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Nuclear Families Defy Laws of Physics April 12, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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3 comments

Cute_grey_kittenI want to foster a cat(s), so I signed up for our county shelter’s foster class. Years ago I went through a phase of fostering Special Needs cats–with kidney, skin, urinary, psychological, and projectile snot issues. So I’m no feline foster virgin. But rules are rules, so I have to get my butt in a chair at the class.

But did you know that human rules can override the rules of physics? Yes! Especially when we’re talking about rules of singlism/matrimania/heteronormativity. Check out this paragraph from the orientation letter for the foster class. I don’t even really need to comment on it, because the WTF factor is perfectly apparent. Aw heck, I’m going to comment anyway, because my snark filter is broken:

Apparently, according to our county shelter, spouses and children of potential foster parents don’t take up any physical space in chairs! So they don’t need to RSVP for the class–they can just show up randomly and seating magically appears for them. If I wanted to bring a friend to the class, though, she would have to RSVP because she, as a mere friend, *does* take up physical space and require am actual, non-magical, reserved chair:

Please only RSVP for yourself. If you are bringing your children or spouses (which is allowed – but please be mindful that training room space is very limited, and the presentation is about an hour long), you do not need to include them in the number of people attending. If you have friends who are also interested in the program, they need to fill out the application and wait for an email inviting them to RSVP for themselves.

[Bold and italics are mine.]

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

Single? Then you don’t have money problems with your family or friends March 2, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Billets_de_5000Warning: May contain unsound rhetoric such as rants and name-calling. (Welcome to the blogosphere!)

On the surface, it seems single people are now Cool. For example, the media has been regularly highlighting the importance of singles, especially women, in regards to the U.S. economy and politics. Feminist writer Rebecca Traister’s book All The Single Ladies has gotten many (deserved) favorable reviews from a range of outlets. However, we singles advocates need to not get too comfortable or complacent.  There is still singlist bullpoop out there, in huge steaming piles. For instance, someone is starting a new organization to help people manage money–but only in the context of the nuclear family. The founders declare themselves “a Christian organization” but obviously their “Christian values” only extend to people who have state-sanctioned sex.

How do I know this? I subscribe to a website that solicits help naming various new companies. They regularly announce contests to name new startups, or a revamped doctors’ offices, or what have you. According to an email I received, the above-described financial consultation organization’s goals are to

help families create a strong and healthy relationship with money in their marriages. We are focused on married people and families with young children. . .

and to

help families strengthen their emotional, spiritual, and practical relationship with money. . . think of relationship enrichment and financial advice combined. . .

Because apparently single people don’t have any loved ones they share financial issues with and so don’t need any guidance navigating those murky money waters. According to the founders of this organization, my single cousin doesn’t need help managing the low-interest loan she took from my parents for nursing school; according to this company, as a single person, I  didn’t need help recovering the 500 dollars from a ticket incurred on my car by a former friend of mine; according to this company, only spouses and children pass money between each other, and those are the only financial relationships that need “enriching” (probably no pun intended–I doubt the authors were smart enough).

So why would the founders limit their demographic so severely? Because they’re small-minded, ignorant, and ultimately on the road to self-destruction before they even get started. Given the many federal laws that privilege married people over singles financially, you’d think that maybe singles are more likely to need money guidance (for example, how to pass property or money to a non-spouse without paying a huge gift tax).

The organization says that for their new name, they are “open to both abstract and names that clearly describe who we are”. Ok then! A few suggestions, for names and slogans:

Financial Help from Heteronormaholes

We Tell You Who’s Important

Some Hearts Are More Equal Than Others

Matrimania In Your Wallet

Copious Readers, do you have other suggestions?

–Christina

PS. See also: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/02/political-power-single-women-c-v-r.html by Traister

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

 

 

Singlist Quote Of The Week February 27, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up, Marital Status Discrimination.
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1 comment so far

Let them study, get married, then they can get their own phones.

–Ranjit Singh Thakor, president of the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, speaking about single women.

