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The Great Diaper Debate September 8, 2013

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought.
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8 comments

diaper_pie_playing_in_the_rain_by_hourglass_sands-d66xxwpCopious 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…)

Craigslist Killer Caught: When He Stereotyped Singles August 31, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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1 comment so far

The long story is in this Atlantic article, but the short story is this:

Serial killer Richard Beasley targeted middle-class, unemployed, *unmarried* men. He lured them with a Craigslist ad where he asked for someone to manage a small, isolated ranch with some cattle for 300 dollars a week and free board. He made it sound like an easy, reliable way for a man (and it had to be a man) to earn some money and get a leg up in life, possibly after having been beat up a bit by fate (divorce, unemployment, etc).

However, he was actually planning to kill these single men because he wanted to steal their possessions and make some money by selling them. Applicants who didn’t intend to come to the ranch with a big trailer of large-screen TVs (or whatever) were turned away. His favorite applicants: single men. He figured no one would come looking for them.

He figured wrong.

****

In Memoriam:

Ralph Geiger: Single. The killer (out of disrespect for the killer I will not use his name anymore) stole Geiger’s identity. Geiger is survived and remembered by his longtime daughter-like mentee Summer Rowley.

David Pauley:  Single. His best friend Chris and twin sister Deb notified the police, which helped them track down the killer.

Timothy Kern: Single. His sons Zack and Nick realized immediately that he had disappeared and notified authorities. By then, the killer was doomed.

Respect:

Scott Davis:  Single. He escaped the killer even after having a gun pointed at his face. Though unmarried, his mother was expecting him soon to come fix her house. His experience alerted the police to the killer’s existence.

****

When the killer was seeking out single men, he was actually seeking out what might have been his toughest victims, the ones most dangerous to his mission.  Author Hanna Rosin describes this phenomenon:

As traditional family structures are falling apart for working-class men, many of them are forging new kinds of relationships: two old high-school friends who chat so many times a day. . .; a father who texts his almost-grown sons as he goes to bed at night and as he wakes up in the morning. . . When the old structures recede for men, they find ways to replace them with alternative attachments. . . these improvised families can prove *more* intense because they are formed under duress and, lacking a conventional domestic routine or recognized status, they must be constantly tended and reinforced.

Copious Readers – particularly our male readers – what do you think of this phenomenon? In what ways do you find yourself building these “alternative attachments”?

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

Single People Should Have Registries Too–Huff Post Dialog July 9, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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3 comments

Copious Readers,

When I was young (at 21!), I really wanted to get married. Why? Not because I was dating a great man. Not because I knew a great man and lusted after him. Not because I wanted someone to “share my life with.” No!

I wanted to get married because I wanted to take that little gun and run around the store and zap all the items that people could, should, would buy FOR ME (oh, yeah, and for my husband too).

Please check out this HuffPost Live discussion where a bunch of us talk about whether Single people can/should/do have registries of their own, and how this practice is viewed by society and whether it should develop into a more culturally acceptable practice.

http://huff.lv/12WHvKF

Hope to see you there! If not, you can catch it later at a link we’ll post afterward. Thanks!

–Christina (and Lisa)

The World’s Bitterest Single Woman June 23, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., Marital Status Discrimination, Profiles.
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12 comments

This post is a sort-of sequel to a previous post about bitterness. It’s a long one, but we hope you bear with us.

The World’s Bitterest Single Woman.

Adriaen_Brouwer_-_The_Bitter_Draught_-_WGA3303We here at Onely feel conflicted in writing about this woman. Too often Non-Bitter single people who advocate for single’s rights get accused of being Bitter. And we hate to encourage that logical fallacy. But the thing is, I (Christina) have met this woman in person. And so I must tell.

Copious Readers, hear her story and tell me if you think her bitterness is justified, or self-perpetuating, or creepy, or sad, or whatever jumps to your mind. Also, please skim our conversations and tell me if I could have–or should have–done or said anything more supportive (or chastizing) than what I had to offer at the time.

