then I found something I thought would make for a short, smooth post (with longer, stickier posts to follow after we regain our footing). Onlyness. Pronounced Ohn-lee-ness and not to be confused with Oneliness, pronounced Wun-lee-ness.

Although the two do flatter each other. See:

In a little article in Oprah Magazine, Abbe Wright quotes Silicon Valley corporate something or other Nilofer Merchant, who tells us not to judge our lives by the timelines that other people follow. That’s so 1950s! So what if all your girlfriends have babies and you’re not married? Embrace your Onlyness!

Onlyness is the spot in which only you inhabit–a mix of the history, experiences, and ideas that make up your life story. If you deny it by engaging in ‘comparisonitis’, you’ll miss your true value.

Copious Readers, such is my dedication to you that in order to bring you this bit of wisdom I even admitted that I buy Oprah magazine though only that one time in the checkout line and I swear I can quit whenever I want except she tells me how to be happy and not worry and I really really need just one more fix of that. . .

–Christina

Citation: Oprah, October 2013, 140.

Snark: I may have to cite her, but I don’t have to Tag her.

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