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Even Coupled, You Can Still Die Alone June 16, 2010

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: , ,

This is a follow-up post to Lisa’s piece about the importance of support networks in old age. We’ve all heard the stereotype that if you’re single, you risk dying “alone” in a small apartment and being eaten by your pets. I just wanted to point out that even if you are happily married after almost forty years, you can still die alone.

My parents have been married for thirty-seven years and still love each others’ company. They enjoy relatively good health and we’re a fortunate family all around. That said, recently on my first day back home for vacation, my mom fell off the attic stairs and broke her knee in quite a dramatic fashion. She couldn’t even sit up, the pain was so nauseating and intense. I was there to call 911 and, per the operator’s instructions, shut Charlie the cat in the bathroom where he wouldn’t be underfoot for the paramedics (or eat my mom).


How to Pop the Progressive Bubble? October 29, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought.
Tags: , ,

Sometimes Lisa and I become complacent. We begin to think that maybe singlism isn’t so pervasive and prevalent. We stop doing as many blog entries. We forget why we started Onely in the first place.  This fault is yours, Copious Readers! Because the vast majority of our commenters are so forward-thinking about singles’ issues, Lisa and I begin–mostly unconsciously–to think that by extension all of the blogosphere, and all of the world, must also contain a high percentage of people who think being single is fine, maybe even desirable. We begin to believe that most people recognize the privilege gap created by the institution of marriage and would change it if given the opportunity.

Last Thursday morning 107.3 Wash FM’s Jack Diamond Morning show smacked me back to reality. I can’t remember the details or find a direct link to the show (yes, this is how most of my anecdotes start!), but I remember driving into work with my mouth hanging open as the broadcaster talked about a single friend of his who needs a girlfriend. The speaker laid out several stereotypes one after the other, including mentions of his friend sitting home alone because the bar scene is yucky and sad. These images were dropped casually into the conversation as if instead of discussion points, they were inalienable facts: obviously it’s better to be at home with someone that at home alone, and obviously if you’re single the only place to go is to the bar to drink your sorrows away with other single people drinking their sorrows away.  Upon hearing this, I realized afresh how insidious singlism is, how awash with almost-invisible and seldom-articulated presumptions.

I called up Lisa that morning to remind her that Onely is a bubble of positive singles’ energy and advocacy–perhaps too bubbly. Even though we do our share of griping, the fact that so many commenters share our gripes and provide support and suggestions for dealing with singlism lulls us into a false sense of security.

How can we pop this bubble? How can we integrate more into the wider (and less singles-friendly) world? I have a couple ideas: I’d like to interview some people who might have radically different social views from Onely, like a conservative Christian preacher, or (as the makers of Seeking Happily Ever After did) the hostess of a sexist reality show.   I also want to start blogging more in our “Take Action” series, which flags opportunities for us and our readers to educate community leaders about singles’ issues. I might provide addresses and form letters for re-educating (this word makes me feel very Cultural Revolutionish but oh well) politicians, companies, advertisers, and moviemakers (Ahem, Slum Dog) who present offensive material.

Copious Readership, do you feel bubbled and if so, what are your ideas for bursting out?


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