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Single Middle-Aged Women Are Makin’ Stuff Up! June 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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9 comments

421px-Roman_-_Head_of_a_Woman_-_Walters_23143_-_BackI know I promised in my previous post to follow it up with The True Story of the World’s Bitterest Single Woman, but this news piece preempted it. Sorry. Next time.

Copious Readers, intermittently you may have heard me refer to the fact that I have a chronic illness. It is the terrible (if I may be so melodramatic) and controversial Lyme disease. I have been told numerous times that my pain is in my head. Which is why I was so upset about about this news article that our Copious Reader Beth O’Donnell flagged for me and Lisa. Have you ever been accused of making up symptoms, either on purpose or subconsciously?

This Science Blog post cites–practically sings about–one study in a series of studies by the University of Gothenburg. It followed 1,500 women since the late 1960’s. According to the article, the study “showed” that when middle-aged women are under stress, they manufacture pain in their heads (somatization). And single women apparently somaticized more, because they had the highest degrees of stress (they tied with smokers).

Problem: There was no word on how the study defined stress or determined that singles (and smokers) had more of it.

Problem: The study seems, according to the article, to have based itself on a notion that the researchers already had: that the women were somaticizing already, prior to being studied. The article describes the study thus:

 [It] focuses primarily on stress linked to psychosomatic symptoms.

Um. How did the researchers originally determine which symptoms (if any) were psychosomatic? Via some kind of Vulcan mind-meld? I hope so, because the researchers apparently used their belief that they could determine somatization as a baseline for their study of the effects of stress on somatization.

May Be Not As Problematic As It Appears: We at Onely hate what this article is saying both about sick women and sick single women, but we must acknowledge that all our information comes from the article itself. As you know if you read Dr. Bella DePaulo’s blog, many studies are flawed and don’t show what they claim to show. Even more often, the media misrepresents the results of a perfectly well-designed and valid study–which I think is what happened at Science Blog. So Because we have not read the original study ourselves, the only thing we can get foul-mouthed about is the writing in the actual article itself.

This (luckily anonymous) Science Blog author is a shitty science writer. He uses the word “showed”. I consider this word on a par with “proves”. And as any halfway-educated sciencey type person knows, you can never “prove” anything. You can only disprove. Studies can only “indicate that. . .” or “reveal that possibly. . .” or “possibly show. . .”

I have two Masters’ degrees in English/Writing, plus a Bachelor’s in Health Science. You can’t imagine how excited I am to have the opportunity to be a word snob across my educational spectrum! (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

Going Solo–With the Rest of Society (a book review) February 28, 2012

Posted by Onely in book review.
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4 comments

Eric Klinenberg. Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. The Penguin Press, 2012.

I began my exploration of the world’s first singleton societies with an eye for their most dangerous and disturbing features, including selfishness, loneliness, reclusiveness, and the horrors of getting sick or dying alone.

A singlist statement like this one would normally make us here at Onely ululate and tear at our hair. However, it’s hard to fault Eric Klinenberg for his honesty or his preconceived notion of solo living. After all, in 2002 he had just written Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, a book about the hundreds of people who died in 1995 when the heat index hovered for days in the low 100s. Most of the victims lived alone. Their tragedies informed the CDC’s list of  risk factors for heat wave victims:

Living alone, not leaving home daily, lacking access to transportation, being sick or bedridden, not having social contacts nearby, and of course not having an air conditioner.

But in Klinenberg’s new book, he discovered that

. . . singletons have helped revitalize the public life of cities, because they are more likely than those who live with others to spend time with friends and neighbors, to frequent bars, cafes, and restaurants, and to participate in informal social activities as well as civic groups. (230)

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone examines and celebrates this relatively new social trend. Klinenberg uses the term “singletons” to mean people who live alone, as opposed to “singles”, who may or may not be socially single (eg. unmarried/unpartnered) and who may or may not live alone. We at Onely like this distinction and will be using “singleton” in the same way henceforth on this blog.

In his engaging text sprinkled with statistics, Klinenberg touts the benefits of living alone, tramples stereotypes about the selfish, rotting singleton, and profiles some of the heavy-hitters in the field of singles’ rights, such as the Alternatives to Marriage Project. Yet despite all the praise of this lifestyle, the book never loses sight of the fact that right now, in our current society, living alone is generally only an option for the very privileged–or the very woebetrodden.

The most important parts of this book (but make no mistake, the entire book is important) are those which acknowledge the latter: the poor, frail, ill, and/or isolated folks who die in heat waves (for example). The goal is not to deride them, or the practice of living alone. In fact, by asking How can we prevent underprivileged singletons from succumbing to the dangers of living alone?, Klinenberg is actually saying, Living alone is such a valuable experience, how can we allow more people to have it safely? Or in his own words: (more…)

Secret Lives of the Happily Single: Red Meat Edition June 15, 2011

Posted by Onely in Great Onely Activities, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy.
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20 comments

Welcome to the latest installment in our series Secret Lives of the Happily Single (SLOTHS), where we both stereotype and celebrate the delectably gross habits you can enjoy if you live alone and/or don’t have a “partner”. 

Vegetarians might not want to read below the fold.

(more…)

If I Die Young and Freakishly December 23, 2010

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy.
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8 comments

My dad’s coworker died at 36 of a heart attack in his car after work. Security guards found him after noticing the car sitting, engine on, in a nearly-empty parking lot. People–me included–told the story in sad whispers: “In the car. With the engine on.”

