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The Great Facebook Relationship Feeding Frenzy December 12, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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34 comments

Or, Your Relationship Status Is (Apparently) Everyone’s Business.

To the left, you see the results of a little experiment I conducted recently on Facebook (if the Spanish throws you off, my apologies! It’s how I learn other languages. And you get the point). I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now: I’m always astounded by the amount of attention other people receive when they really are in new relationships (or engagements or marriages) and publicize the info on Facebook…

My hypothesis: Changing your relationship status on Facebook will garner more attention than anything else you’ve ever posted.

(Tentative) Conclusion: YES.

So I finally did it, and voila! Not only did my relationship-status-change draw the responses you see here (3 unqualified “likes” and 11 comments), but I also received three inquiries via text message, five private messages from friends wanting to know the “scoop,” and even one question about it at the end of an otherwise-serious phone call with my little brother. Considering I only have 130 “friends” on Facebook, that’s a pretty decent amount of attention — certainly much more than I’ve ever managed to solicit from anything else I’ve done on Facebook.

What’s more, two of the private messages were sent from friends who I haven’t seen or spoken to in the last six months, and although I replied graciously and honestly to their inquiries (I told them both it was a joke, sorry to disappoint (!!), told them a little bit about my current life and asked them about theirs), I haven’t heard from either of them since and it’s been almost a week. The message I’m getting from this silence? A relationship-status change is everyone’s business. And if you make it a joke, people will get angry.

It wouldn’t be fair, however, if I didn’t give kudos to many of my friends. You can probably guess from some of the published comments who knows about Onely and who doesn’t (see Carrie, Lisa [not me], Paulina and Kimberly). What’s more, some of the private messages and texts I received were from close friends who actually know me in my everyday life and imagined it was a joke but wanted to be sure I wasn’t hiding a secret life from them.

The problem is, this experiment is flawed because my FB friend base is biased (my real-life FB friends know about and appreciate my pro-single status), and some of them even knew I was thinking about the experiment in advance.

So I’m hoping that you, Copious Readers, will be willing to add to the data by conducting the experiment on your FB pages and report the results here (if we get enough of a response, I’ll write a follow-up post about it).

Here’s what I’d like to know: (more…)

Please Don’t Ask Me Out. June 24, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Dating, Food for Thought, Just Saying..
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20 comments

No really, I mean it. It’s not only because I don’t find you attractive, or because you’re 15 years (or more?) older than me, or because starting a relationship is nowhere on my to-do list.

It’s because, when I signed up to be a member of this public hiking group, I did so specifically because it was not geared toward singles, nor did it seem to be grounded on the premise that “meeting people” really meant “finding someone to date.” I signed up because the group already had 800+ members on its roster, so I thought I would enjoy relative anonymity and wouldn’t stand out as “fresh meat.” I looked forward to meeting new and interesting people at each hike (one of whom turned out to be you), but I also liked knowing that I wouldn’t feel pressure to attend every event or make friends unless I wanted to. More than anything, all I really wanted was to enjoy the Great Outdoors with like-minded people.

I definitely wasn’t looking for a date. (more…)

Neurotic or Not? You decide! March 1, 2010

Posted by Onely in Great Onely Activities, Just Saying., Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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18 comments

I am an incredibly private person when it comes to the bathroom. So private, in fact, that even though I live alone, when my dog is anywhere around the bathroom when I am about to use it, I make her either leave the room or close the door completely.

So, when Christina mentioned last week in an email to me that one of her cute new kittens SAT ON HER LAP while she used the bathroom, I was, quite frankly horrified. Here is the transcript of the email conversation that followed:

Me: “ewwww, i would SO never let an animal sit on my lap or anywhere near me while i was peeing!!! that’s so disgusting — definitely a Onely activity.”

Christina: “There is no ‘let’ with cats. If they want to sit on your lap when you are on the toilet, they just jump up there before I know it’s coming. This morning Theo used his claws to get leverage.”

Me: “it’s called SHUTTING THE DOOR to the bathroom!”

Christina: “huh? What is this door-shutting of which you speak? I believe I remember something like that from many years ago when I used to live with other people. . .”