Note that these interactions happened long before Lisa and I started Onely–so this would be before I knew about singlism, about stereotyping singles, and about marital status discrimination.

I met The World’s Bitterest Single Woman during my grad school period. We had a fiction-writing course together. I also sat across the aisle from her at a reading given by some other graduate students. Upon reflection, perhaps she could also be the World’s Bitterest Single Writer.

In the classroom: It was the first day of class and I’d arrived early. Empty seats stretched to the right and left of me, arranged in a semi-circle. As soon as she walked in I felt her toxic aura. The back of my neck and my torso squeezed into themselves and I clenched my arms to my sides and held my breath. Please please don’t sit near me was my first instinct.  I’m not sure why.

Fortunately as she entered the room she followed the toilet stall/urinal/elevator rule: if there are several open spots, don’t sit/stand right next to the single occupied spot. She wedged herself into a desk several seats away from me and shook out her short hair, white and trimmed in chunky layers that looked self-cut.

The latecomers had to sit next to her. I wondered if they sensed her off-kilterness. My classmates didn’t seem to be leaning over the sides of their desks away from her, as I would have been. Perhaps they did not have my sensitivity, or perhaps I did not have their maturity.  Perhaps I was judgmental, or perhaps I unconsiously smelled on her just a tinge of something that bothered me in childhood (Tang, perhaps).

I will call her Gertie. Gertie was 56 (I discovered later), older than most of us by a couple of decades. She accused (unfairly) my friend Sam of not doing enough historical research. She insisted her own story was funny, even though none of us got the jokes . She wasn’t mean, but she was mean. I couldn’t get a handle on exactly what was wrong with her until (more…)

At What Point Do We Become Bitter? June 4, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Marital Status Discrimination.
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12 comments

jess_walking_away_by_raiyel-d5i0jnsCopious Readers, we at Onely (Lisa and Christina) hate the stereotype of the Bitter Single Woman who has become older without finding a partner. We have fallen victim to this stereotype ourselves, most often when we have spoken too vehemently about marital status discrimination. Have you–male or female–experienced this?

We started this blog with a “Rah rah rah, gooooo singles!” attitude. And we continue to insist that the solo lifestyle (which often isn’t so solo after all!) is a valid one that needs to be more recognized in our culture and especially in our laws.  Single women, single-and-seeking women, and especially even older single-but-seeking women, are not necessarily bitter and sometimes they’re the very opposite.

(You’ll notice I say “women” and not “men”. Although “bitter” is more often applied to women, we would love to hear from men who have been called bitter for defending their unpartnered lifestyles.)

A very close friend of mine whom I shall call Renata said she was worried that if I stayed single, as I grew older I would become “bitter and alone”. Renata remains my close friend only because normally she is an otherwise sensible, giving person. I think her “bitter” comment happened just because I caught her off guard; she told a story and my reaction was not what she expected. Copious Readers, how would you have responded to her tale?

When the army shipped (a verb I always find sort of stupid and scary) Renata’s male friend to Japan, his civilian girlfriend got left behind. But wait! Her army love guy pined and pined for his girlfriend. So he went back on leave, proposed to her, and then they were married! Awww. And then they both got “shipped” (eewwww) to Japan together. ‘Cause they were married.

Renata smiled at the story. And I freaked out.

 THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT! THE ARMY IS USING OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO BUY A GODDAMNED INTERNATIONAL PLANE TICKET FOR THIS WOMAN JUST BECAUSE SHE SIGNED SOME SHITTY LITTLE PIECE OF PAPER.

See, I had forgotten that Renata was not my co-blogger Lisa. If she had been Lisa, I could have inserted far more expletives into that rant and Lisa would have nodded her head in rhythm with the beat of my fist on the table.

AND THAT’S NOT EVEN COUNTING ALL THE TICKETS WE’RE SUBSIDIZING FOR THEIR R&Rs.

Renata’s eyes were huge. But I needed to keep going. I had to.

AND AN UNMARRIED COUPLE DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE JUST AS DEDICATED TO EACH OTHER. PLUS, WHY CAN’T A SOLDIER BRING OVER A SIBLING, OR FRIEND?

