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Onely Commits Amatonormativity Twice In One Conversation December 20, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Great Onelies in History, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
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For a blog that for years has been waving its bloggy arms and screaming about how our world is largely set up for couples, especially hetero couples, and about how they are privileged at the expense of other kinds of loves and families (this is what we mean by amatonormativity, sometimes also called heteronormativity), we at Onely sometimes screw up and act just as badly as the people, governments, and organizations we critique.

And by “we”, I mean me, Christina. I don’t believe my coblogger Lisa, who is much more in tune with peoples’ feelings, has ever been so gauche as myself.

But first some background, in defense of my recent episodes (yes, plural!) of amatonormativity:

–For years my friend Natasha has been looking for the love of her life. The perfect man. She’s suffered many breakups, after one of which she told me, “He was my everything!” When I explained that, in fact, she also had a cat and parents and siblings and friends and a house and a job, she gave a surprised little “O!” with her mouth in that same shape. As if that had never occurred to her.

–For years she talked about how she was tired of being “alone”. For years I tried to talk her out of this need she felt to be part of a couple. Find yourself first, I said. Just do things you like and be happy and it will happen. Go on the internet if you are truly in a hurry. It increases the statistical likelihood that you’ll meet someone compatible (or get killed). Lots of my friends have met this way (and even lived to get married).

Eventually I just stopped trying to Onelify her. I started wishing she would find a stable boyfriend. (That is, opposite the one in college who played basketball and one night said he was being a snippy asshole to her after one game because his team had lost, and they had to act sad and upset.) She was crankier when she was single. If she was single and I wan’t, then she got crankier at me. Then she wanted kids. I wished she would find a partner because obviously it was important to her. My bloggy diatribes about living single and confident and proud were not for her, and I finally accepted that.

SO then the other day we were talking on the phone and Natasha said she was going to an Italian speaking meetup that night. So I said, “Great!”

Do you think there will be any eligible bachelors there?

(First, who still uses the term “eligible bachelors”? Me apparently.)

Natasha was silent for a moment. “No, it looks as if it’s mostly women. But I can never make enough good girlfriends.”

Huh? Who are you and what have you done with Natasha?

I (more…)

Recommended Reading: The Last Conception September 13, 2014

Posted by Onely in book review, Reviews.
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Gabriel Constans. The Last Conception. Melange Books, LLC. White Bear Lake, Minnesota. 2014.


51OayA6JBeL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_To my mother. To my wife. To my husband. Authors commonly dedicate their books this way. Nice, but boooring. (To everyone, that is, except the mother, wife, or husband.)

Gabriel Constans dedicates his book The Last Conception

To Love, in all its manifestations.

We here at Onely are interested in all aspects of the single experience and particularly like to learn about single people from different backgrounds than ourselves (Lisa and I self-identify as white, upper-middle-class, agnostic, heterosexual women). The beginning of Constans’ novel allows us into the world of single scientist and first-generation Indian-American lesbian Savarna, whose parents–still unaware of her sexuality–have been pressuring her for years to marry and give them a grandchild. Any unmarried, child-free reader whose parents have pressured them in this way will wince along with Savarna as her parents become increasingly fervent in their matchmaking–all while Savarna is trying to figure out her relationships with two different women. (I refer to her as “single” because initially she is not part of an “official” couple.)

Appropriately, as an embryologist Savarna spends her working hours manipulating eggs and sperm to help women conceive. She herself, however, doesn’t feel the tick-tock of her biological clock. If she did, this book wouldn’t exist. (Or it would be very boring.)

The Last Conception teaches that Indian culture places even more importance on marriage and childbearing than U.S. culture. So we have several layers of tension going on throughout the story:

–Savarna the happily childfree woman vs. her grandchild-wanting parents

–Savarna the American vs. her Indian parents

–Savarna is not religious, but her parents who travel to India once a year for some ceremonious gathering that Savarna has never attended and vaguely considers cultish

–Then there is lesbian Savarna vs. the heterosexual world her parents inhabit (though from habit as opposed to bigotry)

–Even Savarna and her closest girlfriend have differing opinions on commitment and children

–Savarna is torn between loyalty to herself and to her parents–whose constant nagging about reproduction, we soon discover, stems not from desires to pinch bubble cheeks or see if their grandchild has their eyes, but something far more weighty.

