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"quirkyalone"? - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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"quirkyalone"? [Feb. 24th, 2007|03:01 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

"It's okay that I am alone."
"But maybe there is something wrong with me?"
"Maybe I'm just too picky."
"I'm young, I should be out there having sex."
"But I hate having sex with people I'm not really attracted to."
"Except when I'm traveling."

It was amazing how many times I could run through the same thoughts without arriving at any resolution.

I was not a social leper at age twenty-five. But I was not the most accomplished dater or girlfriend either.

Of course there had been flings, obsessions, dalliances, some of them even temporarily earth-moving, but none that had ever transformed me into someone's girlfriend for longer than four months.

These first few paragraphs of Quirkyalone are ringing very true for me. (A year ago, I was asking, "I'm 24 and I've never dated anyone for more than a few months -- isn't that a sign of some kind of a problem?") Unlike the author of the book, though, I don't seem to have a cluster of female friends in the same boat. It seems like all of them are in a relationship of considerable length -- or at least have been in a relationship of considerable length at some point. Interestingly enough, a lot more of my male friends seem to fit the usually-single pattern.

What do y'all think of this book? I'm not sure yet if it's my cup of tea. The cutesy collage-y page layouts bug, and it all just seems a little too "Yay! Look how great it is that we're so weird!" I don't think that usually-singlehood is either good or bad. It's just a way I am, or at least a way I've been.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2007-02-25 01:26 am (UTC)
I haven't read it, though I've heard of the movement. I think it's a neat branding of a subculture that until recently hasn't had much of an identity. It's tough as a single person to articulate why you have a chip on your shoulder in response to society's strong compulsion to pair up.

OTOH, identifying with it too strongly will certainly make a person insufferable. It's important that a person be who they're going to be first rather than start by identifying with a subculture and wear it like a costume in order to avoid self-awareness (look how great it is that we're so weird)—and in the process close yourself off to other ways of relating to people around you.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-25 11:12 pm (UTC)
Do I have a chip on my shoulder? I don't think I do. Mostly I'm just confused, like, "How do people do it? Am I doing something wrong?"

I mean, like, I think my personality is quite similar to yours, Chris. But you've been in, by my count, several long-term relationships and I've been in, by my count, none. Is it merely the luck of the draw or is there something else at work?
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[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2007-02-26 01:59 am (UTC)
Well, I think that the chip is from what the quirkyalone subculture is borne. It seems to me that if you don't have the chip you aren't sufficiently "quirky."

I think the evidence for this in the quirkyalone glossary:
Perkytogethers:
Ahhh, the perkytogethers—the quirkyalone's natural opposite. While there are many people whom quirkyalones can respectfully recognize as not sharing their worldview, perkytogethers impose coupledom on everyone. They are the tyranny of coupledom.

Quirkytogether:
The state of being that results when a quirkyalone enters a long-term romantic relationship.


So being quirkyalone and being in an LTR aren't mutually exclusive, and the antithesis of the subculture are people who "impose" coupledom. I don't think you have a chip necessarily, though I think a chip is 1) justifiable and 2) a necessary aspect of the movement, as it were.

I'm interested in your suggestion that luck is somehow at work in the difference between your history and mine. That is, I don't consider it luck that I have been in a series of long-term relationships, but something I have deliberately pursued. Are you saying this is something you've pursued but haven't achieved, or that you haven't pursued it and the question of fortune is to whom such a desire is allocated?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-26 09:48 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...well, uh, define 'pursue'. Do I want it? Sure I do. But I don't think it's necessarily worth pursuing for its own sake. Having an LTR is not so desirable that I would stay in an unsatisfying LTR, simply because it's an LTR.

At least, I like to think I wouldn't. Truth be told, I don't know what I would do if it were up to me. I've only ended one relationship, and, uh, "that was different"! It's always different.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2007-02-25 02:00 am (UTC)
Hmm. I can't say I feel very strongly about the design of the book, but if they want to be a manifesto and 'zine-like, they ought to go all the way.

My anemic exposure to popular culture suggests that singlehood is "cool" if you have a flock of (attractive) women to be single with. You drink your martinis together and have sleepovers. Don't most of the isolated bachelor-women hook up with eligible bachelor-men by the end of Hollywood movies?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-25 11:00 pm (UTC)
if they want to be a manifesto and 'zine-like, they ought to go all the way.

I'm not sure I know what you mean by that. Can you elaborate?

My anemic exposure to popular culture suggests that singlehood is "cool" if you have a flock of (attractive) women to be single with.

Hmm. Well, the Sex and the City women are perpetually single in the sense that they're not married, but, still, I get the sense that they've all at some point dated someone for longer than my four-month personal record. Then again, they're ten years older than me. And, uh, fictional. I can't believe I'm comparing myself to them!

What about you, Monica, if you don't mind my asking? Have you ever been in what you'd call a long-term relationship? I'm sure everyone defines it differently, but I really am curious to know just how unusual this is among women I know.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2007-02-25 11:20 pm (UTC)
I like the raw handmade text-in-irregular-places style of 'zines, but this book (that is to say, the Amazon excerpt) looks a little too polished to pass convincingly. I could go on, but that's really all I meant by it. Do you agree, disagree?

Have you ever been in what you'd call a long-term relationship?

Yes. No. *sigh* I had one long-term relationship with a boy named Jay; it ended conclusively after one (troubled) year, with two interim breakups and reunions. It was a fantastic, earth-moving, beautiful nuclear disaster. But at the time, I wanted him for the rest of my life; I was going to take him to Washington with me. He's gone from my life now, but I still can't shake my residual hostility and bitterness toward the woman who did me the favor of sleeping with him.

