Dear Quirkyalone: Where are all the Quirkyalone men?

“Dear Quirkyalone: Advice for QuirkyLiving” is a weekly guest column by the authors of the brilliant blog Onely. It appears every Monday. When you’re making up your own road map for (quirky)living, you need thoughtful advice. We’re here for you. Quirkyalone and Onely welcome your questions; send them on to onely AT onely.org.

Dear Quirkyalone,

Why are there so many more Quirkyalone women than Quirkyalone men? –Cynthia

Dear Cynthia,

Let me start by saying that the Quirkyalone movement–and the singles’ advocacy movement in general–needs and wants more men. More men! More single men’s blogs! More single men commenting on blogs! More single men writing about, talking about, thinking about, and waving a banner for Quirkyaloneness. The concept of being happily single and not settling is not unique to women.

While not unique t0 women, the experience of being able to hold out for one’s dream man or woman (and being ok if that person never comes) is a relatively new experience for them. For most of this history of the human race, females were usually forced to settle. What choice did they have? They were not fully allowed into the workforce or given control over their own finances, inheritances, birth control, etc. Sometimes they even did more than settle: they connived, competed, and prostrated in order to snag a man, any man, who: wanted them; could feed and clothe them; could care for the children the woman would inevitably conceive. If the woman had luck, she married someone who refrained from abusing her out of his own moral sense, so she didn’t have to rely on the vagaries of a patriarchal law system to protect her. Renee Zellweger’s man-eating and manipulating character in the historical fiction western Appaloosa is a good example of this desperate search for protection. Toward the end of the movie she gives a tearful speech where she defends her actions, pointing out that her entire survival depends on her ability to get and keep a man.

Perhaps the large number of Quirkyalone (and Quirkytogether) women reflects a backlash (consciously or not) against this oppressive legacy. Perhaps in the collective female consciousness, or through stories passed down from generations of mothers to daughters, Quirkyalone women retain the memory of their ancestors’ frustrations and abstain from all but the most stellar relationships out of respect for those before them who didn’t have the choice to be single.

Another reason for the higher visibility of Quirkyalone women may be that they are primed, biologically and/or culturally, to reach out to other people for friendship and support, to share their feelings, and to provide and seek empathy with others. Because of this, women tend to have larger or stronger networks of friends and extended family for emotional support. This is helpful characteristic if you want to be happy in the absence of a dedicated romantic partner. What’s more, these sorts of communication skills lend themselves to participation in an advocacy community, whether at meetings or group happy hours or online blogs and listserves.

Women are used to talking about relationships. We are used to reading pop culture articles telling us how to have relationships. We are used to being told how to find and keep a man. We are therefore used to judging ourselves according to our relationship status. From that point, it’s a relatively small mental leap to say, “I have judged my single status and found it. . . not really as bad as all the magazines make it out to be.”  Men, however, do not spend as much time–indeed, are not encouraged to spend as much time–thinking about relationships. So they are less likely to end up browsing the internet for “ok to be single” and stumble upon Quirkyalone.

All that said, there’s no reason more men can’t discover their inner Quirkyaloneness. In fact, it’s important to encourage men to integrate into the Quirkyalone movement, exactly because they may have a tendency not to reach out and communicate as intensely as women, leading (depending on the person) to the unhappy isolation so many people couple up to try to avoid.

We welcome comments from our readers about good sources of the male Quirkyalone voice. I know there are blogs by single male parents out there. What about single male non-parents? We’d love to hear from any male Quirkyalones or Quirkytogethers. What has the single life been like for you? For more on this topic, please see Calling All Men!.

–Christina

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About

Onely is a blog that deconstructs stereotypes of singlehood. It's for singles who enjoy being single but remain open to a variety of romantic relationships, either for themselves or for others. Onely comprises two people: Lisa and Christina. Christina has an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing, but she still struggles with her participles and a tendency toward semicolon abuse. She has bravely persevered against these obstacles in her work as one-half of the Onely writing team. For most of her thirty-odd years she has been Quirkyalone, but she also has experience as a Quirkytogether, a Lonelyalone, and--most terrifying--a Lonelytogether. Currently she is contentedly single, balancing a left-brained day job that feeds her cat with right-brained writing projects that feed her soul. In Dear Quirkyalone, she hopes to share her lessons learned with other readers who want to understand and embrace Quirkyliving. The secret? Always listen to Lisa. Lisa has an MFA in creative writing and is about halfway through a doctoral program in Rhetoric and Composition. She loves writing about singles issues on Onely because it gives her a break from what she writes in “real life,” and she loves giving advice on QA because – as most academics do – she thinks she’s always right. Lisa owns a dog named Kitty, loves Judith Butler and Michel Foucault, and undertakes long road/camping trips as often as possible. She apologizes in advance for her language taking “academic” (not to be confused with “epic”) proportions, and advises readers first and foremost to always heed Christina’s advice.

