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Why My Friend Thought I Was Gay April 30, 2010

Posted by Onely in Dating, Everyday Happenings.
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9 comments

My friend at work told me the other day that he used to wonder if I was gay (I’m not). Why did he start to think that? Because he heard me tell a story where I said, “My friend and I were driving around the other day and happened to find this great Thai restaurant.”

Um. Sounds pretty gay, right? Yeah.

My coworker is a very intelligent, funny, kind person who just happens to get wierd ideas in his head sometimes. In this case, his thought process went like this:

Hm. Christina and ‘her friend’ were ‘driving around’. You don’t usually ‘drive around’ with someone unless you have enough time to spend together to do something totally innocuous and timewasting like ‘driving around’, and that would only happen if you were in a romantic relationship with them. And if she were in a romantic relationship with a man, she would have said ‘my boyfriend’, but because she just said ‘my friend’, her partner must be a woman.

I was interested in his assumption that someone wouldn’t just “drive around” with a platonic friend. Since when did driving around become an exclusive habit for couples?

I don’t actually remember where or with whom I was driving on the fateful day of the Thai restaurant. My mystery friend and I might have not actually been driving around aimlessly at all–I may have just misspoken when telling the story to my colleague. Or perhaps we were driving aimlessly. All carbon footprint discussion aside, I do have some friends with whom I could imagine myself ending up “driving around”. Probably it would have to be a pretty good friend, to be with in such a spontaneous and undirected environment.

Do people tend to think that friendships are not strong enough for such “driving around”, but romantic relationships are? My coworker seemed to feel that way. What other activities do people think are fine for couples, but unusual for friends to do together?

I’ll answer my own question: getting tickets together. Apparently this same coworker became further convinced I might be gay because I sent out an email to some friends inviting them to the D.C. Improv, and I told everyone to get their own tickets, because “Susan and I already have our tickets”.  This was because Susan and I regularly go to the Improv–it’s Our Thing. We get our tickets, and then ask other people if they want to come. But somehow the way I worded the email made my coworker–who really is a lovely person and I feel bad blogging about him behind his back–think that Susan and I were a couple.

My theory is that so many couples overuse the “we” construction that they have effectively co-opted it exclusively for couples’ use, and therefore we single people can’t even use “we” without being presumed to be part of a couple (gay or otherwise).

Christina

Photo credit: Philippe Leroyer

What’s Wrong With Wanting to be Unsingle? October 22, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought.
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15 comments

At the moment, I don’t want to be in a couple. I have weighed the pros and cons of being single as they relate to my current economic, geolocational, social, personal, and physical situations, and I’ve decided that (my perceived) pros of being single outweigh the cons. So I don’t particularly care to pursue a committed romantic ever-after partnership (CREAP) right now.

My friend doesn’t want to be single. She has weighed the pros and cons of being single as they relate to her current situation, and she has decided that (her perceived) cons of being single outweigh the pros. Does this mean that she “can’t be alone” and ought to cultivate that ability? If so, then wouldn’t it be equally (in)accurate to say that *I* “can’t be in a couple” and ought to cultivate that ability?

Should we respect people who *don’t want to* be single–even if they bounce from bad relationship to bad relationship? Isn’t it their choice? Aren’t they choosing what, to them, is the less painful path? To me, being in a bad or so-so relationship is worse than being single, but to them, being single may be worse than being in a bad relationship. Can we categorically say that one choice is better than the other?

In this day, age, and world, being unsingle or “seeking” to become unsingle is the status quo, the accepted denominator, the commonly understood goal, praised as an accomplishment–all in all, it’s probably the easy road (until your wife starts beating you or your husband cheats). Maybe we tend to disrespect people who “want someone” (ie., don’t want to be single) because it seems as if they’re taking the easy way out. But do we really understand their reasons for trying to change their status, in the same way that they often don’t seem to understand our reasons for being satisfied singles?

If someone wants to become unsingle (and they haven’t met someone in particular), I think it’s important for them to articulate to themselves *why* they want a (unspecified) partner. Because it seems easier? Because they think they’ll feel more fulfilled? Less bored? Safer? More able to provide for their children? Or because it seems “the thing to do”?

