I’m not single, I’m quirkyalone

I called a boy today. And not because I’m desperate, but because I just haven’t lost hope for a meaningful encounter and I’m willing to put myself out there to try. However, I’m perfectly comfortable being “alone,” alone being defined, at least according to relatives at family get-togethers, as not being in a relationship. S.O.S.-I don’t have a boyfriend and it was Valentine’s Day. But there’s a whole generation of females not freaking out about not having a date, and-watch out-it’s not even bitter. Instead, on the day intended to celebrate love, they were at restaurants everywhere with friends, hosting dinner parties at apartments with cute party favors. They’re quirkyalones with the signature day, Feb. 14, celebrated as the International Quirkyalone day. I call myself one of their tribe. Dictionary definition:

“Quirkyalone n. a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status.

See also: romantic, idealist, independent.”

The movement, complete with “quirkymerch”-T-shirts, hats, even house wares (check out the quirkyalone apron), a book (Quirkyalone: a manifesto for uncompromising romantics), and a website (quirkyalone.net), was begun by Sasha Cagen in New Year’s of 1998. As she glanced around the room at midnight, the moment most singles are so conspicuously single, she noticed no one else was kissing each other either. It was, as they say, “A New Year’s Eve party totally devoid of midnight kiss.” Cagen felt that she may be on to something when, at a N.Y.C. ATM vestibule she declared, “‘You know what we are? We’re the Quirkyalones!” And her friends understood-no need to explain-a way to identify with similar others.

Thus has begun an outbreak of sorts of quirkyalones coming out all over the nation. Quirkyalone segments have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today and CNN. Cagen, 30, who resides in San Francisco, has apparently tapped into something. And it’s not unfounded. According to a recent study by the University of Chicago, urban dwellers spend about half their lives either single or dating. So contrary to popular thought, singles are not a small freak population amid strollers and happy couples in a park, but rather a small society of unmarrieds.

Cagen writes, “For the quirkyalone, there is no patience for dating just for the sake of not being alone. We want a miracle. Out of millions, we have to find the one who will understand.” According to QA mentality, it’s worth the wait-and it’s not a tragedy to not find that special someone. In life, QAs hope you find more than one-several -a group of friends, maybe, a best friend, several people who grow and cultivate life with you.

And alone is redefined. Contrary to the aunt and uncle who receive your “I’m not seeing anyone” answer with sympathetic pity, alone is “declaration of independence, a willingness to step out from the crowd to follow one’s own instincts.”

“What really defines the quirkyalone personality is that you’re not someone who becomes completely bitter about the possibility of romantic love. There are people who just shut off possibility and decide, ‘I’m not into relationships, it doesn’t work for me, and I’m happier being single.’ What’s funny about the quirkyalone is you have that part of ‘maybe I’m happier being single,’ but you also have that part of you that remains open to the possibility that you’ll meet someone and still feel as comfortable as you do on your own or with your friends, and that person will become part of your life.”

Melanie Klesse can be contacted at m.klesse@umiami.edu.