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Pop Culture, HOPE for the Onelys August 13, 2009

Posted by Onely in Pop Culture: HOPE for the Onelys, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy, Singles Resource.
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Since last Friday I depressed you all with this post, I am happy to say that all is not lost for us single people and singles advocates, at least in pop/internet culture! A friend of mine sent me a link to this excellent article (cross-posted on Salon.com and Huffington Post), which is written by Lea Lane, author of Sololady.

In “Why I’m Alone,” Lane enumerates a long list of reasons why she’s not married. She’s refreshingly candid. Some of my favorites include:

  • I ‘m now used to getting up when I want and drinking from the juice bottles and not shaving my legs and leaving dishes from the night before on my bed and getting up at 3am and seeing a movie and going back to bed at 5am and not hearing a word of scorn, and not that many people can deal with that kind of thing.
  • I have friends who laugh and go out to concerts and play Scrabble and keep me occupied when I want to go out and we seem to laugh more than our married friends and we even look happier, even if we aren’t, but I suspect we might be, at least more so than many.
  • … my friends don’t introduce me to anyone anymore because they know that unlike some women my age who settle, I want a bit more than “mammal” on my wish list.
  • I’m satisfied that I’ve sowed enough oats to make oatmeal for the New York Yankees and still have some left over to feed the waitstaff at Tavern on the Green, with a few spoonfuls to spare.

Go on, Lea, with your bad self! (and thanks to Vanessa for sending me the link 🙂 )
Copious Readers, I know we’re constantly celebrating the perks of being alone here at Onely, but it never hurts to add a few more — what do you appreciate most TODAY about being alone?

— Lisa


1. Alan - August 14, 2009

I have to say I cringe a little at her first point…I don’t think it helps singles to say that being single allows you to be messy.

How about focusing on more positive things, like the spiritual and pscyhological benefits of being alone? Or the flexibility to devote oneself to goals and dreams?

Onely - August 14, 2009

Her list actually goes on and on and includes a large number of positive things. I hear your point about how focusing on the messiness can make singles sound somehow slovenly and unappealing. Some singles advocates worry that by focusing on the superficial, silly, or slovenly aspects of being single, we give the impression that those are the *only* benefits to being single, or that they are like consolation prizes for those of us who missed out on the greater joy of couplehood. I am sure that some people would interpret Lane’s not-shaving-legs type remarks like that.

*However*, I think that is a very literal view, taken without regard to whimsy and the fact that living really just comes down to vivid little moments, like Lane’s refreshing drink straight from the juice bottle.

Also, we need to step back and ask if some of the traditionally-slovenly habits that some singles cultivate and enjoy are actually really that slovenly at all. Drinking straight from the juice bottle? Who cares? Dishes in the sink? As long as they get cleaned before the roaches smell them, so what?

And couples can be just as loose with the housekeeping as singles–it’s just that someone is there to harp on the negligence (whether that results in a tidier environment is up for debate).


Lauri - August 14, 2009

I did somewhat have the reaction, but I I think the point that she is trying to make is that when you live alone, a lot of the petty things that people who live together have to deal with are a non-issue. I was trying to move in with roommates this summer (fell through, long story) after living alone for over 7 years. I suddenly started to worry about stupid stuff- like sometimes I leave dishes in the sink for a couple days and then wash them all at once. Couldn’t do that with someone else around. I leave my shoes scattered all over the house. Couldn’t do that. So it’s not that I’m really messy, I just know that if I don’t clean something up today, I can do it tomorrow. When you live with other people, there’s pressure to clean it up NOW. I remember after living with my parents for a bit after college, that was such a relief. My mum was constantly nagging me to put dishes and coats away because “you’re not the only one who lives here.” When I lived with roommates, I was immaculate, because I was afraid they would judge me if I were messy. I feel like that would definitely come into play with a romantic partner, especially being “the woman” and the stereotypical household gender roles that come along with that.

Alan - August 15, 2009

That’s quite true…when you live with someone else you do have to worry about little things irritating them. And be irritated by the little things that they do.

That’s why I don’t have a roommate, it makes things simpler.