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15 comments on “Dear Quirkyalone: Where are all the Quirkyalone men?
  1. Sasha Cagen says:

    Bravo!!! Great post. Since opening up Quirkyalone as a group blog I have been hunting for a wise, astute quirkyalone man to join the growing stable of writers. Men often complain that their issues (being assumed to be commitment phobic, etc.) are not addressed. So please, men, bring it on! And if you’re a blogger, write us at info at quirkyalone.net.

    • Joel Rane says:

      Here I am! I’m proud to be a “gentleman bachelor” as my grandmother used to say, and exhort all my friends, especially those who are “desperate” to get into a relationship as we push into our 40s. I’m near the age where my friends’ oldest kids are becoming teenagers and moving away…and they’re suddenly alone again (alone together, some) after 18 years…and coming back to me for “adult” fun. Welcome back to the night, let’s have a cocktail party! There are plenty of men like me; although I’m probably more extreme than most (I love living alone and going out every night at 44.) We’re here, we’re just not as organized as the ladies!

  2. David says:

    Hello,

    As a QA male, I personally feel that QA women tend to quietly reject QA males in favour of QA females. It all starts with the original book which is very female orientated. QA males are different and don’t go running around after any female but female QAs stil seem to put us all in the same bucket which I find insulting. I have standards! I think by being more inclusive with QA males that come along, you will encourage and hold onto them instead of bemoaning why they aren’t around. Bye.David xx

    • Onely says:

      David: I’m not entirely sure whether I have understood your comment, but I will do my best to try to address your last points:

      1) We are not looking for QA males to “hold on to” into a pairing context (as seems to be implied by your comment).

      2) We are not “bemoaning” the lack of QA males–we are asking, from an academic/intellectual/sociological standpoint, why their voices are not heard in the movement and how we can hear more from them, in order to inform the comprehensive QA experience.

      I’m not quite able to decipher the points you’re making in the first couple sentences, sorry.

      Christina

  3. David says:

    Another David (lol).

    Regarding issue of QA males voicing their ideas & experiences, I have some theories but alas I’m new to the QA scene:

    1) QA male population is even smaller than QA females? Just a thought.

    2) QA males tend to be less of the blogger type, at least with regards to relationships and love life, etc. Most men would probably blog about their hobbies or career/profession. Since when have I ever seen a male newspaper/magazine columist dishing out or answering relationship advice? I’m assuming QA males are similar to non-QA males in that respect to blogging. Maybe with the exception of males of the BGLT community.

  4. Onely says:

    David 2 is right: Don’t men’s magazines have women advice columnists? Everyone, keep an eye out when you’re browsing Maxim and Men’s Health in the airport bookstores!

    Christina

  5. Carl says:

    I’d describe myself as a QA male and it is quite right to say that men are not encouraged to spend time thinking about or talking about relationships. I think it goes further than that. We’re punished if we do, especially amongst other men. You open up in front of other men & you get mocked or they change the subject quickly, squirming with discomfort. If you are fortunate enough to have female friends that you can talk to, then that’s your outlet. But in my experience it is pretty rare to find other men willing to be open & honest in that way.

    So I think being a QA male is possibly a more challenging state if you dont have the network of friends to talk to. Maybe you dont find us because we’re all hiding from the non-QA men, keeping our QA’ness a secret to avoid being laughed at, or worse – it can lead to violence. On the surface our QA’ness is not immediately visible, it has to be coaxed out gently & once we know we can trust you with it, then we’ll reveal ourselves.

