“I can’t remember when I related to an article so completely as I did to yours . . . I think your article is more than an article. It celebrates a zanily free human condition so often pathologized by the media and others. I think there is a movement here.”
—Maralyn Lois Palak, a reader from Pennsylvania
“I proselytize about quirkyalone a lot. I’m not just interested in figuring it out for myself, I need to spread it.”
—Margaret Fenner, 33, professional QA
Soon after the original quirkyalone essay was published, mail and email started to stream in response, reporters started to call, and the word “quirkyalone” spread through digital-word-of-mouth, the independent media, and finally the mainstream media.
This newly coined word eventually touched so many people that it bloomed into something a grassroots movement. Several online communities devoted to its discussion sprang up on the Internet. Professors listed the original quirkyalone essay in their women’s studies syllabi. A Presbyterian minister talked about quirkyalone in her sermon as part of an alternative approach to love on Valentine’s Day. In San Francisco, the Independent Film Festival organized a film series of digital movies, “Fuel for the Quirkyalone.”
By 2003, the movement grew so large that it staged its first holiday: International Quirkyalone Day, February 14. International Quirkyalone Day is a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit; a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day; and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in shows such as Joe Millionaire and The Bachelorette.
Instead of throwing a pity party for the single, the movement organized a two-continent, four-city celebration in San Francisco, New York City, Providence, and Glasgow, Scotland to celebrate uniqueness, romance, the power of one, and the possibilities available to the unattached today. Plans are now underway for IQD-2004, set to coincide with the first-ever QA book.
Make no mistake: The quirkyalone movement is not headquartered in Washington, D.C.; there probably will be no Quirkyalone March on Washington. The quirkyalone movement is not centralized. But there are core values. Quirkyalone stands in opposition to saccharine, archaic notions of romantic love. It stands for self-respect, independent spirit, creativity, true love, and confidence.
In a sense, the quirkyalone community is what the anthropologist Victor Turner defines as “communitas,” a collection of liminal people who live outside fixed categories and classifications, among whose conversations exist a “kind of institutional capsule or pocket which contains the germ of future social developments, or social change.” Out of that community comes a new social category beyond single, coupled, married or divorced. In the future, when you check quirkyalone on your W-2 form, you will be indicating that you are able to live a fulfilling, rich life whether you are coupled up or not.