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Nuclear Families Defy Laws of Physics April 12, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Cute_grey_kittenI want to foster a cat(s), so I signed up for our county shelter’s foster class. Years ago I went through a phase of fostering Special Needs cats–with kidney, skin, urinary, psychological, and projectile snot issues. So I’m no feline foster virgin. But rules are rules, so I have to get my butt in a chair at the class.

But did you know that human rules can override the rules of physics? Yes! Especially when we’re talking about rules of singlism/matrimania/heteronormativity. Check out this paragraph from the orientation letter for the foster class. I don’t even really need to comment on it, because the WTF factor is perfectly apparent. Aw heck, I’m going to comment anyway, because my snark filter is broken:

Apparently, according to our county shelter, spouses and children of potential foster parents don’t take up any physical space in chairs! So they don’t need to RSVP for the class–they can just show up randomly and seating magically appears for them. If I wanted to bring a friend to the class, though, she would have to RSVP because she, as a mere friend, *does* take up physical space and require am actual, non-magical, reserved chair:

Please only RSVP for yourself. If you are bringing your children or spouses (which is allowed – but please be mindful that training room space is very limited, and the presentation is about an hour long), you do not need to include them in the number of people attending. If you have friends who are also interested in the program, they need to fill out the application and wait for an email inviting them to RSVP for themselves.

[Bold and italics are mine.]


Photo credit: Wikicommons


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.


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.



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.



Single? Then you don’t have money problems with your family or friends March 2, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Billets_de_5000Warning: May contain unsound rhetoric such as rants and name-calling. (Welcome to the blogosphere!)

On the surface, it seems single people are now Cool. For example, the media has been regularly highlighting the importance of singles, especially women, in regards to the U.S. economy and politics. Feminist writer Rebecca Traister’s book All The Single Ladies has gotten many (deserved) favorable reviews from a range of outlets. However, we singles advocates need to not get too comfortable or complacent.  There is still singlist bullpoop out there, in huge steaming piles. For instance, someone is starting a new organization to help people manage money–but only in the context of the nuclear family. The founders declare themselves “a Christian organization” but obviously their “Christian values” only extend to people who have state-sanctioned sex.

How do I know this? I subscribe to a website that solicits help naming various new companies. They regularly announce contests to name new startups, or a revamped doctors’ offices, or what have you. According to an email I received, the above-described financial consultation organization’s goals are to

help families create a strong and healthy relationship with money in their marriages. We are focused on married people and families with young children. . .

and to

help families strengthen their emotional, spiritual, and practical relationship with money. . . think of relationship enrichment and financial advice combined. . .

Because apparently single people don’t have any loved ones they share financial issues with and so don’t need any guidance navigating those murky money waters. According to the founders of this organization, my single cousin doesn’t need help managing the low-interest loan she took from my parents for nursing school; according to this company, as a single person, I  didn’t need help recovering the 500 dollars from a ticket incurred on my car by a former friend of mine; according to this company, only spouses and children pass money between each other, and those are the only financial relationships that need “enriching” (probably no pun intended–I doubt the authors were smart enough).

So why would the founders limit their demographic so severely? Because they’re small-minded, ignorant, and ultimately on the road to self-destruction before they even get started. Given the many federal laws that privilege married people over singles financially, you’d think that maybe singles are more likely to need money guidance (for example, how to pass property or money to a non-spouse without paying a huge gift tax).

The organization says that for their new name, they are “open to both abstract and names that clearly describe who we are”. Ok then! A few suggestions, for names and slogans:

Financial Help from Heteronormaholes

We Tell You Who’s Important

Some Hearts Are More Equal Than Others

Matrimania In Your Wallet

Copious Readers, do you have other suggestions?


PS. See also: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/02/political-power-single-women-c-v-r.html by Traister

Photo credit: Wikicommons




Singlist Quote Of The Week February 27, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Let them study, get married, then they can get their own phones.

–Ranjit Singh Thakor, president of the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, speaking about single women.

Per this Reuters article by Rina Chandran), an increasing number of villages in Gujarat and Bihar Provinces forbid girls and single women from having cell phones, because the phones ostensibly “distract them from their studies” or cause them to elope. (No word on why men are not similarly affected by cell phones.)

Hmm, I recall a couple hundred years ago (I’m very old)  when another leader supposedly said of a marginalized demographic:

Let them eat cake!

Whatever happened to her?


Singles: Married People’s Poop Pollutes Less Than Yours February 11, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Copious Readers: Just FYI, my long absence from Onely is not because I have lost interest in singles’ issues–on the contrary, I read about them every day in my Google feed–but because I have been sick. I had to focus more on the immediacies of daily life: food, medicine, mortgage, and, ahem, reruns of “Worst Cooks in America” on Netflix. But I was inspired to fight my way back to the keyboard through the pain for you, Copious Readers, to let you know that if you single, you had better get married, because if you’re married, your sh&t don’t stink. 

hqdefaultA tiny article in my parents’ local paper on Thursday, June 18 2015 announced: One Quarter of Septic Systems Found To Be Failing. (It doesn’t seem to be online; but here’s the article that predated it.)