I hate the thought of anyone (or any thing if you don’t think animals are people too) watching or listening to me while I’m on the toilet — which I realize might be understood as slightly extreme, but I’m okay with that because it’s better than the alternative — a dog sniffing my crotch or a kitten clawing my legs while I’m totally exposed and relatively helpless. But while I think Christina is totally crazy for being so open with animals, she thinks I’m strangely prudish.

We made fun of each other for a while, but it seems that neither of us can muster the rhetorical skills necessary to convince the other that she’s nuts… So, we’d like you, Copious Readers, to settle the debate: Who’s the neurotic one? Me, her, or somewhere in between (no hard feelings, we promise)!

— L

photo credit: EyalNow

Another Reason Institutionalized Couplehood SUCKS October 7, 2009

Posted by Onely in Academic Alert!, As If!, Just Saying., Look What Google Barfed Up.
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20 comments

Because it breeds sexism!

According to an 11 August 2009 article in USA Today, fifty percent of Americans think that a woman should be required by the federal government to take her husband’s last name

How. F&king. Scary. The institution of marriage–and I’m talking about the federally sponsored institution–allows people to put men and women in boxes according to roles defined hundreds of years ago, when things were very different in society (no good birth control, no good jobs for women, no IPod Nano). 

The study was done by researchers from Indiana University and the University of Utah, who asked “about 815 people a combination of multiple choice and open-ended questions to come up with the find”. The USA Today article doesn’t say exactly who the respondents were. My sister–possibly in an attempt to get me to stop hyperventilating–pointed out that given the involvement of U of Utah, there might have been a large number of Mormons participating, which would possibly skew the results toward a more conservative view of gender roles (not that we know much about Mormonism). 

I’m afraid it’s more likely that the researchers–presumably not fools themselves–selected from a relatively wide demographic more representative of the nation than, say, Mormon college students. I wanted to do the Bella DePaulo thing and go to the original study, but I couldn’t find it after a search of ASAnet and EBSCO and U of Indiana, and I was too weak from the hyperventilating to continue looking further. If anyone knows where  I can go to read the original study write-up, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be forced to continue to view 50 percent of my country’s population as ignorant dinks. Help help! 

And lest you think I’m being a little harsh, check out some of these quotes from survey respondents, as related to the New York Daily Mail by lead researcher Linda Hamilton: 

When the respondents were asked why they felt women should change their name after the wedding, Hamilton says, “They told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family. This was a reason given by many.”

“They said the mailman would get confused and that society wouldn’t function as well if women did not change their name,” Hamilton says.

“Asked if they thought of a lesbian couple as a family, those who believe that women should take their husband’s name are less likely to say yes,” she says. “If you’re more liberal about the name change issue, you tend to include a larger population in the definition of family.”

According to the USA TODAY article, Hamilton, a sociology researcher at Indiana University, found the finding “really interesting”. She makes an excellent point: “Because [the name change issue] is not politicized, people just answer the question without really thinking about it. It sort of taps into people’s views about all kinds of things.” Did the survey yank back the veil of political correctness and reveal the pock-marked face of America? Ok, that’s a slightly sexist metaphor, but at least I’m not saying the pockmarked bride should be required to take her husband’s name!  

My ex-boyfriend R said that if we got married, he’d want me to take his last name as a sign of caring and commitment (or some such). I disagreed and fortunately the conversation–which remained relatively light–wandered to  other topics. R was raised in a conservative household (they watched Rush Limbaugh), and although he eventually moved much further leftward, obviously he was not as far left as I was on women’s issues.

Copious Readers, here are your discussion questions: Do you know how to find out who the 800+ study respondents were? Should more women be encouraged to keep their last names? Why don’t more men change their last names to express care and commitment toward their wives? When a gay couple gets married, does one person change their name and if so, how do they decide who? If not, then can we use these gay couples as examples of how to avoid logistical difficulties in a two-name family? If one train leaves from New York travelling west at 50 m.p.h. and another train leaves Houston travelling northeast at. . .  

