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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.
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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.

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.
Tags: , , , ,
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…)

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