Per this Reuters article by Rina Chandran), an increasing number of villages in Gujarat and Bihar Provinces forbid girls and single women from having cell phones, because the phones ostensibly “distract them from their studies” or cause them to elope. (No word on why men are not similarly affected by cell phones.)

Hmm, I recall a couple hundred years ago (I’m very old)  when another leader supposedly said of a marginalized demographic:

Let them eat cake!

Whatever happened to her?

–Christina

Singles: Married People’s Poop Pollutes Less Than Yours February 11, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Copious Readers: Just FYI, my long absence from Onely is not because I have lost interest in singles’ issues–on the contrary, I read about them every day in my Google feed–but because I have been sick. I had to focus more on the immediacies of daily life: food, medicine, mortgage, and, ahem, reruns of “Worst Cooks in America” on Netflix. But I was inspired to fight my way back to the keyboard through the pain for you, Copious Readers, to let you know that if you single, you had better get married, because if you’re married, your sh&t don’t stink. 

hqdefaultA tiny article in my parents’ local paper on Thursday, June 18 2015 announced: One Quarter of Septic Systems Found To Be Failing. (It doesn’t seem to be online; but here’s the article that predated it.)

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to read about poop, I explored this issue further, and I found the strangest instance of singlism (discrimination against single people) that I have yet encountered in all my years of writing this blog.

But first, some background: My parents live in a little log cabin on a lake within minutes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Native Americans considered it sacred long before my great-grandparents built a cabin there. My great-grandparents settled there long before the area was named “the most beautiful place in America” by Good Morning America. After that, the park drew increasing numbers of the kind of tourists who had a lot of money, but not a lot of imagination–the kind of people who have to be told where to visit, instead of inspiring themselves with their own research. (Yeah, yeah, bitter much?)

With the resulting crowds and McMansions in the woods (our little cabin is now megavintage), there’s been a struggle to maintain the area’s aesthetic integrity. Nearby Glen Arbor Township became “the first township in [Leelanau] county to require septic and well inspections for properties changing ownership,” according to the article. Failing or poorly constructed septic tanks can contaminate groundwater in a watershed that feeds dozens of small lakes, as well as Lake Michigan.

But here’s the thing:

If you sell the property to your spouse, you do *not* need to get your septic tank inspected.

Your twenty-year-old tank could be leaching poop-laced water into the surrounding earth 24-7, but that’s ok, because if you’re married, your poop doesn’t contain bacteria and toxins that pollute the soil and water tables. Or so it would seem, according to this ruling by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. As soon as you say, “‘Til death do us part,” your colon automatically purges itself of all environmentally toxic and pathogenic micro-organisms and chemicals (which is why wedding clothiers are increasingly offering the Silk Diaper option as an add-on feature to your dress or tux).

Who knew?

–Christina

Photo credit: Jim Duncan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1TZlwKHVo0

 

 

Onely On the Warpath September 7, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action.
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2 comments

"Join_the_Navy_Nurse_Corps"_-_NARA_-_514736

Enlisted sailors go out and get married and have children. Because it works to their advantage.

A well-meaning coworker said this to my close relative–let’s call her Megan Muster–after Megan was finished crying in the bathroom. (Or maybe she was kicking the toilet, I’m not sure.)

Megan is a navy nurse who has spent months deployed to an unpleasant place which we’ll call “Stinky Stress Land”. She recently sent my family an excited email saying she was coming home, and I was set to meet her at a naval base near my house on a certain weekend.

But all that changed when her superior officer, the “Senior Nurse Executive” (SNE)–let’s call her Donkeybreath–told Megan that Donkeybreath was extending Megan’s deployment. Donkeybreath explained that of the three Navy nurses who were eligible for extension, Megan was the only one who didn’t have kids. So she had to stay in Stinky Stress Land.

