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Ashes to Ashes, Spouse to Spouse January 17, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, God-Idiot or Asshole?, single and happy.
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4 comments

Ashes_Stock_6_by_birdsistersstockThis is a true story, and a sad story. And it’s an amatonormative story.  (Amatonormative means privileging certain love relationships over others.)

Once upon a time, my mother’s sister, my Aunt S, died at sixty of a heart attack while sitting at the kitchen table with my Uncle K. Although Aunt S had been married to Uncle K for only (if you can define “only”) about five years, Uncle K was well-liked by our extended family because he was kind, funny, intelligent, and really loved Aunt S. We all grieved the loss of Aunt S, but Uncle K was especially torn up of course.

We have a tradition in our family that when one of us dies, we sprinkle their ashes in a certain lake, which like my relatives shall remain anonymous. One afternoon we all gathered at our family property at the lake. Uncle K had brought Aunt S’s ashes in a brown wooden box. The traditional dumping site was a spot several hundred yards from the shore, where the trunk of a large tree lay in the sand.

We had a motorboat, a rowboat, and three pedal kayaks.

We had this many people: Uncle K. Uncle K’s two sons from a previous marriage. Aunt S’s three daughters from a previous marriage. And Aunt S’s siblings: Mitch, Jake, Blake, and my mom.

We were milling around when someone noticed that Uncle K and the kids were missing. Without so much as a how-dee-doo, they had climbed into the motorboat, puttered out to the tree, and spread the ashes with great ceremony and words of remembrance–or so they told us later, because none of the rest of us had been out there to see it.

I was shocked that Uncle K didn’t at least offer to squeeze one or two of Aunt S’s siblings into the boat–or at a minimum, arrange a caravan of slow motorboat and pedal kayaks out to the tree, so that my mom and her brothers could also spread their sister’s ashes.

None of the siblings felt they had the right to protest. After all, Uncle K was Aunt S’s spouse, and spouses trumped siblings, right?

Wrong.

But I had to respect my mom and Mitch and Jake and Blake for maintaining their silence and letting the grieving Uncle K have his moment of selfish amatonormativity. That emotional afternoon was probably not the right time to pick a fight. Instead, Aunt S’s siblings honored her in their thoughts and by looking at the lake, instead of partaking in the physical ritual itself.

But if my sister had died (God forbid) and her husband had co-opted the boat and gone out to sprinkle her ashes without me, I would have thrown a profanity-filled fit right there on the beach, then tried to swim after the boat, then choked on water because I’d still be screaming about what an amatonormative a-hole he was. He would have had to abort his ashing ceremony to turn the boat around and rescue me, and once on board I would have tried to sprinkle the rest of ashes, but my hands would be wet so the ashes would stick to my fingers instead of drifting off onto the wind.

Copious Readers, how would you react in a similar situation? Respectful albeit slightly bitter silence, or temper tantrum?

–Christina

Photo Credit: Bird Sisters Stock

Onely Commits Amatonormativity Twice In One Conversation December 20, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Great Onelies in History, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
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1 comment so far

For a blog that for years has been waving its bloggy arms and screaming about how our world is largely set up for couples, especially hetero couples, and about how they are privileged at the expense of other kinds of loves and families (this is what we mean by amatonormativity, sometimes also called heteronormativity), we at Onely sometimes screw up and act just as badly as the people, governments, and organizations we critique.

And by “we”, I mean me, Christina. I don’t believe my coblogger Lisa, who is much more in tune with peoples’ feelings, has ever been so gauche as myself.

But first some background, in defense of my recent episodes (yes, plural!) of amatonormativity:

–For years my friend Natasha has been looking for the love of her life. The perfect man. She’s suffered many breakups, after one of which she told me, “He was my everything!” When I explained that, in fact, she also had a cat and parents and siblings and friends and a house and a job, she gave a surprised little “O!” with her mouth in that same shape. As if that had never occurred to her.

–For years she talked about how she was tired of being “alone”. For years I tried to talk her out of this need she felt to be part of a couple. Find yourself first, I said. Just do things you like and be happy and it will happen. Go on the internet if you are truly in a hurry. It increases the statistical likelihood that you’ll meet someone compatible (or get killed). Lots of my friends have met this way (and even lived to get married).

Eventually I just stopped trying to Onelify her. I started wishing she would find a stable boyfriend. (That is, opposite the one in college who played basketball and one night said he was being a snippy asshole to her after one game because his team had lost, and they had to act sad and upset.) She was crankier when she was single. If she was single and I wan’t, then she got crankier at me. Then she wanted kids. I wished she would find a partner because obviously it was important to her. My bloggy diatribes about living single and confident and proud were not for her, and I finally accepted that.

SO then the other day we were talking on the phone and Natasha said she was going to an Italian speaking meetup that night. So I said, “Great!”

Do you think there will be any eligible bachelors there?

(First, who still uses the term “eligible bachelors”? Me apparently.)