If I die under odd circumstances (“odd” defined as “not passing away in a bed while asleep with a spouse holding my hand”), I don’t want people to harp on the details in a shocked or pitying way. If I go, I go with no regrets. (Except maybe that I never visited Dick Proenneke‘s house, and that my computer is full of revolting first drafts.)

As a Oneler who currently lives alone (“alone” defined as “with two cats”), any of my potential death scenarios–tripping on a cat on the stairs, choking on roast beef, cracking my skull on the bathtub–takes on an extra dollop of “Oh, geez, that’s terrible”: my body would inevitably have to lie there alone for a while before my office sends the dogs after me, or my mom calls the cops to find out why I haven’t phoned her in the last 24 hours to ask whether she thinks the two-week-old stroganoff is still good. Then someone would have to come and discover me, and the grapevine would vibrate with murmurs like, “And they had to break open the door! And there she was!”

Well, so what?

(more…)

The Dangers of Living Alone July 18, 2010

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
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5 comments

Yeah yeah, all sorts of perils come with living alone: close encounters with burglars and choking on melba toast and slipping in the shower and being crushed by falling sofabeds (or maybe that last one’s just me). But the real danger I want to talk about is–accidentally peeing in front of strangers. Yes, it’s a hazard all you intrepid alone-dwellers need to know about.  Or you do if you’re the kind of person who habitually pees with the bathroom door open because there’s no one around to see you.

How easy it is to drink too much soda water and then run to the bathroom and begin your autopilot pee routine, which involves pulling down your pants and sitting on the seat, but does not include shutting the door. How easy to forget that the plumber is upstairs working on your showerhead.

This happened to me the other day, and I only remembered I wasn’t alone when I heard his footsteps coming down the stairs towards the hallway where I sat on the pot in flagrante (I’m not sure what that means exactly, but how it sounds is how I felt). “Quick! Close the door!” you might have said, had I been the star of a wierd indie film and you an audience member. Ah, easier said than done.

Whenever I do try to close the door, the thick turquoise towel under the kitty litter box wedges the door halfway open.  From my perch I could see the plumber’s thighs, then his torso, thumping downwards next to the bannister. Like in any good Bourne or Bruce Willis film (I’m scrapping the indie metaphor), I had about two seconds to make a crucial decision before the plumber’s head came into view and he turned towards the hallway–should I try to unwedge the towel and close the door, or should I yank my pants up?

I chose to unwedge. Copious Readers, what would you have done? I know you think you probably would not have been so silly (or, to take  Freudian stab at it, so unconsciously exhibitionist?) to have left the door open in the first place. But I still felt it my duty to warn you.

–Christina

Photo credit: Flying Pig Beach Hostel

The Privilege of Living Alone September 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy.
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29 comments

To our regular readers, it is obvious that one of the main reasons why Christina and I started this blog was to resist and subvert cultural stereotypes that flatten (in mostly negative ways) what it means to be single. Most of our concerns run in either one of two directions — either providing positive examples of people (ourselves or others) who are happily single, or providing examples (and then rebutting them) that illustrate the (dismaying) prevalence of negative assumptions about single people that continue to abound in our everyday lives.

Rarely, however, do Christina and I write about how being single might be understood as a privilege. The reason we rarely describe our lives in this way is because this would promote a value-system that suggests that people who prefer coupling are somehow less valuable than people who are single. We hope it’s clear that our point on Onely is not to promote single living to the detriment or exclusion of others — rather, we simply want to point out that our lives are valuable too — against all the negative stereotyping that goes on around (and about) us.

But I’ve got to admit: I really do think that living alone is a privilege.

(more…)

You Might Be A Heteronormahole If. . . July 1, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying..
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15 comments

As our Copious Readers know, Onely invented the term “heteronormahole,” but we’ve never defined it — until now. So, in case you’re worried we’re talking about you (hint: if you’re reading this blog, this possibility is HIGHLY UNLIKELY), here’s a list to help you sort it out.

You Might Be a Heteronormahole If:

1. The first question you ask a person you haven’t talked to in some time is, “So, are you seeing anyone?” (you also might be a heteronormahole if this is the second question you ask).

2. You’re a waiter and you scowl when a one-top walks in. (more…)

Stay Married or Murder Mother Earth! May 13, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Just Saying..
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17 comments

imagesSo apparently singles are bad for the environment, according to this AP article and this RealConcepts blog post.

Households with fewer people are simply not as efficient as those with more people sharing

says ecologist Jianguo Liu at Michigan State, who analyzed the environmental impact of divorce.

images-1Per person, divorced households spent more per person per month for electricity, compared to a married household, as multiple people can be watching the same television, listening to the same radio, cooking on the same stove and or eating under the same lights.

Ok, so here are just some of the points that Liu doesn’t seem to consider:

Singles often generally use less space and smaller cars than married people. A married household may have one person doing laundry downstairs while another person watches TV upstairs. (If a single person can do laundry downstairs and watch TV upstairs at the same time, then their problems are way bigger than the dying planet’s.)  Multi-person households need bigger microwaves, bigger laundry machines. Lisa points out that “a single person may be willing to be cold or hot to save energy, which they can do because it won’t affect anyone else in the household”. Moreover, a single person who keeps their heat at a decent temp and gets energy star windows is going to expend less energy than a couple living next door who doesn’t.

(more…)

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s lifestyle November 5, 2008

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

The other day I walked from my townhouse to my car and saw people of all ages swarming over the grassy knoll in front of our street, giggling and shouting and walking and standing. I recognized a neighbor from the other end of our row of houses, who I only knew from waving distance. She approached me, a petite woman holding the hand of a little toddling girl.   (more…)

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