February 25th, 2012

Living alone: weirdness unleashed

Live alone? Watch out; you may find yourself getting a mite too weird for comfort:

In a sense, living alone represents the self let loose. In the absence of what Mr. Klinenberg calls “surveilling eyes,” the solo dweller is free to indulge his or her odder habits — what is sometimes referred to as Secret Single Behavior. Feel like standing naked in your kitchen at 2 a.m., eating peanut butter from the jar? Who’s to know?

Let me state here and now that I never eat peanut butter from the jar—but only because, alas, peanut butter (like chocolate) gives me migraines. But I shamefully confess that I often eat other treats from the jar, at 2 AM, while standing up—although fully clothed in my favorite mismatched-but-no-doubt-adorable sweats.

However, I hasten to add that I am so unapologetically weird that I do all of that even when living with someone. I don’t let those “surveilling eyes” stop me from almost any eccentricity I care to display—perhaps because my various roomies/mates/boyfriends have all been pretty darn eccentric themselves.

25 Responses to “Living alone: weirdness unleashed”

  1. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    The Left wants to stress the idea of “not tying yourself down in marriage” in every way they can. Just as in all these “studies” that always seem to show that Conservatives are stupider, more dangerous, more racist, etc., the Left is constantly coming up with “studies” that demonstrate something they want you to do is the best way to live.

    The President is also talking about everyone going to college. Think “indoctrination”. Think about his saying that attendance at college should be a way for illegals to gain citizenship.

    Think votes.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    “… my various roomies/mates/boyfriends have all been pretty darn eccentric themselves.”

    Really? Examples. Tell all!

  3. vanderleun Says:

    And speaking of weird….. fix that getting link!

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    One of the benefits of being married is your spouse will point out when you’ve done something really stupid. People who live alone miss out on that.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    vanderleun: link fixed!

    As for “tell all”: that’s what the apple is for.

  6. Mac Says:

    I’ve lived only for only about two of my forty or so years of adult life, and those were 35 years ago. But my wife is out of town for two weeks, which are about half over now, and I can definitely see how this would happen. Already I find myself talking to the animals more, not to mention talking to myself.

  7. expat Says:

    After college when I moved alone to a city where I knew almost no one, I lived alone. Even after I started making friends, I didn’t want roomates. It seemed like friends who shared apartments also shared their friends and aquaintances. Coversations were usually about interests shared by the whole group. I liked being able to have over people I found interesting and talk with them about all sorts of things not of general interest and sometimes too personal to share withh a group. I didn’t stay home and become weird. I went out a lot.

    But, I never wanted this to be my permanent situation. It was sort of like grad school in life experiences.

  8. SteveH Says:

    To be solely in charge of all remote controls and pile dishes in the sink till a sculpture is created does something secretly wonderful for a man.

  9. Mr. Frank Says:

    The people featured in the article tend to be relatively young, healthy, and employed. To the extent that those variables change, living alone becomes more challenging. It might have been Faulkner who said family are the people who have to take you in when you have to go there.

    I have a single friend who I have taken to a colonoscopy, a prostate biopsy, and cataract surgery. He is a good friend and I’m pleased to help, but I think living alone gets tougher later in life.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: No, not Faulkner. It was none other than Robert Frost (a photo of whose collected works appears in the photo at the top of my blog). The poem was “Death of the Hired Man“:

    “Warren,” she said, “he has come home to die:
    You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”

    “Home,” he mocked gently.

    “Yes, what else but home?
    It all depends on what you mean by home.
    Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
    Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
    Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

    “Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
    They have to take you in.”

    “I should have called it
    Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”

  11. Foxfier Says:

    I lived alone for nearly a whole year waiting for my husband-to-be to get back– I didn’t get any odder. (Because of where I was living, I couldn’t socialize with the neighbors, either– after scaring the heck out of the third person by being personable, I stopped.) I’ve gotten odder AFTER getting married and living with my husband!

  12. Mr. Frank Says:

    Thanks, Neo. The breadth and depth of your knowledge and interests continue to impress me.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: You’re welcome. I don’t know about “breadth,” but I do know a lot of poetry. Here’s one of the reasons why.

  14. LAG Says:

    If you give in to eccentricities when married, you soon find out whether the relationship is meant to last. I have 35 years in and a woman who loves me for all my peculiarities.

  15. Mr. Frank Says:

    Neo, Your early education has served you well. Today’s educators would consider your teachers and curriculum hopelessly outdated and too tilted to dead white males. What a shame.

  16. rickl Says:

    The dust bunnies in my house have been declared national landmarks.

    So I can’t clean them up. It would violate Federal law or something.

    I do keep my pajamas on while reading and commenting on blogs, however. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: most of my teachers seemed hopelessly outdated even then. For the most part, they were quite elderly. I say that not knowing how old they were, but to the best of my recollection they seemed between 70 and 80, which probably couldn’t have been the case.

  18. PA Cat Says:

    On the other side of the fence, I never realized how much I had been bugged by living with a sharp-tongued hypercritical mother and later with a roommate who could have been her clone until I had my first solo apartment. It was like having a weight lifted, to be able to hang a favorite picture on the wall without someone saying, “You call that art?” or “I can’t believe what poor taste you have!” Or to be able to listen to classical music without being told to “turn off that crap!” I’m not particularly eccentric– at least I don’t think so– but I do enjoy my current freedom from petty verbal abrasion.

  19. Parker Says:

    I’ve been with the same ‘room mate’ for 42 years. We each have our own idiosyncrasies, but over the years we’ve come to accept those peculiarities and find more than a few of them endearing. Of course, from time to time, we each find something the other does annoying. However, we have long ago figured out that some conflicts in the day to day scheme of things are merely par for the course. Differences are discussed and compromises are reached. At the end of the day we snuggled up and feel blessed to be skin to skin. I insist that I die first because I can’t imagine life without her.


  20. Deeka Says:

    “(S)tanding naked in your kitchen at 2 a.m., eating peanut butter from the jar?”

    What’s weird about that?

  21. I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism Says:

    The important question is why is this “weird” behavior when, as a class, it’s really quite normal?

  22. I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism Says:

    It was like having a weight lifted, to be able to hang a favorite picture on the wall without someone saying, “You call that art?” or “I can’t believe what poor taste you have!”

    PA Cat, your mistake is not telling other people to STFU.

    The people of whom you speak are intellectual bullies, who enjoy preying upon those who won’t fight back, and the only way to behave with ANY bully is to step on their toes until they apologize for being in your way.

    If necessary, prepare a set-piece harangue to apply to them asking them who died and made them the arbiter of taste and sensible manners? Tell them it can’t have been Emily Post, as she would never, ever assign such an important job to such a complete and obvious nitwit.


  23. Baklava Says:

    We are a match made in heaven Neo!


    btw, I clicked, double-clicked, triple-clicked and tried dragging the apple for that tell all :)

  24. rk Says:

    yeah, i kinda thought a lot of people ate PB out of the jar….I sure do, yeah, at 1 or 2 in the AM. I think it makes me feel warm…and sleepy.

    My wife does the same thing (i know, i know…gross)

  25. Joanna Says:

    Bupkis: Discretion is the better part of valor, and sometimes a confrontation (or series of confrontations) will only make things worse. Sometimes standing up to someone makes them dig in deeper, worsening the situation. I speak from experience here: Defeating a bully isn’t always about breaking him or her down. Sometimes it’s about enduring until you can get away, and then living your own life as though they never existed.

    As for the weirdness, peanut butter is for amateurs. The pros eat Nutella. And we *don’t* use a spoon.

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