Natasha was silent for a moment. “No, it looks as if it’s mostly women. But I can never make enough good girlfriends.”

Huh? Who are you and what have you done with Natasha?

I (more…)

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 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

Operation Singles Saturation: Blogfest2 Celebrates In(ter)dependence July 3, 2013

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Guest Bloggers, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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5172185224_d6e0aae10a_oThis July 4th, as the U.S. celebrates its Independence Day, Onely is joining other pro-singles’ bloggers in a Media Saturation Event to celebrate the independence – and interdependence – of the single life (you might remember our participation in this blogfest about the cost of single life, back in April).

This time, we’re asking you to write, vent, question, and tweet just what In(ter)dependence means to you.

And by “you”, we mean LOTS of you. We at C.L.U.E. (Communications League for Unmarried Equality, consisting of Onely; Bella dePaulo, PhD; Spinsterlicious; and Cindy Butler of the group Unmarried Equality) have worked hard to assemble the BEST and the BRIGHTEST and LOUDEST voices in the progressive singles’ community. So if we haven’t just found you, then join us! If you don’t have the time to compose reams of masterful text about what In(ter)dependence means to you, then get on the Tweet train with these tags:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination. Sprinkle them like fairy dust into your tweets about singleness and in(ter)dependence. (Extra credit if you can combine your hashtags with Haikus!) And if you *do* write a post, make sure to send the link to contact.clue@gmail.com so that we can give you credit.

And now, here are Onely’s deep thoughts about In(ter)dependence:

There are plenty of stereotypes about what it means to be single, and one of the most common is that we “have it easy” because we aren’t responsible for, or to, anyone else. If only! You might even say that the category “single” is an oxymoron – for it’s impossible (or at least unpleasant) to live in this world without relationships of some kinds.

This interdependence, we believe, is something to be celebrated. But when we’re single, we are often (sometimes. . . occasionally. . .) expected to celebrate our independence. Songs have been written about this phenomenon (think Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson). Never mind that this independence is, more often than not, portrayed as a response to previous romantic relationships! Indeed, here at Onely, we’ve made it a point to emphasize – and celebrate – the strength and resilience required of single people in the face of heteronormativity, amatonormativity, and matrimania.

The truth is, though, no matter how strong a single person is – no matter how truly independent any one of us might be – we are supported and strengthened by our relationships with others. Life would be pretty lonely without these relationships. But there’s little space in our culture to celebrate relationships that aren’t SEEPie (Sex and Everything Else Person) relationships, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the many “other” significant relationships that help us feel human.

This blind celebration of independence – oftentimes at the expense of recognizing the value of interdependence – trickles down to our identities as single people. If we have anything to be proud of, Western culture suggests, it should be our so-called “freedom,” our “lack of responsibility” to others, and our apparent “mobility.” We should be. . . Movie Cowboys!

But this attitude devalues the many kinds of relationships that nourish us, and it ignores the reality of our daily lives (income issues, sick family members, roof rot, and, perhaps most challenging, raising a child as a single parent). When we lose sight of the significance of the many different kinds of relationships we enjoy (financial advisor, aunt who cares for her sick niece, the kind coworker who also does insulation and tile work, the neighbor who loves to babysit) it becomes easy to define ourselves, as single people, as somehow weak or lonely.

And that’s a shame. Because there’s something special about being single – and we like to call it Being Onely.

Copious Readers

How does in(ter)dependence

Influence your life?

Remember:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.

— Lisa and Christina

Photo credit: Listen Missy!

Unmarried Thirty-Somethings Rock: Support ‘2 Hopeful Spinsters’! March 2, 2013

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, film review, single and happy, We like. . ., YouTube Style.
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5 comments

1a2e16b2e8b07adc9aed052af4f68b69-d4molsuPeople sometimes comment on (or laugh at) the fact that Lisa and I are two people co-writing a blog about being happily and progressively single. Most other singles’ blogs are, quite logically, written by a single person. So imagine our delight when we discovered another website co-managed by pair of single women, just like Onely!  Except 2 Hopeful Spinsters consists of action-packed web video, instead of action-packed web words.Heather and Dellany (the Hopeful Spinsters)’s goal, like Onely’s, is to challenge the cobwebbed notions that thirty-something single women are bitter, jaded, ugly, and surrounded by cats (well, actually we’re not going to challenge that last one).

In their kickstarter pitch, the Hopeful Spinsters point out Webster Dictionary’s definition of spinster: a woman past the common marrying age. In the US today, that age is 27. In the pitch they also include a segment “Shit People Say to Spinsters (Inspired by actual events)”. At a college alumni shindig, the partiers demonstrate typical lines often thrown at ‘spinsters’, for example: Are you a lesbian? Have you thought about freezing your eggs? and, my personal favorite, where a man certainly over thirty years old says,

I don’t date women over 30. (more…)

Singles and Asexuals: Their Intersextion January 23, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, sex, single and happy, We like. . ..
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25 comments

psychedelic_girl_2_by_simonfalk-d5c0ktyAn ‘asexual person’ refers to someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

To many people, this sounds startling, or freakish. They may say it’s impossible; the asexual person must have something wrong with them.