Christina

But Who Will Kiss My Broken Cheek? October 3, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Just Saying..
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18 comments

From friends, teachers, blogs, magazines, newscasters, and our inner monologues we hear about how much work it is to maintain a healthy committed romantic relationship. We seldom hear about how much work it is to maintain a healthy network of friends and family. I worry sometimes that  I’m not doing a good enough job of cultivating a friends-and-family support system. Is this the enlightened-single’s equivalent of worrying about not getting married, as in, “Oh no, if I don’t have enough good friends I will die alone and be eaten by cats!”?  I have a lot of friends here in the D.C. area, but I don’t know who I could call if I fell down and broke my face. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see my bloody boogers. 

Singles advocate and social psychologist Bella DePaulo (who recently guest-posted on Onely!) often mentions how single people tend to have wider networks of friends, cultivate more and varied relationships, and participate more in community activities. Singles build and use a sort of social scaffolding that couple-centric relationships often don’t have. Here’s one of DePaulo’s quotes along those lines (explaining why a study shows that always-single people are healthier than previously-married people):

Perhaps people who have always been single maintain a more diversified relationship portfolio than the married people who invest all of their relationship capital into just one person. Maybe single people have friendships that have endured longer than many marriages. Maybe they attend to those friendships consistently, rather than stowing them on the back burner while focusing on The One. 

Lately I’ve been reading these kind of things and thinking, “Oh crap, my friends-and-family network isn’t diversified enough, or strong enough, and gosh darnit, I don’t volunteer much (er, at all).” Forming and nurturing relationships with close friends, regular friends, new friends, nuclear family, extended family takes a lot of time and energy. If you want your support network to be strong enough so that it is really there for you if you fall down and break your face, then you need to have paid your dues–to have put in your own emotional and supportive energy. This involves calling friends, writing thoughtful emails, asking how they are, listening, scheduling, remembering birthdays perhaps. It requires most, if not all, of the same efforts that go into remaining “tight” with a spouse or sig other, with the difference that as a single person you’re making those efforts many times over.  

If you can pull this off, great. It’s better to (as Bella said) have a diverse portfolio of relationships to fall back on if needed. That way, when you break your face, you might have a calm driver to take you to the emergency room with your broken face, a foodie to make you soup, a gentle friend to kiss your bruised and broken cheek, and  a comical buddy to make you laugh–but not too hard because that irritates your shattered septum. This system may be much better than relying on one romantic partner to fill all these roles, especially if he trips over you and breaks his face too (because then what do you do?).

In my “circles” of friends and family, I have married couples, non-married but exclusive couples, and singles. The former are quickly outnumbering the latter. This phenomenon results in the timeworn singles’ lament, “My coupled friends don’t have time for me anymore”. I’ll see those lamenters and raise them one: “Even my single friends don’t have time for me anymore!” Well, this is not really true. My friends have time to email and Facebook me. They just don’t seem to have time to return my phone calls. I’m torn whether to blame our new cyber-obsessed society or the fact that maybe I “give bad phone” as the saying goes. I have six friends who haven’t returned calls I placed to them, ranging from a week ago to a couple months ago. Yet they all respond regularly over email, usually with some kind of plans to meet up in the near future. Perhaps I “give good email and in-person”, but not good phone? 

If someone doesn’t want to return my innocuous phone calls, how can I ask them to help me when I’ve just fallen and broken my face? I can’t.  Which is why I worry about the state of my support network, which as a single person is supposed to be legendary and far-reaching. And perhaps mine is, except it’s been watered down by a preponderance of superficial electronic interactions–time-filling but emotionally unnutritious, the refined sugar of relationships. 

Most people would balk at a committed romantic partnered relationship consisting mostly of emails, tweets, and phone calls with the occasional get-together-in-person lunch. Yet this is considered fine for even close friendships. That is because people are expected to call their spouse or their boy-girlfriend if they break their face (or maybe a parent, if one is available). So partnered people put a lot of effort into making sure their other half loves them enough to lift them off the sidewalk and stop the bleeding. But what do single people do about a broken face when they don’t have–or necessarily want–that kind of partner and they haven’t been able to keep up a support network beyond emails and occasional meals, either because their friends are busy with their partners, or satisfied with cyber communications, or think the single person gives bad phone? 

