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Onely Talks about Rebellious Singles (On the Solo Podcast) April 29, 2021

Posted by Onely in Great Onelies in History, Profiles.
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Welcome to the latest edition of our series Great Onelers In History. Lisa and I recently had the honor of joining singles advocate Peter McGraw on his progressive podcast Solo –The Single Person’s Guide to a Remarkable Life. Our theme was Rebellious Singles (with a side of Cat Lady Trope). I loved all the awesome unmarried historical figures we selected to profile, but perhaps my favorite was Lisa’s great uncle Charles Brandt, the hermit. He recently passed away, leaving an amazing legacy of social activism and environmental work that shattered my notions of what it means to be a hermit–and also made me totally jealous of Lisa’s esteemed genetic makeup! (Photo by Grant Callegari

One of the pathbreaking singles we talked about was Bessie Coleman, the first Black pilot. NOT THE FIRST “BLACK WOMAN” PILOT–THE FIRST BLACK PILOT, PERIOD! I need to point this out, because if you google “first black pilot” you end up with Eugene Bullard, the first black American military pilot. WRONG! Bessie Coleman was the first black pilot. No offense, Eugene, and I’m glad that you have an entire first page of Google results to your name, but really the person who should come up when I type “first black pilot” is Ms. Coleman. But it gets even better (by which I mean worse). If you search for “Bessie Coleman,” you get a bunch of links saying how she was the first African-American Woman Pilot. WRONG! She was the FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PILOT! PERIOD! On page one of my Google results, there was only one teeny link buried near the bottom of the page to an Atlantic article and video that labelled Ms. Coleman as the first Black pilot. The vast majority of the others labelled her the first Black woman pilot. Don’t get me wrong–what she accomplished was even more amazing because she was a woman. But let’s not forget she was the first among ALL sexes, not just the stronger sex. 

Onelers of the World: China Edition April 11, 2021

Posted by Onely in Great Onelies in Real Time, Great Onely Activities, Onelers of the World, Profiles, single and happy.
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Welcome to the latest installment in our series Onelers of the World (or, as autocorrect deliciously calls it, Omelets of the World). Here we flag stories of interesting, empowered, and unique single people who are not based in the United States. As our Copious Readers know, the progressive singles’ movement remains heavily focused on U.S. white cis-hetero women, and therefore we here at Onely would like to hear more from and about singles who identify as people of color, cis-hetero men, and/or LGBTQA, as well as single people of all stripes who live outside of the U.S. Meanwhile, here’s a little something from big China. Thanks to author and singles advocate Donna Ward of Melbourne, Australia for flagging this article for us. 

Every so often you read a news article about someone and think, “I want to be best friends with that person!” My most recent fantasy best friend is Ms. Su Min of Henan Province, who at 56 left her abusive husband and started driving across China, camping on a tent on top of (on top of!) her car. 

There’s a photo of her cartop tent in the NYT article about Ms. Su by Joy Dong and Vivian Wang. The profile is chock full of gem sentences describing her chutzpah, so my post is going to contain a lot of quotes (with apologies and gratitude to Dong and Wang). Here’s a summary:

After fulfilling her family’s expectations of dutiful Chinese womanhood, Ms. Su is embracing a new identity: fearless road-tripper and internet sensation. For six months, she has been on a solo drive across China, documenting her journey for more than 1.35 million followers across several social media platforms.

Ms. Su has become a feminist icon in China (and hopefully, eventually, around the world). My favorite sentence: 

She could drive as fast as she wanted, brake as hard as she liked.

I wondered what happened in her previous life that made her so appreciative of hard braking. Maybe, I imagined, her piece-of-shite husband yelled at her for slamming the brakes to avoid a squirrel? Less intriguing than her braking obsession, but still vivid, is her comment about hot peppers. She revels in eating them on her trip, after years of having to “make herself not eat peppers” because her family didn’t like them. 

She meets singlism with humor:  (more…)

Valentine’s Day and Singles Empowerment Day: Recommended Reading February 15, 2021

Posted by Onely in book review.
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For a combo celebration of Valentine’s Day (14 February) and Singles Empowerment Day (15 February), I want to flag a beautifully written and meticulously researched historical fiction series that examines religion, racial identity, ablism, cross-cultural conflicts. . . and romance. Lots and lots of romance. If that seems like a strange reading recommendation for a blog built on challenging our couple-obsessed culture, hear me out: (more…)

My Office Gets Singlist About COVID-19 January 28, 2021

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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So the other morning, I walked into the lobby of my office building and saw these helpful hints on the digital message board: 

Living Single in COVID: 

Structure your time

Treat yourself well

Maintain a schedule

I watched the board for a minute to see if it would give me advice on living coupled in COVID. I knew it wouldn’t, and it didn’t. The board flicked to a new screen that told me masks were required in the building, and that yoga class would be in the gym at 12:00. 