A ‘non-seeking single’ refers to someone who doesn’t particularly care if he or she finds The One or gets married. 

To many people, this sounds startling, or freakish. They may say it’s impossible; the single person must have something wrong with them.

*****

Whoaaaaaa there, some of our Copious Readers might say. Why are you comparing asexuals to singles? You’re just perpetuating the stereotype that non-coupled singles don’t get any sex! And that’s not true! We get a LOT of sex! Sometimes!

No, this is not about that. This is about rhetoric. Asexuals and singles of many stripes are alike–in that they suffer from (or are irritated by) the same kinds of prejudiced rhetoric. I recently watched the documentary (A)Sexual. Its primary hero is David Jay, the founder of  AVEN, the Asexuality and Visibility Education Network. The film also follows asexual advocate Swank Ivy. I stared with fascination as she described her Top Ten List of Things People Say To an Asexual.

If Onely had compiled a Top Ten list (why didn’t we ever think to do that?) it would be pretty much identical to Swank Ivy‘s. (Although her online list varies slightly from the verbal list she gives in the movie, their essences are the same.) Note that she writes from the point of view of a hetero woman, but the list could easily be tweaked to fit men: (more…)

U.S. adults have “boyfriends” and “girlfriends”–Do other cultures also infantilize the unmarried? November 28, 2012

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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31 comments

The U.S.’ widespread use of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” is a decades-old cultural relic, from a time when we married barely out of boyhood or girlhood. But now more and more adults are waiting until their late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, or beyond to marry (if at all). So what does it say about our society that we call the people we’re dating “boyfriends” and “girlfriends”?

It SAYS that our society views unmarried people as younger/less evolved/more childish than married ones.

To be sure, our habit of using boyfriend/girlfriend in perpetuity did not arise from a concerted or conspiratorial cultural effort to infantilize unmarrieds. But the passive persistence of the terms does represent how singles are viewed. (For all that alliteration, you may thank this glass of wine.)

A thirty-eight-year-old hetero female has a boyfriend? Come on.

Progressive thinkers (usually as an extension of Queer rhetoric) have played with new terms: Significant Other; Partner; Life Partner. . .  These terms allow people of all ages to achieve the rare art of sounding both stodgy and mysterious at the same time.

Copious Readers, Onely requests your responses: (more…)

Singles Shopping Day November 18, 2012

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, single and happy, We like. . ..
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5 comments

Lisa and I are so behind on our Onely research and writing that we missed Singles Shopping Day on 11 November! So sorry we were unable to flag it for for you, our Copious Readers, because I know you all (and by you all, I mean me) love any holiday that combines shopping with the chance to get all up on our soapboxes about the awesomeness of singlehood.

On 11/11, Singles Shopping Day, according to this AP news article,

Singles Day was begun by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. . . Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or give gifts to woo that special someone and end their single status.

(more…)

What Every Woman Wants? July 22, 2012

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
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6 comments

Copious Readers,

The following is a story about the perils of couple-mania. The victim is me. The moral: Always trust your gut – you are a smart and intuitive person. Don’t let couple-mania get the better of you.

ImageA couple of weeks ago, I was invited to help a friend – let’s call her Reem – celebrate her birthday at a beautiful beach in southern Lebanon with her boyfriend (let’s call him Ramzi), and another friend of theirs (we’ll call her Rose). The beach was lovely – sunny, hot, relaxing.

A few hours into the afternoon, a few of Ramzi’s acquaintances from his football league showed up. We mingled. One of the guys started talking to me. We’ll call him Beach Dude.

Beach Dude seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. He’d grown up in the States but was of Lebanese descent. Talking with him, I felt comfortable, relaxed. He even asked me the topic of my dissertation; no one ever does that. We watched the sunset and chatted until I had to leave for Reem’s birthday dinner. I thought nothing of it.

But apparently, Reem, Ramzi, and Rose had thought about it plenty. They started teasing me.

Them: “Wow, Lisa, Beach Dude really likes you!”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Them: “He stayed to talk to you when all the guys left to play football!”

Me: “Well, that’s true… but…”  My gut just felt they were wrong.

Them: “Lisa, he’s totally into you.”

Me: “I think he was just being friendly.”

Them: “You guys have got to hook up!”

After all their badgering I began to wonder if maybe they were right, and I had in fact entirely misinterpreted Beach Dude’s manner and motivations. Maybe he was totally turned on by the sexy concepts of historiography and disciplinarity (the subject of my dissertation). Still, I squirmed and blushed as they kept insisting that they had seen something I hadn’t.

I already hate couple-mania enough when it’s “out there” – in magazines or on television – but I truly despise it when it’s targeted at me. (more…)

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