- Do you believe life can be prosperous and great with or without a mate?
- Do you value your friendships as much as your romantic relationships?
- Do gut instincts guide your most important decisions?
- Are you often among the first on the dance floor?
Coupled or single, man or woman, social butterfly or shrinking violet, quirkyalones have walked among us, invisible until now. Through the coining of a new word, this tribe has been given a voice. Meet the quirkyalones.
Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, by Sasha Cagen 7.5
quirkyalone n: a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple; someone with unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status
adj: of, relating to, or embodying quirkyalones
I am quirkyalone. I probably always have been, though I’d never had a word to label myself with until now. Influenced by ‘When Harry Met Sally‘, which changed my worldview in 1989, I’ve preferred to nurture close platonic friendships with women than dating them.
“Love ’em and leave ’em”, some say. Well, that’s not really love, now, is it? I think it’s much better to have a bunch of solid friendships than a string of failed “relationships”, in which people try each other on for size – like so many pieces of clothing at the local mall.
Put on, look in the mirror, discard.
I just couldn’t do it. After my first couple of experiences, I decided that being reckless with another’s heart was something unpalatable to me – and, naturally, I also didn’t want to put my heart through the wringer for nothing; there’s only so much scarring it can take.
Heck, not even sex was worth that.
I mean it.
(And, coming from this pervert, that’s saying a lot!)
It would be easy to dismiss these views as those of someone commitment-phobic or intimacy-avoidant, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, it’s quite the reverse; I rarely do anything half-heartedly. It’s just that it has to be totally worth it for me to make that leap.
Bottom line: Platonic friends, good. Broken hearts, bad.
Other quirkyalones would get that; it’s better to be content in one’s solitude (not to be confused with loneliness) than to be in a relationship just for the sake of not being alone. It’s also a healthier thing to seek out one’s anchor internally, not externally.
It’s just difficult finding support in a society geared towards coupledom.
That’s why Sasha Cagen’s book has been such a blessing for many: not only does Cagen demystify the concept, she makes a valiant effort to destigmatize it as well through a series of personal profiles and testimonials from other quirkyalones that she met in her research.
Now, for someone like me, who already felt comfortable with my choice, this felt as though she were padding a thin self-help book to give it some heft. But, for someone who feels isolated and at odds with society, knowing that there are plenty of others out there helps.
Thankfully, the book is filled with interesting tidbits, such as quirkyalones in history and around the world, the vast palette of quirkies (who, it must be said, are not all quirkyalone), relationship models for quirkyalones, and even quirkyalone friendships.
There was a really excellent set of advice for people suffering from Romantic Obsession. It’s mostly common sense stuff, but it never hurts to read/hear it again – especially if you’ve got the ROs. Cagen also discusses sexuality from a quirkyalone perspective.
Quirkyalones aren’t necessarily celibate.
They’re just not paired up.
In fact, there’s this whole chapter on the brief history of vibrators, which was reminiscent of ‘Hysteria‘. Granted, the book is frequently focused on women, but it applies to both; the reason that women are its main target is because of the stigma single women endure.
As an only child raised by a single mother who was never home, surrounded by other kids who lived alone with their moms, I get all of this. Singledom is not easy for most, but especially for women. I’m hoping that, with time, a lot more women will embrace quirkyaloneness.
From here on in, paired or not, I plan on openly celebrating Quirkyalone Day, which takes place on February 14. It’s the perfect counterpoint to Valentine’s Day. Why the heck should single people sit there idly by while paired people have all the fun? We’re social, too!
It’s time to make a statement: it’s time to show that being single doesn’t mean being lonely, unlovable, antisocial, pathetic and/or pitiable. We must embrace our alonenesss and prove to ourselves, each other and the rest that it’s a perfectly lovely way of being.
We can be quirkyalone without feeling alone.