And even if their reasons seem stupid to us, can we say with moral impugnity that they’re misguided? I’m sure my reasons for currently preferring singlehood–I like to sleep with the light on; I don’t want people around when I’m sick; my hobbies take up all my time–seem stupid to some people.

Also, I have a certain idea in my head about what hang gliding is like. I’ve seen movies of hanggliding, and it looks exhilarating and silent and swooshy.  (Bear with me; I’m getting to a point here.) I want to go hang gliding because–because it seems as if it would add something to my life, give me some good memories, and make me feel good.  Realistically, it might also break my bank account and every bone in my body, but I’m not thinking about that–I still want to go hang gliding.

Is this how my unhappily single friend’s yearning for a CREAP similar to my yearning for hang gliding? If so, who’s to say which one is better?

Copious Readers, do your friends have good, specific, or interesting reasons for wanting to become unsingle? Should we judge them? (Oh yes, it’s fun to judge them, but should we?)

–Christina

Note: In this post I’m talking specifically about pursuing a CREAP  for the sake of having a CREAP. If I or my friend were to stumble across Mr. Apparently Perfectly Right, then we would probably at the very least have to reevaluate our pros and cons. Also, I know that the acronym seems somewhat charged to the negative, but it’s a handy acronym, and also I think a little negative charging in this couple-crazed world won’t hurt anything.

P.S. Thanks to The Truth About Mating for getting me thinking about this topic.

Funny Friday: Please Don’t Promise Me Forever August 21, 2009

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, As If!, Dating, Food for Thought.
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6 comments

Welcome to the first intallment of our new Funny Friday series. Today we are looking at a 1976 Hallmark booklet, “Please Don’t Promise Me Forever“. The Rotating Corpse discovered and posted this gem, which explains how to have a happy relationship by following a series of directives beginning with “Please don’t. . .”  Rotating Corpse commenters seem divided on whether the text of the booklet is dickish or loving. I think either way it’s hilarious. What do our Copious Readers think?

The booklet shows a series of pictures of a couple wearing vests, elaborately knotted scarves, or poofy sleeves. The blond woman and mustachioed man are shot in various states of fun couple activities, such as wading in a stream, playing Monopoly, and staring soulfully over the side of a bridge, as if looking for their Pooh Sticks. Some of the advice is actually quite sensible. But mostly the reader–after she stops laughing–comes away feeling as if the pair has a somewhat sickly, passive-aggressive love.  Some key lines in the text are:

Please don’t promise me forever./ I want us to love each other one day at a time / Instead of trying too hard and promising too much.  (more…)

The World’s Oneliest House July 29, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, I want to..., single and happy, solo travel.
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4 comments

Point Lookout Lighthouse in Maryland is the world’s oneliest house. It sits on a rocky outcropping that juts into the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. I went there with my paranormal investigations group (a story for another blog at another time), and it’s a truly spooky, isolated location. But that’s not why it’s a onely place. What struck me about the lighthouse was that it had been modified so that two keepers’ families could live there together. A wall was built down the center of the house. The wall turned into a railing that crossed  the front porch and went right down the middle of the short staircase leading from the lawn to the front of the house. The house had two front doors on the porch, one on each side of the railing. The two families could walk up their respective sides of the steps and enter their respective mirror-image houses, dine in their mirror-image dining rooms and sleep in their respective bedrooms, and never cross paths except in one shared alcove to which they each had lockable doors. That alcove accessed the spiral staircase leading to the light tower.  (more…)

First, Do No Heteronormativity: Onely at the Doctor’s July 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Dating, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
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13 comments

My new doctor’s office provides holistic care based on an assessment of the patient’s physique, mentality, and life circumstances, as opposed to just treating isolated symptoms. It’s a progressive office, so I was intrigued to read this question on their patient intake form:

Are you?               [ ] married        [ ] divorced  [ ] widowed  [ ] single     [ ] in a supportive relationship? (more…)

Worldwide Onelers: Afghanistan July 3, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, Honorary Onely Awards, We like. . ..
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4 comments

In this NPR Morning Edition broadcast, an Afghan woman randomly dialed numbers until a young man picked up at the other end. Over several weeks they exchanged multiple giddy phone calls, talking about their lives and eventually becoming boyfriend and girlfriend–but always and only over the telephone. Eventually their calls tapered off, but for a while they defied the convention in Afghanistan, where according to the broadcast single men and women just don’t mingle. 