Through the course of the book these subtle battles wage, peak, resolve and eventually weave together into an ending so satisfying I really wish I could share it here. I’m afraid to say much more because I don’t want to put out any Spoilers. Let’s just say that ultra right-wing conservatives would hate this book, especially the conclusion. (All the more reason to read it!) One of our favorite words here at Onely is amatonormative, which means the normalizing of a few specific kinds of love relationships while marginalizing all others. The Last Conception kicks amatonormativity in the a$$.

Which is why it gets one thumb up from our blog. The other thumb is busy turning the pages for a second read-through.


Attack of the Heteronormative Turtle Keepers! June 27, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature.
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We here at Onely feel confident that you have never seen a blog post with this title. But get used to it. Heteronormative turtle keepers (HTKs) are in the news lately. They’re trying to impose their couple-centric worldviews onto their amphibian friends, and no one (except us) questions whether the HTKs are out of their minds–least of all the media, who love this stuff:

Some turtles “divorce,” others are “lonesome” – at least according to two news stories that have been published over the last month. First, Bibi and Poldi, giant turtles at an Austrian zoo, are apparently getting a “divorce” after 115 years together. Beirut’s The Daily Star laments:

The world’s oldest marriage looks like it has come to an end.

What’s more:

Management at the Austrian zoo in Klagenfurt tried everything – from couples’ counseling to feeding them romantic mood food to getting them to play games together, but to no avail.

Which begs the question, What the hell constitutes romantic turtle mood food, and where can we get some for our. . . uh, never mind. It also begs the question, Why must the media and keepers anthropomorphize these poor turtles? Actually, what the articles have done is dizzyingly weird, albeit great Onely fodder: they’ve created a misrepresentation within a misrepresentation. These stories attribute arbitrary human habits to turtles (lonesome, divorced) and then within that paradigm they tack on stereotypes about those human habits (single=lonesome, divorced=worse than married).

Man-made heteronormativity is bad enough – surely we don’t have to infect Mother Nature too? Despite their caretakers’ not-at-all-bizarre behavior, Bibi and Poldi never did reunite, nor even play games. As the saying goes, Turtles that play together, stay together. Obviously Bibi and Poldi didn’t try hard enough to keep the spark alive. Now all the other (coupled) turtles in the zoo will be saying that (now single) BiBi is irresponsible with tons of free time, and that (now single) Poldi can’t commit and eats TV dinners while standing up at the kitchen counter (not always a bad thing, in our opinion). (more…)

Onely Commits Heteronormativity (Again) April 5, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity.
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I’m beginning to worry I’m a subconscious heteronormahole, one of those annoying people who frame everything in the world in a hetero couple matrix. Regular readers will recall that in the past I’ve made unintentionally singlist or heteronormative remarks about housing and parenting.

Well, folks, I did it again. Recently I saw a hypnotist for assistance with handling medical issues, but as you know these guys are famous–in TV world at least–for dredging up all sorts of nastiness from the subconscious. Even. . . heteronormativity in a woman who has spent her blogging career railing against couple-maniacs and calling them names?

What happened was: The hypnotist sat me in a fluffy recliner. To the right of me was a matching fluffy recliner. In the tiny room, the recliners were the centerpiece and the empty chair to the right of me was very close and very obvious.

“Why do you have two chairs here?” I asked, after the session. I was groggy. (After all, I had just spent fifteen minutes being told to relax and visualize happy stuff. )  “Why? Do you hypnotize couples together? Like therapy?”

“No.” She gave me the same look I would have given myself, had I been completely lucid. “Sometimes friends want to do it together. Often coworkers. Not so much couples, at least not for therapy.”

Of course. Why would two chairs automatically suggest a couple to me? Why wouldn’t any number of other combinations of peoplehood want to try hypnosis together? Copious Readers, what would you have thought if you’d seen two chairs close side by side in a small dim hypnotist’s office?


