More people are living alone than ever, as a statistic we met recently with great happiness noted. But -- prepare yourself -- living alone might be making you weird. In The New York Times' today, Steven Kurutz sort of went and ruined that joy with his look at the strange things people do when they live alone.
How weird does it get? A few examples from Kurutz's piece and our own personal experience:
- Staying up all night.
- Washing vegetables in the shower.
- Examining your pores nightly in a mirror.
- Coming home late at night and attempting to cook things.
- Wearing strange ensembles.
- Never closing the bathroom door.
- Talking to your cat.
- Never eating actual proper meals. Small bag of Doritos for dinner, mayhaps?
- Being weird.
In the parlance of Sex and the City, this was "Secret Single Behavior." But, is it actually a problem? Take the case of Amy Kennedy, a 28-year-old schoolteacher who lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment. Kurutz writes:
The effects are noticeable, she said: “I’ve been living alone for six years, and I’ve gotten quirkier and quirkier.”
Among her domestic oddities: running in place during TV commercials; speaking conversational French to herself while making breakfast (she listens to a language CD); singing Journey songs in the shower; and removing only the clothes she needs from her dryer, thus turning it into a makeshift dresser.
“The entire apartment is your room,” Ms. Kennedy said, by way of explanation. “If I leave a bra on the kitchen table, I don’t think much about it.”
Wait, actually, none of that sounds weird. In fact, the only truly weird thing Ms. Kennedy does is forget her skirt, which isn't really single behavior as much as it is forgetful. But what about Kate Bolick, author of The Atlantic's "All the Single Ladies" piece? How weird is she?
Ms. Bolick even has a home-alone outfit. “I have this pair of white flax bloomers that go down to my knee. They’re like pantaloons. They’re so weird,” she said. “If someone comes over, I change out of them.”
Again, actually not that strange. Surely, there are people who live with people who wear awful things, eat peanut butter from the jar in the middle of the night, or sing in the shower. If anything, living alone is a blessed time in which we can figure out how many of those things we want to do, and cement our doing of them into some sort of perpetuity, albeit with balance. Does this make us any weirder than any other human? Probably not. But it's still fun to talk about. And, if you think people who live with people don't do anything weird, well, take the case of Chad Griffith, who's never lived alone but, when his fiancé goes out of town, does things like this:
“I’ve been known to drink Champagne in the shower at 8 a.m.,” Mr. Griffith said. “I’ll play Madden NFL Football for 10 hours straight, eat a French bread pizza for every meal of the day.”
Sounds like Griffith should maybe have a talk with his fiancé. That can't be healthy.
Whenever we talk about single people living alone, a question comes up, perhaps from those living unhappily with others: What if those weird singletons become so set in their bizarre behaviors that they can never live with someone, you know, properly? But the more germane question might be, with all that freedom to eat and dress and bathe and sleep (or not sleep) without judgment: Why would they want to? Until, inevitably, some of them do. But we doubt they'll change all of their "quirky" habits then, nor should they really have to. People are weird. Living with someone else isn't going to change that.
Full disclosure: this blogger wrote this post alone in her apartment, clad in odd pants, with her legs propped on her desk.
Image via Shutterstock by AISPIX by Image Source.