Recommended Reading: The Last Conception September 13, 2014Posted by Onely in book review, Reviews.
Tags: adoption, amatonormative, Buddhism, Gabriel Constans, heteronormative, lesbian relationship, pressure to have children, religious heritage, singles blog, The Last Conception
Gabriel Constans. The Last Conception. Melange Books, LLC. White Bear Lake, Minnesota. 2014.
Gabriel Constans dedicates his book The Last Conception
To Love, in all its manifestations.
We here at Onely are interested in all aspects of the single experience and particularly like to learn about single people from different backgrounds than ourselves (Lisa and I self-identify as white, upper-middle-class, agnostic, heterosexual women). The beginning of Constans’ novel allows us into the world of single scientist and first-generation Indian-American lesbian Savarna, whose parents–still unaware of her sexuality–have been pressuring her for years to marry and give them a grandchild. Any unmarried, child-free reader whose parents have pressured them in this way will wince along with Savarna as her parents become increasingly fervent in their matchmaking–all while Savarna is trying to figure out her relationships with two different women. (I refer to her as “single” because initially she is not part of an “official” couple.)
Appropriately, as an embryologist Savarna spends her working hours manipulating eggs and sperm to help women conceive. She herself, however, doesn’t feel the tick-tock of her biological clock. If she did, this book wouldn’t exist. (Or it would be very boring.)
The Last Conception teaches that Indian culture places even more importance on marriage and childbearing than U.S. culture. So we have several layers of tension going on throughout the story:
–Savarna the happily childfree woman vs. her grandchild-wanting parents
–Savarna the American vs. her Indian parents
–Savarna is not religious, but her parents who travel to India once a year for some ceremonious gathering that Savarna has never attended and vaguely considers cultish
–Then there is lesbian Savarna vs. the heterosexual world her parents inhabit (though from habit as opposed to bigotry)
–Even Savarna and her closest girlfriend have differing opinions on commitment and children
–Savarna is torn between loyalty to herself and to her parents–whose constant nagging about reproduction, we soon discover, stems not from desires to pinch bubble cheeks or see if their grandchild has their eyes, but something far more weighty.
Through the course of the book these subtle battles wage, peak, resolve and eventually weave together into an ending so satisfying I really wish I could share it here. I’m afraid to say much more because I don’t want to put out any Spoilers. Let’s just say that ultra right-wing conservatives would hate this book, especially the conclusion. (All the more reason to read it!) One of our favorite words here at Onely is amatonormative, which means the normalizing of a few specific kinds of love relationships while marginalizing all others. The Last Conception kicks amatonormativity in the a$$.
Which is why it gets one thumb up from our blog. The other thumb is busy turning the pages for a second read-through.
Book Release: A Voice For Singles With Chronic Illness August 27, 2014Posted by Onely in book review, Reviews, Single with chronic illness, We like. . ..
Tags: chronic illness, misdiagnosed, misdiagnosed the search for Dr House, Nika C. Beamon, single and sick, singles blog, undiagnosed
A while ago we here at Onely.org gave our dear Copious Readers a heads-up and review about Nika C. Beamon’s book MISDIAGNOSED: THE SEARCH FOR DR. HOUSE.
Now we wanted to announce that it’s available on Amazon.com as a paperback and Kindle book. It’s also available on Smashwords and as a Nook Book. Look for the paperback version on Barnes and Noble.com. Congratulations, Nika!
She also wrote a guest post on Psychology Today that ties into the book and talks about how to deal with being sick and single.
Copious Readers, I hope you’re not sick and that no one you love has a serious illness. But even if you are so lucky, check out Nika’s book anyway, just for educational value. You might find a whole new world of weirdness as you enter the seamy, stupid underbelly of the U.S. healthcare system.
Seeking Sick Singles March 17, 2014Posted by Onely in Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: sick and single, singles blog, singles with chronic illness
We are doing this for two reasons: One, a friend of ours is considering a possible documentary about singles with chronic illness. Two, just because we at Onely are interested in how single people live with chronic illness, and we hope to talk to a range of people meeting these criteria. If you would like to be considered for the (still hypothetical) documentary, or would like to tell your story outside of the documentary, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Or leave a comment below.)
We are also seeking another term than “sick singles” (too pathetic and, what’s more, a little pornish-sounding) or “singles with chronic illness” (too unwieldy). Terms that distill into catchy acronyms would be great.
Photo credit: Zoom_Artbrush
Singles (and Seduction?) on Sailboats February 25, 2014Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
Tags: couples-only, Marital Status Discrimination, married-only, singles blog, singles clubs, singles on sailboats
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.
You 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?
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?