Photo credit: the-hypnotic.blogspot.com

Heeere Comes the. . . Single Wedding Guest? July 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Guest Posts.
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Onely likes guest posts by other writers who think about singles’ issues. The views expressed in our guest posts may or may not reflect Onely’s views, but we are always interested to hear from other singles advocates. Today’s post is by Autonomous, a regular reader and insightful commenter at Onely:

Wedding season is in full swing again, and the invitations are starting to arrive. While fewer in number the older I get, it seems to me that couples marrying for the first time in their 30’s to early 40’s have more grown-up tastes, more money to spend, and thereby the cost of attending their nuptials is more expensive as well.  Unless someone quite close to me is marrying, job and finances necessitate I be selective about which events I can attend. The ones I do say yes to become my  vacation for the season given the commitments of money; travel; time off work.

The most recent invite was not on parchment stationary and addressed to me personally, as in the traditional “Ms. — and Guest.” Rather, it arrived in the form of a bulk e-mail explaining travel tips to Napa wine country, providing a list of accomodations in the area, and offering a wine tour. The lodgings ranged from high-end cheap, to posh and very spendy. Going with the least expensive ($140/night- min. 2 nights) was a no-brainer. I began tallying the other anticipated costs: gas, pre-road-trip auto service just to be safe, and dining/groceries for several days, maybe a new pair of shoes. Of course, the wine tour must be factored in, because why drive 5 hours to wine country and not really enjoy myself? (more…)

Super Saccharine: Seekingarrangements.com April 17, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Dating, Food for Thought.
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images1Lisa found an interesting New York Times article by Ruth Padawer about a web site that hooks rich men up with young, beautiful, financially strapped women, often college students working their way through school. The Sugar Daddies provide their Sugar Babies with money, gifts, trips, and swank (often under the euphemism “mentoring”) in exchange for companionship, sex, and arm candy. 

Before I read the article, I thought I knew how I felt about this site, Seekingarrangements.com: Yuck!  But the piece includes some very interesting quotes from users of the site, Seekingarrangement.com, that shed new light on the practice of being a daddy or a baby. After reading the article, my feelings about Seekingarrangements.com were: Still Yuck!  

Whether or not you think this site amounts to prostitution (I’m not sure), it is undeniably perpetuating a sexist power dynamic. As Padawer says, “The ‘baby’ is the one who regulates her appearance, schedule, behavior and emotions to make the payer feel special.” (The baby is overwhelmingly female, and only one percent of the sugar daddies are actually sugar mommies). 

I’ll paste a couple of the more interesting quotes from Padawer’s article below and let our Copious Readership weigh in. What do you all think? (more…)

Pop Culture, Scourge of the Onelies: Desperado March 30, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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“Desperado” has a pretty, rolling tune. It’s been sung by Johnny Cash and by Antonio Banderas (in Spanish) since it was originally produced (per Wikipedia) by the Eagles in 1973.  I like the song–or I did, until I finally listened to the actual lyrics the other day (what can I say, I’ve been distracted by other things for 34 years):

You better let somebody love you,
You better let somebody love you,
You better let somebody love you,
Before it’s too late.

Gulp. Does anyone else feel just a teensy tone of intimidation here? As if you’d been strongarmed into a dark alley by the heteronormafia? (“Hey, listen, I’m just saying you’d better get with a committed romantic significant other, and soon. Hate to see you go swim with the single fishes, but that’s the game, capice? Nothing personal, just business, eh.”)

Or is it just me being strung out on dark chocolate?


Onely’s Evil Twin February 16, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, I want to....
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We don’t know how many of our copious readers stumbled upon our blog by accident, but we imagine there may be one or two. After all, our name is a (purposeful) mispelling of – and play on – the words “Lonely,” “Only,” and “One.” We are currently the first site that pops up on Google when anyone happens to mispell one of those words – but recently we noticed that we have an Evil Twin – a doppelganger, if you will, who already owned our site address before we started blogging: Onely.com. (more…)

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: Heteronormative and Singlist September 23, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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Copious Readership, did you know that the Family and Medical Leave Act is heteronormative and singlist? Lookie here:  (more…)

Scourge of the Onelies, part 56.9-c: “What I do when I can’t get no lovin'” August 18, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!, music review, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Reviews.
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Today my Ipod turned up this song by Trick Pony, in which Jesse James, Orville Wright, and Picasso each say they excelled in their field because “it’s just what I do when I can’t get no lovin'”.  As if painting masterpieces or inventing the airplane is all well and good, but what those guys really wanted–and, by implication, should have been pursuing–is lovin’ (read: heteronormative relationship). (more…)

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