    I agree with David1, many women cant see us &, they assume we’re like all the other non-QA men (which offends us) and approach us with that mind set – ‘putting us in the same bucket’ as David1 put it. I’m always finding I’m having to correct wrong assumptions that a prospective new partner will make. I’d like them to treat me as an open book and explore what I am, with no preconceptions, but way too often it’s like they come with their ‘Guidebook to Man’ tucked under their arm & assume my behavior will follow the stereotype. Sometimes it is too exhausting to keep challenging the misconceptions and I give up.

    My QA’ness is also wrapped up in an artistic personality type. I love theatre, ballet, opera & all that. These are not mainstream interests where I live, its definitely a minority who enjoy that kind of thing. What I look for in a woman is someone who shares my interests & goals, or as close as I can find to that ideal. If I’m in a social environment, I cant possibly identify which of the single females present is suited to me until I talk to them. Although there may be some visual clues, like how they dress, which can help identify the most likely. Yet the majority of my male friends will ask ‘which one do you like?’. My response is ‘I dont know’. They’re only looking at the physical attributes so my response is baffling to them & makes them think I must be gay. Having my heterosexuality questioned is a very regular occurrence. I’d probably not get past more than a week without it being mentioned. My interest in theatre seems to confirm it for them but I dont talk about that much around them.

    Also everyone is full of advice on where I’m going wrong. If only I did this or that I’d meet someone. Yeah go to a bar, get hammered, take someone home, wake up next to her in the morning – that’ll work! This advice is thrust at me without invitation. In the main I just find it all rather tiresome.

    And so the search continues, I’d love to be coupled with someone who I felt compatible with, but to give up and enter a relationship that doesnt add the value to my life that I crave, would be worse than being single. I think the loneliness of that would eat me up inside. Meanwhile I pursue all my many and varied interests with gusto & other people are a lot more concerned about my single state than I am.

    So there’s probably no doubt I’m QA…

  6. Kelvin says:

    I have been preaching the quirkyalone gospel since I read the original essay back in 2000. I am most definitely quirkyalone, and most definitely male… and most definitely interested in contributing to a quirkyalone blog. We can debate as to why the male voice isn’t heard as loudly, but the sad fact is that our perspective isn’t often heard.

    How can I help remedy this? Feel free to contact me at my email address and I’ll do my best to provide writing samples (although my production has been lacking as of late, which is why I’m so motivated to contribute to this cause).

  7. David1 says:

    Christina, the fact that you don’t understand my comments but Carl does just underlines my argument that QA males are not accepted by QA females but then missed when we fade away. I would say that its not me who has to clarify my arguments but you who should try and understand what I have already said.

  8. Onely says:

    Carl and David1/David2 — these are good points. I’ve just published a (separate) post over at Onely that considers these issues (and your concerns). We’d love it if you added to that conversation with our regular readers: http://onely.org/2009/12/12/singlism-feminism-what-gives-part-one/

    – Lisa

  9. JDR says:

    Do you think that George Clooney a quirkyalone and he has to protect himself from all sorts of prejudice (homophobia) by keeping a model by his side at all photo-ops?

  10. Gerald says:

    I am a single male and have had emotional problems in my past. I have been in some bad relationships that ended poorly and I have chosen to remain alone. I like to talk to women, but they usually have husbands or boyfriends and are suspicious of man paying attention to their woman. Also word gets around that I have had depression etc. and people to talk, so now there is the – he has a mental problem, or because I am am creative and close to my mother, he must be gay. I don’t mind the gay stuff usually, I think it is funny how stupid men act around me when they think I am gay just because I am just a friendly person.

    Then the worst thing of all, are the, he must be a sexual deviant stuff, or what does he do for sex stuff. I mean every red blooded male want to screw something right?

    i have been hurt in the past and for the sake of my psyche, choose not to date or screw around. It is hard to tell people what is really going on in your mind about all that. It really doesn’t pop up in conversation. Why don’t you have a girlfriend? at a cocktail party and take a few minutes to bend their ear on the I need to stay single for my sanity stuff.

    Let’s face, Guys are the problem in a lot of society’s ills, They are the sexual predators, the criminals and the people that are always trying to look for an angle to get into someone’s pants, There is a shame of being different that way and it raises many eyebrows if you have any shred of a checkered past. This makes meeting people very hard besides the obstacles in new relationships in explaining yourself. So I think guys, keep it to themselves, and hide from the scrutiny and because by nature are less expressive of their inner thoughts and feelings with others.

    As a guy, I really like women for many reasons, and need to have them in my life, even though I am wanting to stay single. But that thought almost never crosses their mind.