In her email to my family, Megan said the SNE (Donkeybreath to us) told her the decision “ultimately came down to the person who had the least responsibility at home [italics mine].” At that instant Megan knew what was coming. Donkeybreath said, “LCDR Smith has a son at home, and LTJG Jones has two children. LTJG Muster, I know you don’t have any children at home. I’m so sorry, but I have to extend your Orders”.

Copious readers, I’m sure you can spot Donkeybreath’s many errors in logic. I’ll break them down for any new readers of Onely.org (welcome, and I promise I’m not always this p*ssed off. No, actually I guess I am). Let’s use some of Megan’s own words:

It doesn’t matter to the military that I have a family that I care about every bit as much as the next person.

Onely adds these thoughts: What if Megan had an uncle or a close friend that she was normally caretaker of, as opposed to children? Or what if LTGJ Jones were a closet alcoholic who beat his kids? Wouldn’t the kids be better off if LTGJ Jones stayed deployed and the kids remained with their stable, kind, grandparents?

Doesn’t matter! Not in our nuclear-family-obsessed culture. I’m concerned that our U.S. military is draconian and unimaginative and inflexible. I know we’re not Stalin or Pol Pot for goodness’ sake, but having a limited view of what and who constitutes “responsibility” can only undermine the morale of our troops.

As Megan also said in her email,

It doesn’t matter to the military that I have traditions with close friends that I was planning on.

No, because friendship is deemed less important than blood ties–for no real good reason that I can see. (And those traditions she’s talking about? Some of them include. . . actual children! No, she doesn’t roast them with a splash of cooking wine. For seven years she and her close friend have given kids candy on Halloween–the good stuff, peanut butter cups, not taffy sticks. Yes, gasp! She’s childfree but doesn’t hate kids! Craziness!)

But Megan wasn’t finished with her note yet:

Why should I even sit there and justify to her why my life is every bit as valuable as someone’s who has children? And the poor LCDR Smith who had to sit there and listen to her say this B.S. to me. He was squirming in his chair from the discomfort!

Whoa. Donkeybreath not only committed a crime–illegal discrimination–but she did it in front of a witness! Copious Readers, does anyone out there have legal expertise in situations like this? Any suggestions of what Megan should or could do in this circumstance? There is a law in the U.S. federal code that states it’s illegal to discriminate based on marital status (everyone ignores this law), but I’m not aware of a law that specifically states you can’t privilege breeders over non-breeders.

I’ve never like the word “breeders” much, but I’m using it here because I am so angry. Maybe later I’ll go back and change it to “parents”. Meanwhile, “Breeders breeders breeders breeders breeders!!!!!”

And here’s the O.Henry twist: The extension was “only” for two weeks, said Megan, who continued:

So whatever. I’ll survive. But it’s the principle of the thing.

And moreover, if it’s “only” two weeks, who gives a poop about kids or no kids? The majority of children left home in the States with a spouse or grandparents or whomever are not going to be much affected if their deployed parent stays away another two weeks. After spending months away from the military parent, the children are either fine, or damaged. Two weeks won’t make a difference. So what Donkeybreath should have done to choose between the three nurses for a two-week extension is flip a fvcking coin.

Onely hasn’t posted in a while, because I’ve been sick and just able to attack the daily necessities as life throws them at me: hunger, thirst, work, and–if I and my coworkers are lucky–personal hygiene. But upon receiving Megan’s email I spasmed and roared like a zombie bursting out of the earth, and this post came screaming out of me.

Screamer posts often attract haters and heteronormaholes. Welcome! I look forward to verbally hosing your a$$es, unless you bore me, in which case I won’t bother.

Copious Progressive Readers, I hope some of you will have thoughts on how Megan can proceed after this disappointing interaction with this particular Military Mindset.

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

A-hole or a Hypocrite? Marital Status Discrimination in the Voting Booth November 6, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying., Marital Status Discrimination.
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3 comments

3011331342_e5a2676af5_zHello Haters,

Get your running shoes and start digging your toes into the dirt so you are ready to sprint to the comments section by the end of this post. Though you might want to spare your fingers. You don’t need to tell me how much of an a-hole I am; I already know that and feel bad enough about myself as it is.

