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Guest Post: Why People Living Alone Can Be Happy May 28, 2013

Posted by Onely in Great Onely Activities, Guest Posts, Secret Lives of the Happily Single.
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6a00d8341eb61d53ef01348621cb5a970c-800wiCopious Readers, as you may have noticed, Onely likes to have guest posts from anyone who has something to say about how single people experience life–we welcome (even crave) input from all cultures and all sorts of relationship statuses, from divorced to widowed to single and seeking to single and happy to asexual and even married. Here is another guest post, this time by Ryan Thurmost, who talks about the benefits of living alone, which as you know is just one aspect of being single (and a privileged one at that). What other benefits can you add? Or drawbacks? Do you agree or disagree with the stated benefits? For more information, check out Eric Klinenberg’s book Going Solo

Why People Living Alone Can Be Happy

Everyone wants to find true happiness, but this can be a difficult task. Many find it surprising that living alone may be one of the solutions, but they really shouldn’t be. For a lot of us, it just makes sense. Here are some of the reasons why individuals who are living by themselves might actually be the quintessential picture of happiness 🙂No Financial Fights

If you surveyed a bunch of people who have roommates about their biggest stressors, you might discover that finances are the biggest reason for disagreement in their apartments or houses. Those who live alone have total control of their budget. If a bill doesn’t get paid, they have no one to blame but themselves. On top of that, they’re free to do what they want with extra spending money (within reason, of course) and don’t have to consult with someone on mundane topics such as whether or not to keep the A/C on high. They can install a new appliance when they want, they can order whatever cable package they want, etc.

Loving Themselves
You’ve probably heard people say that it’s hard to love another person when you don’t exactly love yourself. Individuals who live alone usually have the time to focus on themselves. They’re less likely to have to worry about caring for someone all day long, and they don’t constantly have to clean or cook to suit the needs and tastes of another. People who live alone have time to explore their hobbies and get to know both what they really like and what they want to do with their lives.


Bad Onely Activities: Killer Bats February 23, 2011

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
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Welcome to the latest installment in our series Bad Onely Activities, where we muse on those awkward moments when being single–or living alone–seems kind of tough. This week we wonder whether we should join Match.com: “Woman who loves laughs and walks on the beach seeks same, plus a bat wrangler.”

“EEeeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEE click.” My cat Alvin crouches on top of the kitchen buffet looking at something squeaky and flapping. Then the useless feline turns and runs. It’s midnight, and I’m alone and exhausted. I start to cry.

This is my fourth domestic bat. You’d think I’d be a bat-removal expert by now, but no.  I have post-traumatic bat disorder.

The first bat trapped me in the bathroom for five minutes. I curled up on the tile floor, a sheet over my head and body, every now and then cracking open the door to see if the supersonic little bugger was gone. And each time he wasn’t. Whenever I peeked into the hall, a smear of swirling black air whooshed past my face, forcing me back under the sheet. (Lest you wonder how I so conveniently happened to have a sheet in the bathroom: I woke up to the bat flapping around in the canopy of my bed, so I dragged the sheet on top of me as I crawled to safety.)

I didn’t remove that bat from the house. Nor did I ever capture the other bat that one night swooped my face so closely I felt the air from its wings. I lost each one in my mess of bookcases and picture frames. I just had to hope they would escape by themselves, before dying and rotting, or before killing me.

The third bat appeared while my mom and uncle were alone in my house. They trapped it in a jar, like a firefly.  I didn’t get those genes.

Which is why I’m shaking and whimpering as I stand on a chair peering over the top of the buffet at this brown furry lump, knowing it is about to charge me. Its wings of crinkled black leather can unfold to over three feet, and its mousy mouth hides fangs as long as my pinky. (I estimate here.) It will rush me, and I will fall off the chair and break my skull and lie on the floor for days until they find me, with the engorged bat still attached to my jugular.

I want nothing more than to go upstairs and get my seven-foot-tall boyfriend, the firebreathing one with hydaulic steel forearms. But I’m single and live alone. So I do the next best thing: I call my mom.

“Help help! I’m scared! Tell me how you managed to trap that bat before.”

And she says helpfully, “What bat?”