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to read about poop, I explored this issue further, and I found the strangest instance of singlism (discrimination against single people) that I have yet encountered in all my years of writing this blog.

But first, some background: My parents live in a little log cabin on a lake within minutes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Native Americans considered it sacred long before my great-grandparents built a cabin there. My great-grandparents settled there long before the area was named “the most beautiful place in America” by Good Morning America. After that, the park drew increasing numbers of the kind of tourists who had a lot of money, but not a lot of imagination–the kind of people who have to be told where to visit, instead of inspiring themselves with their own research. (Yeah, yeah, bitter much?)

With the resulting crowds and McMansions in the woods (our little cabin is now megavintage), there’s been a struggle to maintain the area’s aesthetic integrity. Nearby Glen Arbor Township became “the first township in [Leelanau] county to require septic and well inspections for properties changing ownership,” according to the article. Failing or poorly constructed septic tanks can contaminate groundwater in a watershed that feeds dozens of small lakes, as well as Lake Michigan.

But here’s the thing:

If you sell the property to your spouse, you do *not* need to get your septic tank inspected.

Your twenty-year-old tank could be leaching poop-laced water into the surrounding earth 24-7, but that’s ok, because if you’re married, your poop doesn’t contain bacteria and toxins that pollute the soil and water tables. Or so it would seem, according to this ruling by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. As soon as you say, “‘Til death do us part,” your colon automatically purges itself of all environmentally toxic and pathogenic micro-organisms and chemicals (which is why wedding clothiers are increasingly offering the Silk Diaper option as an add-on feature to your dress or tux).

Who knew?


Photo credit: Jim Duncan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1TZlwKHVo0



Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Part 1 of the David Bedrick Interview July 27, 2013

Posted by Onely in book review, Interviews.
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A love-based psychology promotes social justice, whereas mainstream psychology treats the difficulties of individuals in a vacuum –David Bedrick, J.D.

Copious Readers, Onely has been unhappy with Dr. Phil for a very long time, because he has counseled single people to embrace themselves and their hobbies and be happy, so that they can find a partner. Instead of just being happy, period.

So we were glad to have the opportunity to interview David Bedrick, author of Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013). He proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

We came up with some questions for Bedrick that we hope will flesh out the similarities in our missions. In a series of posts, we will tackle one or two questions at a time.

Today’s Topic:

Are people trying to “Normalize” your way of living to their (more common) way of living?

Don’t React to their behavior–Act Out their behaviour!

Onely: Dr. Bedrick, you say in your introduction to Talking Back to Dr. Phil (xvii):

The norms inherent in mainstream psychology’s diagnoses essentially reflect the majority’s beliefs, values, and viewpoints regarding psychological health. As such, it is a psychology often in service of normalizing people, seeking to help them act more reasonably and get along better with others even when the accomodation is contrary to their natures and life paths.

Do you agree that the normalization performed by mainstream psychology parallels the normalization of romantic relationships that occurs in our culture on a daily basis? If so, how do you think this impacts people who are “single at heart” and have no desire to seek a committed-romantic partner (which would be a life path contrary to the norm)?

Bedrick: Absolutely! Most blatantly in the way mainstream psychology promotes stereotypic gender roles that not only marginalize GLBT relationships but all relationships.

Mainstream culture encourages, celebrates, and bestows privileges on people who partner, especially those who partner in a traditional marriage. People who use their energy to focus on their own creativity, ambitions, healing, happiness, or non-traditional paths are looked at as if something is wrong with them. The internalization of this experience, a kind of shame, can leave people feeling depressed, angry, or both. This shaming can pressure people to look for a partner even if that is not truly their way.

Onely: How would you apply a love-based-psychology to someone who fears being single because of family pressure, or (Western) cultural pressure? (more…)

Single Women: So What If They’re Over Fifty? January 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, STFU, Your Responses Requested!.
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flickr-3512472429-hdSo apparently now there is yet another term to describe women who behave in a certain way: Before it was Cougar, meaning an older woman who dates younger men (implication: these women must be preying on younger men, because why would the guys be attracted them of their own accord?) . Now according to this article flagged by our reader Iolanda, as well as other articles, we have SWOFTY. This means a single woman over fifty.

Copious readers, is this offensive or empowering to women, and particularly to single women? I say offensive, and here’s why:

Where is the term for single men over fifty? A Google search for SMOFTY returned the result: Did you mean SWOFTY? . . . Um, no, sigh.

And there’s more: The term SWOFTY markets itself as a badge of honor for single women, but really it objectifies and classifies women in a three-for-one deal: according to their relationship status, gender, and age. It’s the same old sexism, singlism, and ageism that has been going on in most cultures since forever, just re-labelled. Even the fact that we get surprised by the idea that single women over fifty can be vibrant and happy — so surprised that we have to give them a name — shows just how ingrained the stereotype of the drab spinster is. It’s a stereotype we need to talk in full adult words about, not cutesy acronyms that keep reminding people how the existence of happy single older women is surprising.