Copious Readers,

What would you have done in the following situation? Did I make the right or wrong call?

As you know, we at Onely have been harping since forever about Marital Status Discrimination–which happens when laws and corporate policies favor married people over unmarried. We hate that. So imagine my dismay when I saw that on (U.S.) midterms voting day (Tuesday, November 04, 2014) I would be forced to vote on the Virginia legislature’s House Bill 46, introduced by Delegate David Ramadan (R-87) :

Virginia Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Armed Forces Amendment:

The measure was designed to exempt real property from taxation for any surviving spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces who was killed in action, as determined by the Department of Defense.

It’s always terrible when anyone is killed in action. But when I read about this proposed legislation, I had to think, “But what if the person KIA wasn’t married, but had a very important person (or persons) in their life who filled some or all of the emotional/physical/financial criteria that a spouse might?” All military personnel should be able to choose a person to be exempt from this taxation, should the servicewoman or man be KIA. Otherwise, our government is not only discriminating against unmarried people, but against unmarried people who risk their lives in service of our country.

I sat in the voting booth much longer than normal (meaning longer than thirty seconds) considering whether to fill in the Yes oval or the No oval. I considered voting Yes, because I didn’t want spouses of U.S. servicepeople to have to pay real property taxes if they didn’t have to, because of course it sucks very much that their husbands/wives were KIA, and they deserve whatever recompense the government can/will give them.

However, I also considered voting No, because I didn’t want to support a law that I felt discriminated against single people in our armed forces–first, because discriminating against single people who protect our freedoms is yucky, and second, because I felt I would be a hypocrite given all the writing I’ve done about Marital Status Discrimination.

Yes-No-Yes-No-Yes-No. . . Well, you know those chairs in elementary school gymnasiums are just not comfy for this kind of extended rumination, plus people have an annoying habit of “waiting in line” behind you for you to finish your vote. Eventually I had to decide: should I be an A-hole or Hypocrite?

I chose A-hole. I voted that spouses of people KIA should *not* get those tax exemptions. Yes, I felt like a jerk. But I figured two things: One, there was no way I was going to escape that butt-numbing elementary school chair without feeling like a jerk in one way or another. Two, chances were that most other people would vote Yes on the measure, because like me, they would feel like jerks for voting No. So I could be reasonably sure the legislation would pass even if I took a small stand against Marital Status Discrimination by voting NOPE.

And I was right. The measure passed by 87.1 percent, with 1,829,691 votes.

I’m still not sure about my decision. Had it been any other law favoring married people, there would have been no question on how to vote. But when you get the military involved (I have a number of relatives and friends in the Army and Navy) those boundaries start to become less clear. Thoughts? (Virginia residents welcome.)

–Christina

Photo credit: David Poe, Mockstar

Single and Sick: Nika Beamon Takes It On December 12, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Marital Status Discrimination.
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1 comment so far

Copious Readers,

We at Onely are trying to write more about the issues of being single and sick (health insurance inequalities being one of the main bullsh!t factors creating a more difficult situation for singles with chronic illnesses).

So we were thrilled to see that Bella dePaulo, longtime singles advocate and social scientist, posted a guest article by Nika Beamon about dating and living with a chronic immune disorder.

Read it here.

We also tweeted it, so we request you retweet so that we can get the dialog going!

–CC

 

Operation Singles Saturation: Blogfest2 Celebrates In(ter)dependence July 3, 2013

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Guest Bloggers, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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5172185224_d6e0aae10a_oThis July 4th, as the U.S. celebrates its Independence Day, Onely is joining other pro-singles’ bloggers in a Media Saturation Event to celebrate the independence – and interdependence – of the single life (you might remember our participation in this blogfest about the cost of single life, back in April).

This time, we’re asking you to write, vent, question, and tweet just what In(ter)dependence means to you.