Photo credit: Pixabay, Public Domain
Alabama State President–Victim of Singlism January 16, 2014Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Heteronormativity, Take action.
Tags: Alabama State, discriminatory housing, Gwendolyn Boyd, history of singlism, singles blog, singlism in school, valerie strauss
Even the unmarried president of Alabama State, Gwendolyn Boyd, accepts discrimination against single people, aka ‘singlism’. That shows how insidious singlism is in our society. Even a woman with a master’s in mechanical engineering from Yale buys into the myth that couples are better than singles. I must presume she is a highly intelligent, driven, open-minded woman. But then why, Copious Readers, would she end up accepting these terms from the university:
Her contract stipulated that she could not share her prime university housing with anyone except a husband.
And she didn’t fight back.
Check out this Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss to get the whole story, and to read about all Boyd’s *other* accomplishments that make her complacency in this matter even more startling. (more…)
Sillybacy: The Funnier Side of The No-Sex Oath January 10, 2014Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, We like. . ..
Tags: Catholic blog, Funny Celibacy, No Sex, Oath of Celibacy, single not looking for partner, singles blog
1 comment so far
For unmarried or uncoupled people who want sex but aren’t having any, this seems like quite the problem. But many people actually choose or swear to be celibate–maybe for a pre-determined period, maybe permanently, or maybe for an indeterminate amount of time after (ahem) a particularly bad first date, involving an argument about ice cream in a public parking lot and also (don’t ask) beansprouts.
But despite all these different kinds of celibacy, when most people hear “celibacy”, our knee-jerk reaction is,
Difficult. Extreme. Embarrassing to discuss, especially with the perpetrator.
Seeking Happily Ever After, Ever After! December 8, 2013Posted by Onely in film review, Great Onely Activities, Honorary Onely Awards, Reviews, Some Like It Single.
Tags: marriage myth, producer michelle cove, seeking happily ever after, singles blog, singles film
Copious Readers, several months ago Onely was excited to view and review the independent pro-single-women film Seeking Happily Ever After. Now it’s more widely available on DISTRIFY, where anyone in an English-speaking country (for now) can rent it from their own computer. (Distribution in non-English-speaking countries has not been implemented yet due to the cost of subtitling.)
Producer Michelle Cove provides some statistics that drive home the need–or rather, the market–for pro-singles films such as Seeking Happily Ever After:
Buoyed by the success of Happily Ever After, we at Onely hope that one day someone will make a film about single men. Granted, women are more immersed in the White Dress Marriage Myth and hence the greater need for a film such as SHEA. But a positive film about unmarried men would be interesting too. Any takers?
Shared History: What’s it Worth? Who With? October 8, 2013Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought.
Tags: are you seeing anyone? why aren't you married?, mother in law, shared history, singles blog
Copious 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.
Photo credit: ChristinaDC
Those Family Stickers on Cars August 20, 2013Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, STFU.
Tags: blended family, familystickers, nuclear family, sexism, singles blog
They 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?
Photo Credit: Theo Junior
Tags: David Bedrick, dr. phil, singles blog
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Bedrick, David. Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013).
Copious Readers, welcome to our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. David Bedrick, who proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.
Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.
Today’s Topic: What makes you think I want to be more like you?
Onely: You say we need to protect marginalized people and forms of expression being seen as “problems” (xxv) and that such allopathic thinking, prevents us from seeing chances for individual growth–and thereby social growth (5).
How do you think society might benefit by attempting to eliminate marital status discrimination? Would such an effort stabilize or destabilize us?
Bedrick: Great question! This is an interesting debate in the GLBT community where many are fighting of the right to be legally married while a smaller minority does not see this as the best direction because it presupposes that being more like “them” is a better way to be.
I think it was James Baldwin, a black gay man, who said something like “what makes you think that I want to be more like you?” There is a powerful assumption that people want the right to be like those who enjoy the most social privilege, however individuals and society suffer from marginalizing our diversity when actually what they want is the fair distribution of privilege- from affirmation and fair witness to legal rights.
Certainly if this discrimination were lessened, people would be more free to not hold partnering/marrying as central to their esteem and life goals freeing them to express their gifts in ways more suitable to their authentic selves. In addition, as I suggested above, even people who are partnered would enjoy greater inner support for their independent dreams.
Lastly, let me express my appreciation for your work. Your questions, vision, and focus have required me to reflect more on the issues you raise, making me more conscious, a better ally, and a better counselor.
Onely: Thanks so much for taking time to talk with us. Feel free to contact us in the future with any other thoughts or ideas about applying the principles of love-based psychology to Oneliness!
Copious Readers, please find the previous parts of this interview right below this one!