QuirkyAlone a manifesto for uncompromising romantics by sasha cagen

Posted on October 15, 2008

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“Out of millions, we have to find the one who will understand. Better to be untethered and open to possibility:living for the exhilaration of meeting someone new, of not knowing what the night will bring. We seek momentous meetings.“

Emily Dickinson is quirky and alone, but not quirkyalone… Quirkyalones are sociable people – and true loners.

quirkyalonepbbookcover-1Therein lies the complexity and paradox of the quirkyalone, a state of being happy alone while still yearning—and a book by Sasha Cagen declaring itself a Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.

The author coined it after one lonely-happy New Year’s Eve when everyone was kissing someone and she was watching everyone kissing someone and wished she could have done the same but not with some stranger but with someone who really mattered.

It’s not as if she was unattractive. She knew she had both brains and beauty, could have dazzled any guy if she had chosen to do so—but she chose not to. She chose not to settle.

So she wrote an essay about her insight, got it published in an independent magazine in 2000, and shook up a world filled with thousands of people who thought they were the only ones in the planet who felt the same way (a QuirkyAlone Movement was actually spawned by this essay).

Emails and letters swamped the author’s mailboxes, mostly from women in their mid20s up relieved to have finally found a spokesperson against society’s single-minded bias against singlehood, as if there’s something wrong with it, and dating is the only way to cure this flaw.

Quirkyalone – now that’s a cool description and a great validation. We old maids or bachelors suspected of being gays are brave and not foolish after all.

According to Cagen, to be quirkyalone requires a tough spirit—because ”it takes courage to keep holding out when you are told that you are holding out for an ideal that does not exist.”

She stresses though that being quirkyalone does not mean repudiating society or refusing to meet the right person. Quirkyalones simply don’t want to date just for the sake of dating.

I agree completely—if you’re comfortable with yourself, being alone isn’t a big deal really.

Does this mean I’m a quirkyalone? Well, my officemate seems to think so. One look at me and she was pushing this book at me. Maybe I am: I’ve been accused of being too idealistic, pathologically picky, in love with love often enough.

I admit I prefer a great miracle that will last a lifetime rather than the good old companionship that serves as ideal these days.

“There’s a power in Romantic yearning – the stolid power in holding out for a vision, feeling a sense of possibility.”

And I believe in sticking up for one’s ideals no matter how lonely it is sometimes. Better to be lonely than miserable, I think.

So what about you? Are you desperately holding on to “old-fashioned” values like holding out for ‘the one’ against all odds?

This book is a good lifeline then. I recommend it—though I think you should gloss over the ‘Marry Yourself’ (say kitsch!) and Quirkyslut (stretching the idea too far) parts. But its basic message, ‘be comfortable with your self, revel in your differences instead of despairing of them,’ is comforting.

“But when one quirkyalone finds another, ooh la la…The earth quakes. “

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