When I first heard the term quirkyalone a few years ago, of course it rang true for me. I have been called quirky more than a few times. I spent a good chunk of my 20s pretty single. I'm always more comfortable single than coupled. So I expected to love the book. I didn't, though I wish I had.
The main tenets of quirkyalone are all right up my alley: strong friendships are imperative; don't give up your individuality if you're coupled; the way that coupledom is culturally mandated is not the way it's gotta be; being single is preferable to being in the wrong relationship. Check check check check.
And the section on romantic obsession? Nail and head. Once, okay maybe twice, I might have sent myself an email from one account to another to ensure everything was working. Just to check, you know, that *technology* wasn't the problem.
I wanted to love the book. But something about it grated. It was a bit rah rah - like I was supposed to hear the term and be "Oh! Quirkyalone! It's a choice! Thank god there's nothing wrong with me," when I never thought there was in the first place and am perhaps just lucky to live around people who think the same way.
There was a self-congratulatory edge to it as well. Like people who are quirkyalone (or quirkytogether for those coupled quirkyalones) are somehow better people than people who do things in a more traditional manner. Like we are superior for having higher standards than the rest of those uncritical yobs, who obviously just settled for whoever came along first.
Maybe that's true, I dunno. My general feeling is that high standards didn't play a huge part in the demise of my few relationships. I don't see low standards in my friends who are happily coupled, though I'm not sure any of them would be considered traditional according to this book.
Mostly, I don't love the us and them teeter-totter dynamic. I would prefer that people just be able to do whatever makes them happy. You want to cohabitate, get married, have babies, move to a house with a white picket fence in the suburbs? As long as I can live downstairs from my partner in the city and no one gives me flak for it, I don't much care.* Why does living one way often bring about flak for the other? I am all for being critical of culturally dominant notions, don't get me wrong, but I'm looking for something a little sharper than "Those people are fooling themselves and clearly not as discerning."
Maybe the first step towards taking the fulcrum out from under the plank, however, is being strongly reactionary to the culturally dominant notion, and maybe I should just ease up. After all, the subtitle of the book used the word manifesto.
And still, yes, it's nice to have a name to put on the fact that I am happier single than coupled. Or rather, that I have been unable to do coupledom in a way that allows me to thrive. It's nice to know that I have sistren and brethren trying things a little differently than you see pretty much anywhere in pop culture.
That will not lead me to download the Throw an International Quirkyalone Day Party! kit. For fuck's sake. That sounds like the worst time in the world.
However, IQAD is on Valentine's Day, and I don't reckon that will be a fun evening to spend alone, 8 weeks post-breakup. I have decided, to gank a QA slogan, that I will romance the world instead of one being.
Thus, I invite you all to have dinner with me.
On February 14th, 2008, I will be at the Manx at 6:30. Please come join me, keeping three important things in mind:
- My intention is to romance the world, not organize it. All the people there with me at 6:30 will be seated together (assuming seat availability). If you're late, you takes your chances.
- There will be no couple/romance/valentine's day bashing. Being mad at people who are happy is bad for the soul.
- You don't have to be single to show up. Hell, you don't have to be quirky, either. Just interesting.
*Not until we start talking the environmental toll of suburbs, but that's a different story.