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The Dangers of Living Alone: Doorknob Edition September 27, 2018

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Gold_doorknob_cropWelcome to the latest installment in our series “The Dangers of Living Alone”.  Although living alone is a privilege, it also brings serious risks–as described in this earlier post, where Christina encountered terror in the toilet. That same bathroom terrorized Christina again just recently, as described below. We hope you can learn from her mistakes.

I never imagined I would hear myself thinking those words, but there they were, loud in my head:

I may have to kick down this door. I may have to kick down this door. I may have to kick down this door.

Copious Readers, if you live by yourself in a house with embedded door latches, here is a list of things you shouldn’t do, in the order in which you shouldn’t do them:

1. Do not say, “My guest bathroom doorknob is ugly. It needs replacing.” No it doesn’t. It is fine. Just leave it.

2. Do not unscrew said doorknob, then remove the handles and bolting mechanism, and then leave the bolt aka spring latch inside the door because you can’t figure out how to remove that part.

3. Do not go to Lowe’s for advice, then return home with your mission unaccomplished because there were working no automated carts available and your legs are too weak to walk all the way to the Doorknob Department. (The weak legs will become important later.)

4. Do not decide that even though the latch doesn’t retract anymore and could theoretically get stuck in the strike plate, rendering the door inoperable, it’s ok, because you will just remember not to close the door the whole way.

5. Do not drink a liter of coconut water, because in your manic sprint to the bathroom you will forget Operation Embedded Latch and slam the door behind you on the way to the toilet.

If you follow these instructions, you won’t find yourself zipping up your jeans and then slowly starting to claw at the empty ring in the locked door where the doorknob used to be. I had several thoughts when I realized I was trapped in the bathroom, all of which essentially amounted to,

I’m gonna die!

“Where’s my phone?” Not in the bathroom. 

“Will someone hear me if I scream?” No.

“Will anyone come looking for me?” Not for a few days. 

“What about the cats?” Yes, good idea! Just shout through the doorknob hole at Theo to retrieve a crowbar. 

“No, I meant what will they eat?” What will you eat? Are you gonna stick your hand through the door hole and grab a cat?

“Can I kick down the door?” You just reamed out the Lowe’s manager for not having working motorized carts for your poor legs, but by all means, do kick down the door. 

“What am I gonna doooooo?” I don’t know. What sort of escape vehicle can you fabricate from a toothbrush, toilet brush, towel, and mauve lipstick?

Days before, in a fit of uncharacteristic craftiness, I had decided to replace the knob on the vanity with a Petoskey stone from Lake Michigan. I’d put the Petoskey stone, bolt, super glue, and a screwdriver in a box next to the toilet, but then my craftiness fit passed and I returned to my normal state of Netflix-induced interia. Now my wide, panicked eyes saw the box. Using the screwdriver, I was able to pry the latch out of the door jam and free myself. In five seconds. This would have been a far better story if I I’d also had to use the stone, bolt, and glue to MacGyver my escape, but survivors can’t be choosers. If that screwdriver hadn’t been in the bathroom, I would still be in the bathroom.

This scenario brings to mind the age-old stereotype of the single person dying and rotting  alone. In the bathroom, I was horrified that no one would miss me right away, either in person or via phone. After I was free, I realized that several people I talked with regularly would have been concerned that I hadn’t checked in. The problem was that they understandably would need a couple days to realize I was dangerously MIA.  A couple days in the bathroom would have been awful, but doable. I had the necessities: water, toilet, bobby pins (all women who are growing out their bangs know what I’m talking about).  The risk seems like a small price to pay for the privilege of living alone–although I might change my mind if I lock myself in the closet during upcoming renovations. Stay tuned.

–Christina

 

 

Coming Home to An Empty (Of Humans) House June 27, 2018

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IMG_4874Copious Readers, do you have the privilege of living alone? If so, what’s the very first thing you do when you Come Home To Your Empty House?

Some years ago, my long-distance boyfriend broke up with me because he was “tired of coming home to an empty house.”  Technically, coming from him that phrase meant, “I have a local woman scoped out to ease my loneliness, but if she doesn’t work out, I’ll come crawling back to you.” But whether you’re looking for an excuse to dump someone or not, “coming home to an empty house” is almost always portrayed as a negative experience. Why is that, when so many people across the world live in too-cramped quarters? The rich/western world’s disdain for “coming home to an empty house” is rooted in privilege. It’s also rooted in our obsession with couples and the nuclear family.

So. Let’s expand how we think about “empty.” Maybe I don’t feel an emptiness when I walk in the foyer because I have plants that need watering. Maybe I have messages waiting for me on my answering machine (for the purposes of this metaphor, travel with me for a moment back to the days of landlines). Maybe I have a friendly ghost. Maybe I’m sick of real people and look forward to sitting down with my Amazon Prime friends of One Mississippi. But mostly, maybe I love coming home to an “empty” house because. . . and here we get to the real reason I’m writing this post:

CATS!