I got to thinking how privileged we all are here in the U.S. (and other places) to actually have a choice of whether to be single or not. (more…)

Secret Lives of the Happily Single: Laundry Edition June 8, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Everyday Happenings, Great Onely Activities, Secret Lives of the Happily Single.
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25 comments

images-1Welcome to the first installment in our new series, Secret Lives of the Happily Single. Singlehood is mysterious and secretive in many ways. Happy singles take on an almost shaman-like aura in our culture, as if we must know things that the rest of the world doesn’t. (Don’t we?)  In SLOTHS, we aim to talk about the more private, mysterious, and sensitive aspects of being single and satisfied. In this edition, we talk about laundry.

The secret lives of the happily single can include sex. The secret lives of the happily single can also include unhappiness (happy singles sometimes feel we have to hide unhappiness, even if it’s not related to our relationship status). And our secret lives  also include Great Onely Activities that seem almost too silly, petty, or trivial to use as a “real” excuse for why we love being single. That is what this post is about.  (more…)

Sex, So What? May 29, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Dating, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, sex.
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25 comments

celibacy2On the heels of  Lisa’s dealbreakers post that talked about Involuntary Celibacy (a term that we may define differently than others do), we wanted to discuss Indifferent Celibacy.  As Bella DePaulo said in her recent sex post ,

Those who simply care less – or not at all – about sex are marginalized by contemporary sexual norms.

I postulate that it’s easier to be happily single if you don’t care about sex. Just like it’s easier to be skinny if you don’t care about marzipan.

Of course, people will ask, “What kind of a repressed person doesn’t want marzipan at least once a month?” or “Don’t you know that inadequate intake of marzipan leads to intellectual and physical stagnation?”

But Freud is dead, people.

I am pretty indifferent to sex. (more…)

The Sex Post, Part Deux: Dealbreakers May 26, 2009

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Dating, Food for Thought, sex, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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11 comments

Hi everyone,

Thank you for the many thoughtful and thought-provoking responses to my most recent post about the possibilities of having a sexual partner but making it clear that I want to remain unattached. It turns out that Bella DePaulo also published a sex post on her blog the same day about the many assumptions that are made about sex and the single person (thanks, Singlutionary, for noting our post on the comments over there!). One of the issues that has come up in previous comments on her blog, as well as in DePaulo’s most recent post (and comments from some of Onely’s regular readers), is the reality that many times, those of us who actually desire sex (and not all single – or married – people do) do not necessarily have it. Some call this being “Involuntarily Celibate,” or InCel for short. Which is exactly my status most of the time, when I don’t happen to know anyone who would be up for a little uncommitted rendezvous now and again.

So, this got me thinking about the many reasons I have (most of the time) for not actively attempting to hook up with friends, complete strangers, or the friend-of-a-friend. I’m the kind of person who notices when there’s a spark, and I’ve certainly had opportunities to pursue casual encounters, but most of the time (with this last weekend the rare exception), I simply don’t bother trying.

Because, you see, there are these dealbreakers that generally keep me InCel (some are for real; some are petty indeed): (more…)

The Sex Post! May 25, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Just Saying., Secret Lives of the Happily Single, sex, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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15 comments

So, dear readers, as the title of this post suggests, I am going to write about being single, having sex, and remaining unattached. Some (like Australian blogger Brian at Fitzroyalty, who mentioned us in this provoking post a couple of months ago) might say that this post is long overdue, but I was waiting for inspiration, and I finally got it — in the form of a surprising hookup this last weekend with a guy I have known, through friends, for some time and who is recently single.

You see, I have not had sex for almost a year — not because I didn’t want to, but because I have been a) really busy with school, and b) unable to meet guys who were not only attractive, interesting to be around, and funny, but who also seemed like they would not assume that having sex meant we were dating seriously (yes, I realize how strange that sentence sounds — but trust me, guys over age 25 in my part of the world — especially academia — are surprisingly conservative in this regard).

So this last weekend’s adventure was a pleasant surprise, and although I like him, I am not interested in dating him (we were out with mutual friends, not on a date, this weekend). I am only interested in having a fun/casual relationship, and I am hoping that’s all he’s interested in too. Honestly, though, I have no idea how to find out, because, like a gentleman, my new friend has already been in touch and wants to see me again. (more…)

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