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Single’s Movement Has a Slogan! February 20, 2012

Posted by Onely in Heteronormativity, Take action.
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Copious Readers, let us know what you think of this for our Singles’ movement slogan (if I may be so bold):

Separate sex and state!

Advantage: If you pronounce it SeparAYTE, it has rhyme and rhythm.

Disadvantage: Some people might read it as SeparUT.

Advantage: It has “sex” in it.

Disadvantage: It has “sex” in it.

As our regular readers will recognize, the slogan reflects how many governments give arbitrary rights and privileges to married couples, at the expense of gays who cannot marry and, less famously, at the expense of single people.  Yes, some companies or governments think of themselves as all progressive for providing some domestic partner benefits, but in doing so they’re just feeding back into the whole overdone trope of couple-privileging.

Moreover, “couple” is largely by default defined as two people who live together and have sex with each other on a regular basis. This prevents, or at least deters, two platonic females (for example) who live together, maybe share childcare responsibilities, and function as a married couple in all ways but one–dare I whip out the Kate & Allie reference? I do dare–from receiving or applying for domestic partner benefits.

This is why we think Separate sex from state is an appropriate slogan for progressive singles. Separate sex from state, and many other cultural prejudices about singles (selfish, lonely, always seeking “the one”) will fall away as well.


P.S. If you watch the Kate & Allie episode, aired in 1984, you’ll see how they float the idea of “family can be defined many ways.” Yet over twenty years later, so many people (and institutions) are still acting as if the hetero couple unit is the be-all end-all of family. Shameful.

Writing is Like Dating October 1, 2011

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities.
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One of the most famous myths of singlehood is: Your work won’t love you back.  Meaning: Any passions not of a committed romantic nature are inherently less desirable. Although we at Onely (and most smart people) realize the many logical fallacies in this statement, in the past we sometimes balked when a heteronormahole challenged us to name one of our interests that truly paralleled a romantic relationship. How to answer? Well, I love learning languages and Lisa loves dog training. But if we gave those as examples, even though we think they’re as good or better than having boyfriends, the heteronormahole would have laughed in our faces.

But no more!  Because I’ve realized that we do have a hobby that is more relationshipy than all our previous relationships put together. You see, Lisa and I are both writers. And for writers, a significant other is redundant–because we’re already dating our craft:

There’s a honeymoon period after you first discover Writing. You effortlessly churn out brilliant character names and gripping sex scenes  (Kitty Chuckup’s heart heaved as Cecil Flickmeister slowly unsnapped his bowtie) and Pulitzer-caliber plot twists (Little did Kitty know the bowtie was the only thing holding Cecil’s head onto his neck). Writing flows from your fingers like an extension of your soul. You never tire of those words streaking across the screen. Your Writing is all you can think about. At your day job you stare out the window and daydream about the exciting things you’re going to do to that short story once you get home (What if Cecil isn’t the blind stablemaster’s illegitimate son after all?! And what if–OMG–the stablemaster isn’t blind either?!) You’ve never felt so complete.

After spending so much time with your Writing, you begin to wonder if maybe you should get serious. You know, think about Publication. Get Published, put out some little pieces that can carry on your name and maybe even grow into big books that make a lot of money to support you in your old age.

After all, everyone wants to get Published, right? Plus the alternative is so humiliating.  If you tell people about your Writing, they’ll ask you, “Are you Published? No? Are you talking to any publishers? Editors? Do you you at least have a blog?” and then give a pitying head-shake. “Well, don’t worry, one day the right agent will come along just when you least expect it.”

They just want to help. They know being Published is the only way you’ll be taken seriously. Think of all the privileges you receive automatically upon Publication, even if you really only found the right Publisher by sheer luck (and it’s always luck), and even if the quality of your Writing isn’t all that great (well, not *your* Writing, because *your* Writing is amazing and special–we mean the other 50 percent of Writings which end in dangling participles).

Whereas if you stay Unpublished you will die unread (platonic friends and extended family who may have loved your novel(s) or memoir(s) don’t count).

To avoid this terrible fate, you pick some Writing you guess is good enough (maybe the chapter where Kitty and Cecil find the time portal)  and start preparing to get Published. You’re planning your Submission–researching the best literary magazines, shopping for that perfect agent, figuring who you should put on your acknowledgments list–when you get cold feet.  You look at your Writing and realize that while you love it–you really do–you can’t help but notice that its clauses are so dependent, its verbs so passive, its modifiers so often misplaced, and — to be honest — its narrative can’t follow an arc to save its life. In fact, if Kitty laughs liltingly one more time you swear you’ll just scream.

Suddenly you’re not sure you’re ready for Publication just yet. Would it be so bad to just enjoy Writing without planning to Publish?  Of course it would. You’d be writing in sin. And you’d also be selfish, hoarding your Writing all for yourself. Plus you’d just be in denial anyway–no one’s ever *really* happy only writing for themselves. They can’t find anyone to Publish them so they just pretend to be happy being Unpublished.

Sometimes that’s easiest. After all, Writing for Publication is hard. It’s a numbers game. You need to put yourself out there, over and over again. A top-tier journal won’t just call you up and say “Hey, you have any nice stories sitting around on your computer? Maybe something about a zombie and a stableboy?”  You have to dress up your drafts–a tight intro, a sleek font–then send them out and sit by the phone waiting to find out if anyone liked them.

It’s risky. You may never match your Writing with a perfect publication venue and may end up Unread anyway, after exposing yourself to all that judgment and rejection.

You also risk the fifty-page itch.  A third of the way through your novel, the plot seems predictable, the diction stale, the characters too familiar (ho-hum, Cecil’s sitting in the hay writing more haiku while snacking on brains again).  You’re still typing, but sluggishly. You keep sneaking looks at a new document, where you’re thinking of starting a fresh, sexier project (hm, maybe a blog post about the similarities between writing and dating).

Copious Readers, which of your interests have the same dramas, benefits, and challenges as romantic relationships do?


Photo credit: Håkan Dahlström

Singles Must Show Up In Person! January 10, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings.
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Here at Onely (and in the singles’ advocacy blogosphere in general) we’re always griping about how the U.S. government provides married people with over 1300 legal privileges that singles don’t get (kudos to Bella DePaulo who first mined the federal statues). Honestly, though, I can only specifically name a few of those 1300 benefits: the ability to draw a deceased partner’s social security; right to pay less capital gains tax (and other taxes); right to piggyback on a partner’s insurance; right to visit and make medical decisions for a partner in the hospital.  What are all the other 1,296 rights denied to singles? Copious readers, please let us know!

I’ll start the list with a Married Privilege I recently discovered by accident: 

Politicians have been bombarding my mailbox with lit’riture in preparation for Virginia’s upcoming Jan 12 special election to fill a state Senate seat. I received an absentee ballot application from Democrat Dave Marsden. Now, any candidate who sends lit’riture encouraging me to sit at home on my couch and vote instead of going out in the pre-8-a.m. cold to my old elementary school has my full support! However, upon closer examination of the ballot, I realized that I would have to meet at least one of eighteen specific criteria in order to be able to vote from my couch. Here they are (cliffhanger–I have put the most exciting criteria at the end of the list). In order to vote absentee, I would have to be: (more…)

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