Ahem. Yes. Everything else has been very light and fun, almost idyllically short-term.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2007-02-25 02:51 am (UTC)
I think that much like working 9 to 5 jobs, having a normal relationship pattern is something that most people don't really have much experience with.

I've had two girlfriends, other partners, but I have never had it develop the normal way it is supposed to. You know, acquaintances who start "going out" and then have a moment of romance and move into steady dating, etc. Just like few people work 9 to 5 office jobs, few people have relationships. Metaphorically, relationships often involve part-time, graveyard shift, self-employment, independent contracting, and the like (and I will leave it to your imagination what those are metaphors for).

So, that being said, there is not really that much interesting about people in their early 20s and their personal and sexual lives. Unless it involves naughty meter maids. Otherwise, I wouldn't spend time reading a book about it. Although I think I might be reading the Cosmogirl Guide to Guys sometime soon.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2007-02-25 11:39 pm (UTC)
C!
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2007-02-26 01:07 am (UTC)
There were lots of other employment statuses that I could have listed that would have made funny analogies to relationships. Like, you know, "working part time in a cram-school in Asia"

Also, what about "can't find a job, so am going to grad school"

?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-03-01 07:32 am (UTC)
part-time, graveyard shift, self-employment, independent contracting

A+. indy1725 and I were laughing and laughing at these the other night.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2007-03-01 08:30 am (UTC)
And then sometimes you just need anything, to tide you over, so you go and look on Craigslist to see if you can get something casual over the weekend, but no matter how desperate you are, it always seems to be both more scary and less rewarding than you thought?
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2007-03-01 08:14 pm (UTC)
Feel free to use this
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-02-25 04:39 am (UTC)
A few years ago, when I was feeling particularly quirkyalone, meterbridge encouraged me to seek out more dates. "It's a game! You're supposed to have fun with it!" he said. I like fun, so I took J-J's advice. I met a guy I really liked on the Onion personals, and it turned out that we went to the same school! I fell HARD for Onion Boy after we met in person. But after a couple hookups, Onion Boy told me that he just wanted to be friends. I was pretty devastated by this news, and it distracted me from schoolwork, and it certainly took me a long, long time to make another stab at romance.

When I met Mike, the first thing I noticed was that he reminded me of Onion Boy. However, my relationship with Mike obviously went differently.

What makes Mike's and my relationship successful, I think, is that we took things slowly on an emotional level. We didn't refer to each other as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" or SAY "I love you" until about 6 months after we started dating. We didn't force anything along; we didn't make many assumptions about where the relationship was going. And we were honest with each other without just immediately spilling our guts (which can be frightening for the other person.)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-25 11:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm. That may have been a factor, but I bet you and Mike have been successful for other reasons, too.

Anyway, I was going to say that your first sentence there makes me think that perhaps you're missing the point of the term "quirkyalone". It's not supposed to be a bad thing; not something you feel like you should fix.

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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-02-28 04:47 am (UTC)
I didn't feel like it was something I had to fix at all. I rather liked it. But J-J convinced me that my singlehood was a Bad Thing, and then when I made an effort to fix it, that ended up backfiring BAD in the form of Onion Boy.

When I met Mike, I wasn't making an effort to meet people, it just sorta happened.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-03-01 07:33 am (UTC)
Oh, come on. You met him on craigslist! It's not like you met at the grocery store. You had to have been making at least a little bit of an effort if you were doing the craigslist-personals thing, right?
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[User Picture]From: phthoggos
2007-02-25 09:25 am (UTC)
I'm not really a fan of the word "quirky." The principle itself seems sound, though I'm not sure it's necessary to give it a trendy name (and if it is, I certainly veto this one). And I share the skepticism about the graphic design.

One problem with trying to draw any kind of conclusions about yourself and how you operate romantically is that there are so few data points -- and so many of them feel old and outdated.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-25 11:14 pm (UTC)
One problem with trying to draw any kind of conclusions about yourself and how you operate romantically is that there are so few data points -- and so many of them feel old and outdated.

Wise words.
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2007-02-25 10:55 pm (UTC)
I've never been able to sustain a relationship with a white/non-asian woman for longer than a few weeks. Most of my long-term relationships have been with asian women. This one I'm in now has been for over 14 months and it's really nice.

I think it just takes 1 to 15 years of dating to find someone that you can 1) really click with physically, mentally, emotionally and culturally 2) whose circumstances mesh well with yours and 3) who is open to a committed relationship. it takes a lot of time and a lot of tries to get right, but it's worth getting right.


I'm hoping to find a wife in Okinawa...I'll have 2 years.
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[User Picture]From: theguiterrorist
2007-02-26 06:50 am (UTC)
I suppose I would fit the description, but to quote Groucho Marx: "I don't want any part of a club that would have me as a member."

It's a good premise for a book, but trying to attach a name to it seems silly to me. People in their 20s are single for different reasons, not necessarily celebrating them even if they're fine with not being officially involved with someone.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-02-27 12:00 am (UTC)
From what I've gathered here though I tend to feel of the sort, even though I've been in numerous long term relationships.

Hmm. Well, maybe I do have a chip on my shoulder, but that seems unreasonable to me. It's sort of analogous to me saying, "I think I'm best described as a lesbian, even though I like boys." Um, no, sorry, doesn't work.

You could proudly call yourself quirky in many ways, Wren -- but not this way. It's mine. Mine! Hee.
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