2. Special K - August 14, 2009

Gosh…I LOVE being able to read, don’t you? Love the quotes…maybe I need to do some sowing of my own…Can’t wait to get a copy of Quirkyalone!

3. autonomous - August 14, 2009

I love this piece, and disagree that Number 1 is a negative thing to focus on- we’re our own people and being messy if we want to is part of the joy of being independent. Besides, couples can have seriously messy houses too- especially with kids, difference is, I can be neat or messy on my own terms: nobody nags at me to do anything. And hey, we may have sink or nightstand full of dirty dishes from time to time, but that’s mild compared to the smell of dirty diapers and baby barf!
Occasionally I go through phases of total apathy re: house & yard work but because it’s my mess I’m not bugged by it as I would be were it someone else’s, then I get a super-streak of energy and stay on top of things for a stretch until the next distraction comes along.
I once dated a guy who was a super-slob and I knew it was a bad sign when I felt the urge to nag, especially as it was his home and none of my business! I certainly don’t want to be on the receiving end of that- so here’s to number 1.

I also love the bit about not getting fixed up anymore- three years ago some friends started to panic that I wasn’t married, and I went out on 6 blind dates. Last year= zero. Last year I was also the happiest in my life ever.

Funny thing, recently my family was scared to tell me my sister is getting married again. I broke the news that I already knew, and my mom gingerly replied “don’t worry honey, I just know someday you’ll find your special someone too”. I laughed and said that I wasn’t looking and that my sister is welcome to it- so NOT the life I want for myself!

Onely - August 16, 2009

I thought you were going to say that they were scared to tell you because of your strong stance in favor of being single! But no. . .
= ) CC

autonomous - August 17, 2009

They were scared because I dated the guy in college and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. My feelings aren’t hurt, I just have the heebiejeebies. It’s the classic “of course I don’t want to marry him, but why does he want to marry my sister instead of me?” type of family fun. That and I know what the guy looks like sans trousers and that’s an image I just don’t want in my head with respect to my sister’s next future husband.

4. Bedstorms - August 15, 2009

One of the most positive aspects of being single is that no one nags me. I usually go on a cleaning spree after my place gets to the point where I am nagging myself for my dissheveled ways. That’s the litmus test of the extent to which I can stand my own company. I know I’m in trouble if I start to nag myself. In fact, one of the main reasons I am single is to avoid being nagged. My dignity remains intact, because it’s just me nagging myself, and nobody else has to know about it.

The nagging problem is never ongoing because I can nip it in the bud before myself starts to seriously irritate me ; ). By extension, another advantage of singlehood arises from this. I can face the world most days without being frazzled, embattled and in fear of what awaits me when I get home, ie., rankled husband and kids telling me the fruit flies are starting to bother them, and to do something about that ring around the toilet. I am so much more serene than my attached colleagues. I can focus on my job. After a good housecleaning jag, I feel renewed and ready to take on the world, instead of feeling anxious that my housecleaning standards do not meet someone else’s exacting (irrational) criteria. I like to call it positive self-determination.

Onely - August 16, 2009

I actually nag myself way more than anyone else would, I think. I have to work on that. Kind of defeats one of the main benefits of being single! That’s almost as bad as waking yourself up with your own snoring.

5. bobby - August 16, 2009

Although I don’t necessarily celebrate being single, or celebrate being in a relationship for that matter, the essence of singltude to me has always been freedom for myself.

6. Singletude: A Positive Blog for SIngles - August 17, 2009

Today, at this very minute, the thing I appreciate most is being able to go down any road that life takes me down without needing to consult someone else or worry about how my choices will affect him. I’m the only one who will sink or swim as a consequence of my own decisions. I’m beholden to no one, unencumbered by anyone else’s expectations, and free to make my own choices. It’s so liberating!

7. singlethirtysomething - August 17, 2009

All this talk of messiness reminds me how I felt when I first moved into an apartment on my own. For the approx. 6 years previously, I’d lived with housemates – some were lovely, some were nightmares. The best part of having my own place? Coming home from work and finding it EXACTLY as I’d left it in the morning. Nodoby else had made a mess – or added to mine 🙂 and I always know where everything is!

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