–Christina

What’s in Your Bed? September 11, 2009

Posted by Onely in Just Saying..
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19 comments

I read somewhere that if you’re single, you should always sleep in the middle of the bed. This is good feng shui because it represents that you’re complete in yourself. By sleeping in the middle of the bed, you distract the universe from the pooling vortex of singlehood angst and thwarted couplehood that an empty half of the bed attracts (and God help you if you sleep next to an unused pillow).

So I sometimes feel guilty for sleeping on the side of my bed, as if I am not an enlightened single.

I have three beds: single, full, and a king-sized.  If I sleep in the middle of the full one, how am I supposed to reach the nightstand light? If I sleep in the middle of the king, then getting up in the darl to pee becomes like a fouled-up arctic expedition as I stumble on all fours over lumps of chilled comforter wondering, “Which way is the bathroom?”

But I manage to fool the universe and quiet the vortex by filling that empty space beside me with other things. At various times, and sometimes simultaneously, I have had in my bed the following pleasure items (yeah, all you readers who found this blog via searches for “nut sucking” wish it were going to be that kind of post): (more…)

The Privilege of Living Alone September 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy.
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31 comments

To our regular readers, it is obvious that one of the main reasons why Christina and I started this blog was to resist and subvert cultural stereotypes that flatten (in mostly negative ways) what it means to be single. Most of our concerns run in either one of two directions — either providing positive examples of people (ourselves or others) who are happily single, or providing examples (and then rebutting them) that illustrate the (dismaying) prevalence of negative assumptions about single people that continue to abound in our everyday lives.

Rarely, however, do Christina and I write about how being single might be understood as a privilege. The reason we rarely describe our lives in this way is because this would promote a value-system that suggests that people who prefer coupling are somehow less valuable than people who are single. We hope it’s clear that our point on Onely is not to promote single living to the detriment or exclusion of others — rather, we simply want to point out that our lives are valuable too — against all the negative stereotyping that goes on around (and about) us.

But I’ve got to admit: I really do think that living alone is a privilege.

(more…)

Onely Fights Office Singlism! Kind of! July 15, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings, Heteronormativity, Just Saying., Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy.
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23 comments

I forget the context of our conversation, but at one point my coworker mentioned that single people don’t have any responsibilities. Now, before you send out the tar-and-feathering mob, loyal Copious Readers, let me say that this is one of my favorite coworkers and he has a knack for making out-of-place, over-the-top generalizations. But still, I felt the need to correct his statement.

“Single have responsibilities!” I said. “I have a mortage. And. . . and. . . a cat.” I winced. The C word seldom helps in a singles advocacy argument. But in the moment, I couldn’t think of any other responsibilities! Because to be honest, I am so enamoured of my independence that the feeling of freedom sometimes overshadows my to-do list. But Lisa rattled off  my responsibilities to me later, in an email. She said we have “pretty much the same responsibilities as everyone else!” But for once I disagree with my intrepid co-blogger. (more…)

You Might Be A Heteronormahole If. . . July 1, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying..
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28 comments

As our Copious Readers know, Onely invented the term “heteronormahole,” but we’ve never defined it — until now. So, in case you’re worried we’re talking about you (hint: if you’re reading this blog, this possibility is HIGHLY UNLIKELY), here’s a list to help you sort it out.

You Might Be a Heteronormahole If:

1. The first question you ask a person you haven’t talked to in some time is, “So, are you seeing anyone?” (you also might be a heteronormahole if this is the second question you ask).

2. You’re a waiter and you scowl when a one-top walks in. (more…)

Animal … Marriage? June 4, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying..
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3 comments

By posting this, I by no means intend to poke fun at another culture’s beliefs or traditions — but I found this particular bit of news quite fascinating, especially in light of my most recent post about animals, sex, and heteronormativity. Who knew that frogs could be married … by humans? And that including them in the tradition of marriage would bring rain?

Enjoy! — Lisa

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more about “Animal … Marriage?“, posted with vodpod
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