The story about living alone in today's New York Times suggests that when your space is all yours, you get, well, strange: "The solo dweller is free to indulge his or her odder habits." That said, most of the so-called "Secret Single Behavior" in the story isn't really that bizarre. Reporter Steven Kurutz talks to folks who don't close the bathroom door, don't do the dishes, go to bed late and talk to themselves, or their pets. Frankly, all of this seems perfectly acceptable and par for the course (but then again, I live alone.) No, the real freaky shit is in the comments.
It seems the piece about living alone drew out a smattering of eccentric solo dwellers. Take LM, in Germany:
I lived alone for 11 years and had a queen size bed.
I would sleep on one side of the bed until they needed a change and then switch to the other side (I figured it was still clean) ... it saved me the burden of changing sheets!
That is definitely weird. Plus, everyone who lives alone knows you're supposed to sleep spread-eagle, star-fish style, taking up as much mattress real estate as possible. Them's the facts!
WinManCan, in Canada, has fully committed to living alone:
I took the bathroom door completely off...ahh! freedom!!
It's true, not everyone seems to be thrilled about living by themselves. A reader from China writes:
I have lived alone for 5 years.
I have dinner ,watch tv, sleep and talk by myself.I do everything by myself.
I feel free and unhappy.
Some of these people add odd but minor confessions, like AC in New York:
I kiss my cats on the lips - a lot.
But for the most part, these people are hilarious freaks. Take Been There from Southern California:
After 11 years of living with my husband in his ancestral home, I ran screaming to the realtor. I had reached the limits of my most generous tolerance of bicycle parts on the kitchen table, old Tolkien posters from the 70s and other accoutrements of a Dungeon Master, and the darkness of a quirky and original California redwood bungalow from the 1920s that had never been painted on the inside and that was built of single-walled construction. The effect of living a modern and wired life in the semi-urban equivalent of a log cabin without the benefit of insulation proved more than I could stand. Luckily, we were in a position at the time which allowed us to purchase a second home...MINE. We now live about a mile apart, he in his dungeon and me in my bright, colorful, and fairly well-insulated 1920s bungalow. I have recovered from the creative and spiritual amnesia caused by living in a small space with someone resistant to change.
And the winner has to be MJT from San Diego, who, much like Kramer and his "levels," has a very high-concept living situation.
Some one once said " you must turn loneliness into an art " I had a few girlfriends live with me over the years, but at 69 i live alone and love it. I sleep in a Lazyboy and don"t need a bed.,which opens my small apt. up to many possibilities. I slide my laptop from the arm of my chair to a table when i sleep. I don't have a TV. I like other people's pets but would never own another. I guess i am selfish, but that is the way i like i it. I come and go as i please,hardly ever use my car,and ride my bicycle all over town. To each his own.
No bed. Yeeeeah.
So what is it about living alone — and talking about living alone — that makes people feel the need to share their experiences? Is it because they secretly crave a certain kind of interaction they don't get on a regular basis? And why is it that some of these folks are total weirdos? Do we who live alone become blind to how our idiosyncrasies take over? (Maybe! one commenter on the article admits she suffers from "clutter-blindness," which is why she has had a giant clear plastic sack full of shredded paper sitting next to her bed for at least two years: "If I was not blind to it, I would be able to see that it's quite an eyesore.") And perhaps the ultimate question is, are we only truly ourselves when we live alone? Does the company of others force us to quash and conceal traits and habits that would otherwise blossom and thrive? And if suppressing urges keeps you from living up to your fullest potential, does that mean that a person who lives alone is superior to one who does not? (Said with shoulders back, nose in the air.)
I don't know the answers to these questions. I only know that I have love living alone, and if it's the gentle breeze that helps my freak flag fly, so be it. The infinite stimuli in this world, in this city, can be both thrilling and overwhelming; returning to a sanctuary that is all your own calms the mind, the spirit and tired feet. And forget dirty dishes, clutter, loud music, dancing naked in the night and the Times piece and all of the commenters left out one very important advantage of living alone: Farting. Triumphantly, unapologetically, satisfyingly, without shame or witnesses.
One Is the Quirkiest Number [NY Times]
Photo by Odelia Cohen/Shutterstock.