Seeing that my mom is as useless as my imaginary boyfriend, and also perhaps a little senile (who forgets trapping a bat?) I realize I have to get my Onely on. I must take matters into own hands–once I don my leather work gloves. And a fleece with the hood cinched around my cheeks and chin.

I arm myself with a racquetball racquet, mason jar, and a towel and climb back onto the chair. But my equipment is useless. The creature has cleverly wedged itself between some vases and the raised ledge of the buffet.

The bat jiggles its hips. “EEeeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEE click eeEEeeEEEEEeeEEEeeee click EEEee,” it says, which if I remember my freshman Bat 101 correctly, means something like, “B&tch with the racquet, I’m going to rip out your throat and leave it to rot on your crummy linoleum.”

Point well made. I jump off the chair. What, I think, would my huge, fearless, imaginary boyfriend do when confronted with such a foe?  Why of course–he would throw cat toys at it.

I toss some jingle balls. Ding ding ding EEEeeeeEEEclickEEEEeeee ding ding ding. The bat crawls down to the floor behind the buffet. I roll ping-pong balls to dislodge it, thinking that any moment the fiend will swoop me. Instead it waddles backwards into an open corner, where it just sits. I tiptoe forward, sniffling, holding the towel in one hand and a nine-volt flashlight in the other. My goal is to blind the bat into submission while I disable it under the towel.

With a wild scream I toss the towel at the corner, where it–damned areodynamics–parachutes down right next to, but not covering, the bat. EEEEeeeeEEE click EEeeEEEee click! Wailing, I grab the corner of the towel, back up, and throw again. Success. My hand shakes as I put the mason jar over the little lump of cloth and pull away the towel. I feel the cloth pulling at the bat’s body. Because it’s almost as if I’m touching the bat itself, I whimper.

Peering through the glass, I see the bat has a ripped wing. At first I feel sorry for it. Then I realize that only its injury stopped it from whooshing at me and clawing out my eyes. I start to whimper again.

I whimper more as I slide cardboard under the jar opening, and I whimper as I drag the jar and cardboard with my fingertips across the carpet to the porch door. I whimper as I lay down a spiral binder as a bridge to slide the jar over the threshold and into the wild.

Sure, that’s not how Bear Grylls would have dealt with the situation. (He would have grabbed the bat with his bare hand and popped it in his mouth.) But in my own wincing, mincing way, I got the job done.

Once again, I’m reminded that living alone is a great privilege, especially in this economy, but a privilege with a price. Am I independent and resourceful enough to deal with crises? Sure, if I’m allowed to whine.

Copious Readers, have you had Bad Onely interactions with wildlife? How dignified were you?



Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Bad Onely Activities: Killer Chairs June 14, 2010

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
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Although here at Onely we enjoy being single, sometimes we write about ill-considered or unfortunate activities that remind us that being coupled (or at least, living with someone) does have some advantages. Are these Bad Onely Activities bad enough that we should change our single status in order to avoid them? Read the following example and decide.

I felt sick one recent Friday night, and as I often do when I feel sick, I get an urge to move furniture. (Maybe it’s an attempt to reset my qi by altering the feng-shui of my house.)  On the evening in question I decided that The Chair needed to go downstairs, STAT. I was having a gas fireplace installed in the basement and needed somewhere to sit and cozy up in front of the flames. Note that the fireplace was only partially installed at the time, and not even close to functional. But that The Chair needed to be downstairs now, tonight, in mere anticipation of the day when the fireplace would be complete and I could curl up in front of it.

The Chair had upholstery the consistency of old rec room carpet. A series of cats had clawed down the armrests so that bare wood showed through in spots. It was wide but still narrower than the staircase it needed to travel down. It was also very, very heavy.

At about 8:30 pm I dragged the chair to the top of the staircase. I intended a controlled push down the carpeted stairs. Slowly I shoved the chair down one step, then two, then three. Then the sofa bed inside unfolded.