And no, SWOFTY does not do anything to increase the dialogue about or dismantle the spinster stereotype (more…)

Can Couples Advocate for Singles’ Rights? December 30, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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For more than four years now, Lisa and I have spent a good deal of time objecting, advocating, railing, protesting, blathering, and even (to our shame) name-calling, all in the name of singles’ rights. We’ve been doing it every since we realized that, at the time, all pro-singles writing said it was GREAT to be happily single, but only because it made you more appealing so you could get a mate.

Lisa and I, two single women in our 30s, thought that was stupid. What if, we proposed, it was great to be happily single, period?  We were both happy, and single, and didn’t care whether we’d find a mate or not. So we started this blog, which has since been quoted or cited in several major print and online publications (and I say that only as an example of how vehemently we pushed our topic in people’s faces). 

Our question to you, Copious Readers, is: would we, could we, have ever had the same revelation–and the same work ethic–if one or both of us had been coupled? Or by extension, can a coupled/married person ever advocate for singles’ rights as passionately, accurately, or extensively  as an unmarried or socially single person? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not?

By singles’ rights, we mean that the U.S. government ought to stop discriminating against half its adult populace. We call this institutionalized singlism.

By singles’ rights, we also mean that people–regular people like you and Lisa and me–need to recognize that it’s not acceptable to treat single people like losers in the game of life. (“You’re not married yet? Awww.”) We call this cultural singlism. Examples are all over this blog and all over the blog of social scientist Bella DePaulo whom I linked to above, so I’m not going to retell the stories here. (I will give you some keywords though: Immature. Selfish. Desperate. Cats. Dead. Eaten by.)

Onely’s opinion is that anyone, aaaaaanyone, with an open-minded, critical-thinking type of brain, plus a (more…)

Onely’s Adventures in Accounting: The Math of Marital Status Discrimination September 22, 2012

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Your Responses Requested!.
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Phew, pant pant pant. We at Onely almost missed National Unmarried and Single Americans Week!  (Lisa says it’s because she was too busy having fun as a single person.) And indeed, lately there have been a ton of articles (“All the Single Ladies,” “A Confederacy of Bachelors”) in big media about how single people are happy being single (gasp!). Which is good.

But it’s not enough to celebrate social aspects of being single. These articles about the Rise of Satisfied Singles, while important, don’t address the underlying problem of how our society views singles:

Discrimination against unmarried people is institutionalized in government laws (and by corporate policies, which follow the government’s lead).

Take, for example, the unmarried Canadian soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. If he had been married, his spouse would have gotten Death Benefits of $250,000. But because he had no spouse, that $250,000 remained in government coffers to be given to a married person. His and other parents challenged this practice, protesting that in the absence of a spouse, the money could just as easily be allocated to them.

Do you think these parents are

A) Justified;

B) Hmmm, what an interesting idea;



If you answered A, then you understand why we at Onely believe marriage as a legal institution is overvalued and oversanctified. If you answered C, then you’d better stop reading now. We are going to prod at your stale paradigms – with the sword of mathematics. En guard!

We’ve never done the math of Marital Privilege. No one has. Until now. (more…)

Getting It All Wrong: Reconsidering “The Benefits of Being Single” August 11, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, STFU.
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Thanks to one of our Copious Readers from South Africa, Amelia, for bringing to our attention a ridiculously offensive article published recently in iAfrica, entitled “The Benefits of Being Single.”

Amelia told us,

I was very much looking forward to finding out what the financial benefits of being single are, as it’s always seemed to me more expensive not to have anyone to share the rent and other expenses with. But boy, was I in for a surprise!

Like Amelia, we had high hopes for the article. After all, the intro sounded promising:

There is a growing trend in South Africa (and it’s probably already a worldwide trend) for people to choose to remain single…. We no longer have to be married in order to be counted as serious or dependable (unless we are running for president).

Unfortunately, the article takes a nose-dive shortly thereafter, when we learn that:

the beauty of being single from a financial standpoint is that you are cheaper to maintain!

(Yes, the exclamation point was in the original…!)


You … don’t have to take other people’s needs into account, such as which area to buy a home in and how large that home should be.


when going on holidays a single person can afford to travel more as there is only one airplane ticket to buy, one holiday package to purchase. If you don’t like holidaying on your own there are many travel clubs with groups to join and new friends to make.

And – my god – did you know that:

you can start that business that you always wanted with less personal risk. If the business does not pan out you have no family home that needs to be sold or repossessed by the bank, no children that need to be moved from their school after a forced evacuation. There is only yourself that will go through hardships because of mistakes you made and lessons you learned. Also, you can work the long hours it takes to build a business without paying too little attention to anyone.

So, let’s outline the problematic assumptions at work here

  1. Being single somehow means your expenses are lower, in spite of the fact that having two (or more) incomes and splitting the bills, sharing a house, paying for insurance, and even taking a vacation is significantly cheaper per person for couples and families than being single.
  2. Being single means that you have no significant relationships or obligations to maintain.
  3. Being single means that you have plenty of time on your hands.
  4. Being single means personal risk doesn’t matter, and it probably also means that you’re male, extroverted, wealthy, and/or white.

*Sigh.* Three cheers for the heteronormative mainstream media!

— Lisa and Christina

photo credit: http://www.fam.tuwien.ac.at

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