As soon as my door swings inward I start to yodel in that way that all cat people do when they are out of human hearing (and sometimes, when they aren’t). I always start out with, “Hi guize!” This is a gender-neutral form of “guys”, which is necessary because I have two man cats and one woman cat. Then my vocabulary and sentence structure just go downhill from there:

How’s my special treasure trovey muppets? Are you purrs? Hewwo Theo, hewwo Murpity. Yes, kisses! Kiiiiiissssses!! I love you so so much. You are my most special moggie buppets yes indeed. You are like angels in my life forever! Where’s your brother? Where’s Big Al? Is he sleeps? I missed you alls so much. You are so very very specialest to me!

The other day  in the midst of these linguistic acrobatics I realized that I have never, ever greeted any one of my significant other with this much effusiveness. According to Disney (more…)

Want A Green Card? Get Drunk And Throw Glitter! June 5, 2016

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Wedding-TraditionsIn a previous post, I declared our county animal shelter’s seating policy the most bizarre example of singlism I’ve seen.

Now I must amend that statement. The strangest example of singlism I currently know of goes thusly:

Background: My friend Aliza plans to marry to a Sudanese man. They met overseas but are moving to the U.S., which means he needs a green card. U.S. law says he is eligible for a green card if he marries a U.S. citizen.

(First, before I get to the weird part, I’m compelled by the focus of this blog Onely.org to mention that the green card policy is an example of one of over a thousand federal laws that privilege married people–for example, why can’t I choose a good friend to move to the U.S. with me in lieu of a spouse? And no, according to my sources there are no sponsorship programs as in Canada.)

Aliza wants a simple courthouse ceremony. Fair enough, right?

WRONG! The U.S. federal government requires that she submit, as part of the green card application process, evidence of their wedding, including photographs of their wedding ceremony. The blatant implication is that they expect pictures of relatives and friends dressed up, making speeches and getting drunk (though not necessarily in that order), champagne-dusted flowers flying through the air, a white dress, a black tux, and who knows what else the matrimaniacal legislators have in mind when they imagine a “legitimate” union between two people. The implication is that if their photographs are not convincing enough in the “traditional” way, Aliza’s husband is at risk of not receiving a green card.

We’re not sure that shots of me and Aliza wearing sundresses (or maybe sweats–in any case, the bride will wear polka dots) signing papers at a court desk while our respective date and husband stand sober in suits in front of some random photobombers (other couples? speeding tickets?) will make the cut.

–Christina

Photo Credit: The Wedding Band Shop

 

Tell Bill Maher “Singlism” Is a Thing He Should Broadcast April 17, 2016

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Hi Copious Readers,

A few people on the Facebook group Community of Single People (not/not a dating site) noticed that recently Bill Maher used the term “singlism” on his show, but he seemed to think he had just come up with it on the spot. The term “singlism” has actually been around for years (coined by Bella DePaulo to mean discrimination against singles), and we think he should know that–and should be interested in discussing the phenomenon on his show.

Tweet it: @billmaher @realtimers #singlism

Thanks!

–Christina

 

Tackle a Bad Day with This Tip March 24, 2016

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Onely.org is opening a dialogue on the effects of chronic illness on single people. Singles are discriminated against by the government even when they’re healthy. I’ll get into the nasty, nitty-gritty politics later.

Today we offer a Tick Disease Survival Tip:

 

Like many chronic illnesses, tickborne diseases go up-and-down. For patients who can leave their houses, it’s often nerve-racking and overwhelming if you have one, or more than one, errand or social event to attend in one day. You ask yourself, “Will I crash in public? Lose my temper with friends? Keel over in pain in a random parking lot?”

No matter how many loved ones you have in your support circle, you can not just grab one and stuff her in your purse or pocket to comfort you on your spontaneous errand.

What you *can* do is put your best old plush friend from childhood in a Ziploc bag and take him along. Freaking out at the volume level of Hendrix playing in Trader Joe’s? Stabbing pains in your buttcheeks?Just stick your hand in your purse and there’s your little friend. Aw.

If you’re a man, and your plush friend is bigger then a wallet, this may require you use a murse (man purse). But why not? We’re bending the “rules” here in many ways. Wouldn’t it be a better world if adults carried around their teddy bears? 

I had an awesome coworker who brought a bear to work every day. But his bear was dressed in chain mail so he’s bad ass, not babyish. Unlike my little dog Cow Pup pictured above, who wears all the latest trends in Mange.

-Christina 

Marriage–Even The Dead Are Doing It March 21, 2016

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, Look What Google Barfed Up, Uncategorized, We like. . ..
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Even though single people–especially women–are taking the Western world by storm in politics and pop culture, our culture still has an unhealthy (unrealistic) obsession with marriage. Historically, marriage played many different roles in different cultures and this post does not intend to demean all the traditions behind marriages across the world.

Onely.org does, however, feel that marriage’s strong roots in abuse or belittling of women require that we look at the institution closely to see if it still meets our social needs, or how it can be adjusted to be a more equitable institution (IMO: Separ-ate Sex from State!). Or, allow marriage between the dead and the living. Either way, things need to be shaken up.

The below information on GHOST MARRIAGE comes from the very interesting Salon article by Ella Morton.