  11. Interesting….We are out here. For instance I have joked to many friends that I am going to start a singles group called “Jesus was single”….and the the goal of the singles group is NOT to hook up, but to live a spiritually healthy life, free of all codependence….if you happen to hook up, well that’s certainly not encouraged, and ok, if you get there paradoxically….no bluffing. This movement is knocking at a very deeply spiritual door. Did Jesus say the kingdom of heaven is “within” or did he say it is “within your hot neighbor!”? We as a society go to other monkeys for our salvation and I think that is a violation of natural law…..and when you violate natural laws, such as gravity, you fall! Anywho, We are out here….Perhaps we are not as oppressed as women so need a bit less support….Although, this is still a profoundly solitudinal road for men. You know “the narrow road” to borrow another Christian term. By the way, I am very influenced by eastern philoosophy as well. Detachment, i believe, is at the core of this whole movement. AND, ironically and paradoxically, once you can really be alone, and do your own spiritual homework, then and only then can you coexist peacefully with other monkeys! 😉

    Never-married Mike(43 yo male)

  12. JB says:

    I recently found out about the Quirkyalone website after reading a woman’s profile on a dating website. The dating websites are a laugher, I’m finding.

    But, what about this quirkyalone stuff? I like the thought of it. I’ve been single for quite some time, by choice. However, there is something deep inside me that would really like to meet someone special with whom I can spend…perhaps…the rest of my life.

    I ask myself, am I the type of person who wants to get married someday? Maybe. I’m not sure. I enjoy my freedom very much. Even more, I’m extremely selective. I’ve even questioned whether or not I’m too selective.

    I don’t need a woman to complete me, but I would love a woman to compliment me.

    Being single over the past few years has been an interesting experience for me. Many of my friends and acquaintances continue to ask me why I’m single. Why I am not dating anyone right now. I’m not even sure I can answer the question honestly sometimes.

    Part of me believes I still need to grow as a person, and therefore I need more time before I can be a good relationship partner (maybe I’m being too hard on myself). Part of me thinks that maybe I’m just meant to be single my whole life.

    I don’t really like the thought of being single for the rest of my life.

    There is, however, so much I enjoy about being single. As I hear about people around me getting divorced, or about how discontented some people are in their marriage or relationship, there is a sense of relief I get from not having to go through that kind of heart ache.

    I’m just a regular guy, living in this amazing, complex, beautiful, confusing, fascinating world.

    I’m just trying to live it to the best of my abilities. I’m just trying to grow as a human being every single day; to affect people in the most positive way possible.

    Sometimes I feel like “married” people, regardless of the quality of their marriage, wonder “what’s wrong” with a guy like me who happens to be happy when he is single. As a matter of fact, I think some women out there see a man who has been married, then divorced, as a better catch than someone like me who has never been married or divorced. Why? Because at least the guy who got married then divorced, committed to the highest level a relationship can be taken.

    There is a lot of crap I have to deal with as a single man. Not to mention, the “man bashing” that I frequently read about and hear.

    Complete broad generalizations like, “all men are pigs.”

    “Men are clueless.”

    blahdy, blahdy, blah

    I see a lot of frustrated women out there, and when they are frustrated, they resort to man bashing, overlooking their own contribution to the reason they are single.

    It seems to be really easy for some women to say, “it’s the man’s fault.” Especially considering men are a big cause of many of the more serious problems in our world.

    Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. This was kind of a stream of consciousness comment. I’m curious to see the replies and thoughts about what I’ve written.

    Cheers,

    JB

  13. Raj says:

    I would very much grab a copy of such a book from the good Dr H. But I would respectfully susgget to her that she make all the necessary adjustments for study subjects, survey population, distribution of study subjects and whatever “Ph.D. stuff” so that her critics (that predictable liberal stampede of know-it-somes) that will assault her findings.Other than that…best of luck!!!

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What’s a quirkyalone?

A quirkyalone is a person who enjoys being single (or spending time alone) and so prefers to wait for the right person to come along rather than dating indiscriminately. Quirkyalones prefer to be single rather than settle.
Quirkyalones can also be married or in a committed relationship (quirkytogether). You can be a man or a woman, any age.
Quirkyalone is ultimately a philosophy about finding happiness within yourself whether you’re single or in a relationship.

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