There’s been discussion in the singles advocacy community about whether it’s appropriate to single out (sorry) singles during COVID as needing special help. (more…)

Kamala Harris’ Singles Comments: Problematic or Progressive? November 8, 2020

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Food for Thought.
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Now that we in the U.S. have narrowly dodged the apocalypse (so far), we can start holding the new presidential administration accountable for singlist language. My fellow intrepid singles advocates Dr. Craig Wynne and Dr. Bella DePaulo have written about the repeated and problematic use of the term “families” by politicians on both sides of the aisle. But today I want to examine a different sort of relationship rhetoric. Twice in the last year, Kamala Harris has said variations of this statement:

Let’s remember to check in on our single friends. 

Is this progressive or problematic? Considerate or patronizing? (more…)

When Singlism Turns Dangerous: The National Alliance on Mental Illness September 25, 2020

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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The National Alliance on Mental Illness published an article about smiling depression that was good, except for this part in the second paragraph: 

People with smiling depression are often partnered or married, employed and are quite accomplished and educated. Their public, professional and social lives are not struggling. Their façade is put together and accomplished.

It’s common to see marriage, which is not inherently positive, lumped in with a list of attributes that are arguably inherently positive (employment, education, accomplished). I can think of several fiction and nonfiction books on my shelves that use similar groupings to describe people. My favorite was when an author described a woman accused by consipiracy theorists of masterminding an elder-killing scheme–the author said this was ridiculous, in part because the woman was “married with two children.” (more…)

I Prefer a Team to a Spouse September 2, 2020

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
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If you are single and live alone, you need to be prepared to deal with random catastrophes. Generally, I handle stuff ok. Like the time I returned from a long workday, opened the front door, and wondered to myself, “Why is it raining inside the house?” (Answer: Spontaneous toilet tank crack.) I managed the flood just fine. But recently I encountered a problem I couldn’t manage at all. So I had to call in Team Christina.

Dr. Peter McGraw of Solo and Craig Wynne of The Happy Bachelor have talked about how single people have “teams”, and Dr. Bella DePaulo has said that married people have The One and singles have The Ones.  I have been assembling an ad-hoc Team Christina during the two decades I’ve lived in Northern Virginia. Mostly the Team was just for hanging out, sharing Netflix shows, and reassuring me that my author photos didn’t make me look like a serial killer. But the latent power of Team Christina became clear when I found my sweet little cat dead in the basement window well.

(more…)

BOOK REVIEW: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine August 21, 2020

Posted by Onely in book review, Reviews.
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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Almameddine Grove Press, New York, 2013.

In the comments on an earlier post, our Copious Reader clofa recommended some books and authors. I picked up An Unnecessary Woman because it was the only one of the books in my library system. And I’m so glad I did! Thanks, clofa. I read it in two sittings, and I would have read it in one sitting, but unfortunately a girl’s gotta sleep and do personal hygiene.

Clofa warned that some of her friends found it depressing, and yes, it is depressing. But it’s also uplifting and I find so much to identify with. (more…)

Europe Lets People in to See Loved Ones–But Only If They Are Having Sex August 16, 2020

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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Apparently this is a thing that exists: the “Love Is Not Tourism” campaign, whose pinned Tweet reads:

Binational couples and families have been separated for almost half a year due to Covid-19 travel bans. Help us reunite them!

Normally I’d write this Twitter account off as some regressive, small-minded Tweeter not worth my time, but unfortunately, Forbes is taking them seriously, and so are many European countries. According to the Forbes article, countries are developing various policies allowing people to reunite despite travel bans. The problem? Every policy favors romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships.  

Regarding the implementation of these waivers, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs tweeted that states should use  “as wide a definition of partnerships as possible”. This sounds very noble and inclusive, until you realize that the definition is not inteded to expand wider than romantic relationships, which essentially means people who are having committed sex, or people who have committed to having committed sex in the future. (more…)

My Company Essentially Gives Married People $25,000 August 13, 2020

Posted by Onely in Marital Status Discrimination.
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Welcome to the latest installment in our ongoing series, “Onely Gets Pissy About Marital Status Discrimination,” where we flag discriminatory laws and corporate policies, then use our righteous indignation as an excuse to make up fun swear words. 

It’s that special time of year at my company: benefits renewal! When I got the email reminding us to go to the benefits site and select the policies we wanted, I logged in immediately, because I am nothing if not a good little corporate cublicle monkey. I started checking boxes:  $2750 in my health FSA! BAM!   Short term disability insurance! BAM!   Long term disability insurance! BAM!   $150,000 life insurance for in case I choke on arugula (a persistent fear of mine, because those long leaves dangle dangerously into one’s throat)! BAM!    $25,000 life insurance for my spouse in case he chokes on arugula! BA—   

Not so fast, little cubicle monkey! (more…)

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