CHINA:

I am a previously-avowed Sinophile, but I don’t know the current status of the following tradition, so Copious Readers, feel free to weigh in:

The Ghost Marriage tradition (which is supposedly no longer legal, but happens anyway sometimes) developed from (shocker) the patriarchal family structure. When a childless single woman died, she left no one behind to honor her spirit. (Sound familiar? How many of you childfree woman out there have been asked, “But who will care for you when you are old?”) Part of the problem was that the woman’s birth family could not display a memorial for her; it had to be put on an altar in her husband’s home. But no husband, no altar. Solution? Ghost marriage. According to Morton,

A woman’s spirit can be worshipped by bringing her into the family of a husband who has been chosen for her after her death.

 

JAPAN:

I am a new Japanophile (?), having recently started Beginner 101 Japanese and read all about the classic Haiku travelling poets (Issa named himself after the bubble that comes up when you put a teabag in hot water–I plan to rename myself as well a soon as I come up with something half as fantabulous). However, I do not know about the ghost marriage aspect of Japanese history/culture so I’m hoping some Copious Readers can additional provide perspective.

According to Morton, who quotes Bride-Doll Marriage scholar Ellen Schattschneider, people who died early resented the “sexual and emotional fulfillment” they never received through living marriage. (Sound familiar? How many of you unmarried people have been told that you just don’t know what love really is, or that your life is meaningless, or that you aren’t as good at communicating and sharing as married people?) These supposedly  repressed, frustrated single dead people took out their frustrations on the living. Says Schattschneider:

Spirit marriage, allowing a ritual completion of the life cycle, placates the dead spirit and turns its malevolent attention away from the living.

 

(more…)

2 Hopeful Spinsters Web Series Goes Live! August 24, 2013

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Onely is excited to spread the word: After a year of writing, fundraising, filming, editing, tweeting, posting, promoting, emailing, interviewing, planning, blogging, vlogging and repeating…

PART 1 of the new web series, 2 Hopeful Spinsters, is now online! The short film also debuted at the prestigious HollyShorts Film Festival (and they’re a FINALIST for an award!)!!

Congrats to Heather and Dellany for this pro-singles’ web series. We here at Onely think these two are truly talented (and funny!), so we hope you feel the same!

Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel so you’re the first to know when new episodes come out. You can also find them on Twitter (@hopefulspinster; #2HS), Facebook, and on the web at: http://www.2hopefulspinsters.com

Enjoy!

Let’s Rank People: Always-Single, Divorced, Married. Who would you date? May 11, 2013

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My friend Bee’s roommate Dee recently broke up with her boyfriend of several years. Bee’s father stopped by her and Dee’s apartment and, when he happened ask where Dee was, Bee told him she was in her bedroom with her tearful face buried in her laundry pile (dirty or clean, Bee wasn’t sure) listening to Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” on repeat, repeat, repeat.

“I always knew that man was bad news,” Dee’s father said. Now, most people know that that is the the one thing you never, ever say to someone who has just had a breakup. But Bee’s father toed that line, then lept over it:

I knew he was bad news, because he was divorced.

Bee rolled her eyes and thanked god or the universe or whatever that Dee couldn’t hear anything over the Sad, Sad, Song playing in the background.

Copious Readers, your thoughts on this statement? Forgiveable from an old-school, overprotective father?

Before you answer, know that Dee’s dad actually came from a divorced family himself.

As someone myself who has dated some wonderful divorced men, I can’t help but think. . . WTF?

–Christina

Visualize Living Alone: Infographic About This Extraordinary Privilege May 3, 2013

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Copious Readers,

We here at Onely like to experiment with guest posters! We love having them and the interesting perspectives they bring (which may or may not completely jibe with Onely’s optic). Today we are moving from pure text to something a little more visual–an Infographic. This medium is new to us so we’ll be interested in hearing your feedback on both the form and the content, which in this case has to do with the growing trend of Living Alone. Click on the graphic to see the whole image on ForRent.com, an apartment search company exploring this new trend. Normally Onely does not advocate specific businesses, but we believe in companies that consider renting or building alternative housing for non-traditional familes such as single people, and so we appreciate that ForRent has taken notice of single dwellers.

In 1950, only 9% of households had single occupants. Comparing that with today’s 27%, it is easy to see the trend of solitary living. With extending life spans, the average age of marriage slowly increasing and large rises in urbanization, we are on a path that will not be changing in the near future. The economy is in a slow recovery yet, surprisingly, a very small amount of young adults have moved back into their family homes.

In this infographic, we will take a look at some of the other factors influencing Americans to forego residential companionship and instead prefer to live by themselves.

Alone But Not Lonely
“Alone But Not Lonely” infographic designed by ForRent.com

Why Are Single People So Financially Stressed? October 24, 2012

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As you know from our most recent post, money’s been on our mind here at Onely recently. And it’s getting us some press! Check out our very own Christina featured in this story at US News and World Report. She talks about some of the financial challenges she’s encountered as a single woman living in the U.S.

Very soon, we’ll be featuring a guest post by one of our Copious Readers, Scott, whose estimation about how much more singles pay over a lifetime than married people – more than $1 million – was the closest to our estimates!

Cheers,

Lisa

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