Sofa bed? No one had slept on that sofa bed since my grandfather, and he’d been dead for thirty years. I forgot there was a sofa bed. (more…)

Co-opcrisy? November 16, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities.
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I was thinking the other day. (Sometimes I feel as if my brain is a rental car alarm going off and I can’t find the right button to turn it off.)  During my thinking, I realized that I may be a Onely hypocrite, at least partially. Lisa and I do a lot of advocating on this site for “new paradigms” of social structure that go beyond (isolated) couples and nuclear families. Yet when I had a chance to live for myself in a community that practiced a unique and apparently enlightened form of group living, I turned it down. Am I not as progressive as I make myself out to be? Or am I just not a team player?

My friend J worked on a coop organic farm that had a small community of twenty of so single-family houses (my memory is hazy) lining a curved street with no cars because everyone parked in a small lot down at the bottom of a gentle hill. There was a community center in one of the houses, with a common kitchen. J and I ate there once–a delicious eggplant stirfry with ingredients grown in the fields just outside the door. Just beyond those fields was Tyson’s Corner, the most congested, commercial area in all of northern Virginia, which is already pretty astoundingly congested and plastic. But you’d never know that, sitting in the coop kitchen, with crickets chirping under the porch outside.

Residents didn’t have to cook in the common kitchen, but they could if they wanted to. On a big white board a calendar drawn with multicolored markers and without rulers showed the dinner schedule. Most residents cooked a meal for the entire community once every couple weeks.  Again, not required, but I noticed that the calendar had a variety of names on it, many of the days were assigned.

There were houses for sale in the community. I was in the market for a house. But I decided not to buy one on the farm. Why? I was afraid of the common kitchen. No, not of germs. Not of community wooden spoons or coughing children. No, I was afraid of cooperation and calendars. The thought of even preparing a just huge pot of soup and several baguettes of garlic bread for a large group horrified me. The weight of the grocery bags! The math involved to extrapolate a recipe for six! Making sure there were enough plates! Finding all the spoons! AAAAAAAA!   As some of the very kind residents showed me around, I wondered, but did not ask, if I would be branded a rebel if I *never* ate in the community kitchen, in order to avoid ever having to reciprocate by making a meal for everyone else. I looked at the separate calendar for the den cleaning schedule and had the same feeling of suffocation. What if Tuesday came around but I didn’t feel like vaccuming the TV room?  What if on Saturday I was on the hook to cook chicken and dumplings but my own tummy just wanted toast and guacamole?

I just couldn’t do it.

I love my current townhouse. I do wonder sometimes (not often) whether I would have benefitted from having that community around me. Where I live now, the neighbors barely see each other, and I know very few of them. Of note, the farm community consisted of mostly couples with children. Would that have been a great environment for me–a casual environment to get to know neighbors and laugh at the children’s antics before going home to my quiet house? Or would it have been just a smaller, tighter version of our big heteronormative world? I don’t know, because I couldn’t get past my fear of scheduling. For the most part, I think I was right to listen to my shivering gut. But if everyone were as cooperation-averse as I turned out to be, how could we ever manage to produce new, fairer, and inventive ways of interacting with each other besides coupling up?

Copious Readers, have you had experiences with co-ops?


Reality TV Idea #1: “I Complete Me” July 30, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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Hi everyone. Today, Jezebel alerted me to this EXCELLENT and highly entertaining video:

(Both Christina and I laughed hysterically and said “Oh my god, it’s SO TRUE!”)

The thing is, the Blogulator‘s got it right — for sitcoms and gender stereotypes, at least. But this got me thinking that we need a show that, instead of reversing the way married men and women are portrayed on TV, would subvert the way that singles are (most often) portrayed on TV — as desperate, lonely losers always struggling to find a mate. And where has television cornered the market on this portrayal of single people? That’s right — Reality TV! Take your pick — from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (those old standards), to Rock of Love, More to Love, or a Shot at Love, to Blind Date (which, I’ll admit, is a personal fave), to Joe Millionaire, to Who Wants to Marry My Dad, and even Married by America — the basic premise of all these shows is that if you’re single, it’s time for an intervention!

So, Christina and I have decided to pitch our own Reality TV show, called I Complete Me. We don’t have any illusions that anyone will actually take us up on the offer (hell, there’s no way Fat Wife would make it), but just for kicks, here’s what we propose: (more…)

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