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Every Oneler Needs an Elf October 16, 2011

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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Shortly before I moved overseas, I visited my dear, intelligent and highly articulate co-blogger Christina in Washington, D.C. I stayed with her for about a week, and for some of that week, she had to be at work. I, too, had work to do, but I worked from (her) home.

So, being the conscientious and grateful guest that I am, I tried to clean up after myself while I was at home and while Christina was at work. Sometimes I cleaned a few things for her, too.

The first time I did this, Christina came home and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! Little elves have visited!!” But the next morning before she left for work, Christina made me promise that I wouldn’t let the elves visit again. “No problem,” I promised.

But they visited again. As a guest in Christina’s home, I couldn’t help myself; what’s more, Christina appreciated it (not to mention that it gave her less work to do and more time to spend with me!). After she came home to the after-effects of elf-doings the second day, we determined that everyone needs a magical elf who takes care of the little details of life while we’re working on the big issues (saving the world and all that jazz).

And indeed, now that I’ve landed here in Beirut and have had no choice but to head full throttle into my new job and my new life, I’m wishing that I had a little elf (or three) to help me manage the little things while I teach my classes and attend meetings and begin my research. I need them to unpack all the boxes that arrived a week and a half ago (the boxes I sent to myself from Louisville so long ago) while I take day trips around the country (hello Byblos!). I’d like my elves to pester the phone company about getting internet access while I have lunch with new friends. And I’d really appreciate it if they could help me figure out the best and most efficient way for me to get internet at home while I take Kitty the dog for a run along Mediterranean coastline.

I’m strong, independent, and I am definitely single and (very) happy. But I’ve decided that every Oneler, after declaring oneself as such, deserves an elf in the sidelines – someone who can read my mind and anticipate my needs. But … isn’t that what a spouse is supposed to do? Fellow Onelers, what are your thoughts? What would you accomplish if “only” you had a little elf to do your bidding?

— Lisa


1. clofa - October 16, 2011

“isn’t that what a spouse is supposed to do?” Well, from a Lebanese perspective (and I’m sure it’s still prevalent all around the world) that’s what a “wife” is supposed to do. Society is now so advanced that women get to do what men do BUT, men still don’t do what women do (goes to show that women were stuck with all the undesirable work while men got all the credit for being “productive”).
*Getting off my feminist soapbox now*
I would love to have a little elf to do my bidding but the problem is I can’t tolerate someone living with me, so he/she/it has to be invisible or only be here when I’m not, LOL. I’m sure even coupled people need such elves.
I guess the only solution is get different people to do different stuff (a cleaning lady, a secretary, a cook, etc.) but then again, you’d have to be filthy rich!
Lucky you, faster Internet is finally here (it still slow but hey, we’re getting there :))

Onely - November 10, 2011

Clofa, it seems like *everyone* gets other people to do things for them around here! I have a friend who has a maid for four hours twice a week and he complains that he doesn’t have enough for her to do (I say, let her relax b/c she’s paid like s***!).

— L

2. odette - October 16, 2011

I’d love to have an elf to do the housework, take out the trash, laundry and ironing. That would be bliss!

I’ve been debating for a long time about whether or not I should hire a part-time cleaning lady. My major sticking point is coping with someone being in my private space. But as I get older I’m more willing to make accommodations. I’ve been taking care of my own needs since I was 13 (am 40 now) and I think I’m ready for an elf now. 🙂

Onely - November 10, 2011

Hi Odette — I think you should hire a maid!!! I can’t bring myself to do it here in Beirut b/c they get paid about $0.66 per hour (or $5/hr if privately hired). But that was one of the things I was going to “treat” myself to after I got a job in the U.S…. I never did it b/c I ended up here in Beirut 🙂

3. Solitary Diner - October 16, 2011

If you figure out where to find these elves, please let me know. I could use one for all the appointments I need to attend and groceries I need to buy and food I need to cook.

Odette – I’ve had a cleaning person coming in once every 1-2 weeks for the last 2-3 years, and I can say that it’s the single best thing that I do for myself. I’d cut back on eating out and clothing and many other things before I’d give up my cleaning person. It’s absolutely wonderful to come home to an apartment that has become clean without any commitment of time or energy from me.

Onely - November 10, 2011

Love the idea of having a stand-in elf who attends my meetings and appointments for me! That would be so awesome — thanks for the suggestion, Solitary Diner —


4. JHC - October 16, 2011

Two months after moving in (after a year living outside the US) and classes starting, and I still haven’t finished unpacking. I, too, would love a little elf, if even for just a few hours!

Onely - November 10, 2011

Ugh, JHC — totally identify! Hope things have calmed down a bit for you… – L

5. adlin - October 19, 2011

Yep, it would be nice. Years ago, when I traveled weekly, I did get a cleaning service. Loved it. I’m cool with errands on the weekend and am a bit of a control freak when it comes to certain things (like getting cable, etc), but the cleaning thing is definitely helpful.

I don’t currently use a service, but there are times when I think about it ….

6. Stella - October 19, 2011

I had an elf for a while when I was working full time. Despite not having the world’s hugest salary it was definitely worth my while to have someone come in a couple of hours a week and clean my house for me – on Friday so I got to enjoy the clean house for the weekend. Definitely money well spent- see Solitary agrees. Who needs a spouse when you can get an elf. . . oh OK yeah I’d like a spouse too but an elf is something you owe yourself!

Onely - November 10, 2011

Yay! “an elf is something you owe yourself!” Love this philosophy, Stella —


7. Carrie OConnor - October 30, 2011

I wish I had an elf…to be honest, I’m frequently THE elf…nanny elf, laundry elf, kitchen elf, personal assistant elf…where’s my elf??? 😦 Asking Santa for one this year….

Onely - November 10, 2011

Carrie — I hope Santa makes your wish come true! And I hope people appreciate all the elfing you do for them!

— L

8. Re-Orienting My (Onely) Self « Onely: Single and Happy - November 8, 2011

[…] what does this have to do with being Onely? Well, now that I’m finally unpacked (no thanks to the elves, who were MIA all this time), now that I’ve got a relatively predictable (though still hectic) work-life schedule, now that […]

9. moved here - August 31, 2017

moved here

Every Oneler Needs an Elf | Onely.Org: Singles' Rights and Invisible Chronic Illness

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