And by “you”, we mean LOTS of you. We at C.L.U.E. (Communications League for Unmarried Equality, consisting of Onely; Bella dePaulo, PhD; Spinsterlicious; and Cindy Butler of the group Unmarried Equality) have worked hard to assemble the BEST and the BRIGHTEST and LOUDEST voices in the progressive singles’ community. So if we haven’t just found you, then join us! If you don’t have the time to compose reams of masterful text about what In(ter)dependence means to you, then get on the Tweet train with these tags:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination. Sprinkle them like fairy dust into your tweets about singleness and in(ter)dependence. (Extra credit if you can combine your hashtags with Haikus!) And if you *do* write a post, make sure to send the link to contact.clue@gmail.com so that we can give you credit.

And now, here are Onely’s deep thoughts about In(ter)dependence:

There are plenty of stereotypes about what it means to be single, and one of the most common is that we “have it easy” because we aren’t responsible for, or to, anyone else. If only! You might even say that the category “single” is an oxymoron – for it’s impossible (or at least unpleasant) to live in this world without relationships of some kinds.

This interdependence, we believe, is something to be celebrated. But when we’re single, we are often (sometimes. . . occasionally. . .) expected to celebrate our independence. Songs have been written about this phenomenon (think Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson). Never mind that this independence is, more often than not, portrayed as a response to previous romantic relationships! Indeed, here at Onely, we’ve made it a point to emphasize – and celebrate – the strength and resilience required of single people in the face of heteronormativity, amatonormativity, and matrimania.

The truth is, though, no matter how strong a single person is – no matter how truly independent any one of us might be – we are supported and strengthened by our relationships with others. Life would be pretty lonely without these relationships. But there’s little space in our culture to celebrate relationships that aren’t SEEPie (Sex and Everything Else Person) relationships, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the many “other” significant relationships that help us feel human.

This blind celebration of independence – oftentimes at the expense of recognizing the value of interdependence – trickles down to our identities as single people. If we have anything to be proud of, Western culture suggests, it should be our so-called “freedom,” our “lack of responsibility” to others, and our apparent “mobility.” We should be. . . Movie Cowboys!

But this attitude devalues the many kinds of relationships that nourish us, and it ignores the reality of our daily lives (income issues, sick family members, roof rot, and, perhaps most challenging, raising a child as a single parent). When we lose sight of the significance of the many different kinds of relationships we enjoy (financial advisor, aunt who cares for her sick niece, the kind coworker who also does insulation and tile work, the neighbor who loves to babysit) it becomes easy to define ourselves, as single people, as somehow weak or lonely.

And that’s a shame. Because there’s something special about being single – and we like to call it Being Onely.

Copious Readers

How does in(ter)dependence

Influence your life?

Remember:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.

— Lisa and Christina

Photo credit: Listen Missy!

The World’s Bitterest Single Woman June 23, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., Marital Status Discrimination, Profiles.
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12 comments

This post is a sort-of sequel to a previous post about bitterness. It’s a long one, but we hope you bear with us.

The World’s Bitterest Single Woman.

Adriaen_Brouwer_-_The_Bitter_Draught_-_WGA3303We here at Onely feel conflicted in writing about this woman. Too often Non-Bitter single people who advocate for single’s rights get accused of being Bitter. And we hate to encourage that logical fallacy. But the thing is, I (Christina) have met this woman in person. And so I must tell.

Copious Readers, hear her story and tell me if you think her bitterness is justified, or self-perpetuating, or creepy, or sad, or whatever jumps to your mind. Also, please skim our conversations and tell me if I could have–or should have–done or said anything more supportive (or chastizing) than what I had to offer at the time.

Note that these interactions happened long before Lisa and I started Onely–so this would be before I knew about singlism, about stereotyping singles, and about marital status discrimination.

I met The World’s Bitterest Single Woman during my grad school period. We had a fiction-writing course together. I also sat across the aisle from her at a reading given by some other graduate students. Upon reflection, perhaps she could also be the World’s Bitterest Single Writer.