Renata suddenly had to go to the bathroom. (To cry? To throw up? To reconsider the overblown role of marriage in our society?) (more…)

Visualize Living Alone: Infographic About This Extraordinary Privilege May 3, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, Uncategorized, We like. . ..
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1 comment so far

Copious Readers,

We here at Onely like to experiment with guest posters! We love having them and the interesting perspectives they bring (which may or may not completely jibe with Onely’s optic). Today we are moving from pure text to something a little more visual–an Infographic. This medium is new to us so we’ll be interested in hearing your feedback on both the form and the content, which in this case has to do with the growing trend of Living Alone. Click on the graphic to see the whole image on ForRent.com, an apartment search company exploring this new trend. Normally Onely does not advocate specific businesses, but we believe in companies that consider renting or building alternative housing for non-traditional familes such as single people, and so we appreciate that ForRent has taken notice of single dwellers.

In 1950, only 9% of households had single occupants. Comparing that with today’s 27%, it is easy to see the trend of solitary living. With extending life spans, the average age of marriage slowly increasing and large rises in urbanization, we are on a path that will not be changing in the near future. The economy is in a slow recovery yet, surprisingly, a very small amount of young adults have moved back into their family homes.

In this infographic, we will take a look at some of the other factors influencing Americans to forego residential companionship and instead prefer to live by themselves.

Alone But Not Lonely
“Alone But Not Lonely” infographic designed by ForRent.com

Single? Blogfest Explains How to Get Screwed 1,000 Times! April 15, 2013

Posted 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!.
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4 comments

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 11.43.08 PMMarital 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 contact.clue@gmail.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:

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard), author of Singled Out and the “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today (belladepaulo@gmail.com)

Eleanore Wells, blogger and author of The Spinsterlicious Life (Eleanore@TheSpinsterliciousLife.com)

Cindy Butler, of Unmarried Equality  (cbutler@unmarried.org)

Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!

–Christina Campbell and Lisa A. of Onely.org, (pronounced wun-lee), a blog that challenges stereotypes about singles (Onely@onely.org)

Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com

Can We Stop Talking about Marriage as though It’s about Love? April 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Singled Out.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
7 comments

Marriage is not about love. But most of the public conversation about marriage – most recently, the conversation about gay marriage – tends to treat marriage as the equivalent of love. Marriage, public discourse suggests, makes love official. And who could argue against that? Just as you generally can’t have a satisfying debate with a religious person about the existence of God, you’ll be booed off the stage if you say there’s something wrong with being in love. In popular rhetoric, the word “marriage” is used to signify (stand in for) the concept of romantic love.

Let’s be real; let’s stop saying marriage is about love.

In the best of cases, marriage stems out of love. But marriage itself is not the same as love. In truth, marriage is decidedly un-romantic. It is a legal, and sometimes religious, contract between two people. The contract ties the partners together – in no uncertain terms – in terms of finances, law, and kinship. These are not romantic concepts. In fact, in certain contexts, these concepts can be downright terrifying.

But public rhetoric wants us to ignore the ugly reality and focus on the feel-good. As a result, it’s challenging – almost impossible – to take a critical stance toward the institution.

The recent conversation about gay marriage, currently at the center of two cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a prime example of the consequences of our popular discourse. Our discourse suggests that the right to marry is an issue of civil rights (in the States, as some have pointed out, the Human Rights Campaign has problematically dominated this kind of discourse). While we at Onely agree that the achievement of marriage equality is an admirable goal, it does not in fact achieve the larger goals of civil rights, which would ensure that all people – regardless of their marital status – are treated equally in the eyes of the law.

As we have argued time and again on this blog and elsewhere – marriage creates and maintains a social hierarchy that grants specific financial, legal, and kinship benefits to individuals based only on their marital status. And guess who loses, precisely because they are not married? More than 50% of the population, single people.

As Scot Nakagawa puts it: (more…)

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

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: , , , ,
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…)

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