In the classroom: It was the first day of class and I’d arrived early. Empty seats stretched to the right and left of me, arranged in a semi-circle. As soon as she walked in I felt her toxic aura. The back of my neck and my torso squeezed into themselves and I clenched my arms to my sides and held my breath. Please please don’t sit near me was my first instinct.  I’m not sure why.

Fortunately as she entered the room she followed the toilet stall/urinal/elevator rule: if there are several open spots, don’t sit/stand right next to the single occupied spot. She wedged herself into a desk several seats away from me and shook out her short hair, white and trimmed in chunky layers that looked self-cut.

The latecomers had to sit next to her. I wondered if they sensed her off-kilterness. My classmates didn’t seem to be leaning over the sides of their desks away from her, as I would have been. Perhaps they did not have my sensitivity, or perhaps I did not have their maturity.  Perhaps I was judgmental, or perhaps I unconsiously smelled on her just a tinge of something that bothered me in childhood (Tang, perhaps).

I will call her Gertie. Gertie was 56 (I discovered later), older than most of us by a couple of decades. She accused (unfairly) my friend Sam of not doing enough historical research. She insisted her own story was funny, even though none of us got the jokes . She wasn’t mean, but she was mean. I couldn’t get a handle on exactly what was wrong with her until (more…)

At What Point Do We Become Bitter? June 4, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Marital Status Discrimination.
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12 comments

jess_walking_away_by_raiyel-d5i0jnsCopious Readers, we at Onely (Lisa and Christina) hate the stereotype of the Bitter Single Woman who has become older without finding a partner. We have fallen victim to this stereotype ourselves, most often when we have spoken too vehemently about marital status discrimination. Have you–male or female–experienced this?

We started this blog with a “Rah rah rah, gooooo singles!” attitude. And we continue to insist that the solo lifestyle (which often isn’t so solo after all!) is a valid one that needs to be more recognized in our culture and especially in our laws.  Single women, single-and-seeking women, and especially even older single-but-seeking women, are not necessarily bitter and sometimes they’re the very opposite.

(You’ll notice I say “women” and not “men”. Although “bitter” is more often applied to women, we would love to hear from men who have been called bitter for defending their unpartnered lifestyles.)

A very close friend of mine whom I shall call Renata said she was worried that if I stayed single, as I grew older I would become “bitter and alone”. Renata remains my close friend only because normally she is an otherwise sensible, giving person. I think her “bitter” comment happened just because I caught her off guard; she told a story and my reaction was not what she expected. Copious Readers, how would you have responded to her tale?

When the army shipped (a verb I always find sort of stupid and scary) Renata’s male friend to Japan, his civilian girlfriend got left behind. But wait! Her army love guy pined and pined for his girlfriend. So he went back on leave, proposed to her, and then they were married! Awww. And then they both got “shipped” (eewwww) to Japan together. ‘Cause they were married.

Renata smiled at the story. And I freaked out.

 THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT! THE ARMY IS USING OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO BUY A GODDAMNED INTERNATIONAL PLANE TICKET FOR THIS WOMAN JUST BECAUSE SHE SIGNED SOME SHITTY LITTLE PIECE OF PAPER.

See, I had forgotten that Renata was not my co-blogger Lisa. If she had been Lisa, I could have inserted far more expletives into that rant and Lisa would have nodded her head in rhythm with the beat of my fist on the table.

AND THAT’S NOT EVEN COUNTING ALL THE TICKETS WE’RE SUBSIDIZING FOR THEIR R&Rs.

Renata’s eyes were huge. But I needed to keep going. I had to.

AND AN UNMARRIED COUPLE DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE JUST AS DEDICATED TO EACH OTHER. PLUS, WHY CAN’T A SOLDIER BRING OVER A SIBLING, OR FRIEND?

Renata suddenly had to go to the bathroom. (To cry? To throw up? To reconsider the overblown role of marriage in our society?) (more…)

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