More and more, millennials and the generations directly preceding them are turning away from what was once a culturally accepted phenomenon: pairing up from a young age, and staying with a partner – any partner – through high school, to college, to marriage, children, and death. For some reason, generations older than those born in the last twenty years find the concept of not wanting to do this to be something on the edge of taboo. To them, the idea of someone happily existing as a single entity – by choice, no less – is seen as unnatural. Because surely everyone wants to meet a partner and settle down. Surely being single is a sign that something is wrong with you; a sign that no one wants to be with you. That’s how it’s always been, after all, right?
At the start of the new millennium, writer and coach Sasha Cagen came up with a neologism for this new trend of singledom: Quirkyalone. Someone who is Quirkyalone, she said, was someone who enjoyed their own company, and enjoyed being single enough that they felt no need to seek out a partner simply for the sake of having a partner. Someone who is Quirkyalone relishes “equal doses of friendship and solitude, freedom and possibility”. But does this mean that those who identify this way simply do not want any romantic relationship, connection, or love, ever?
It is important to clarify that that is not the case.
Those who identify as Quirkyalone are not necessarily those that identify as aromantic (people who feel no romantic attraction towards others), asexual (people who feel no sexual attraction towards others, and can sometimes experience sexual repulsion), or antisocial (people who find no pleasure in the company of others); though, of course, they can. These are simply people who do not wish to date indiscriminately while waiting for the right person to come along – if they ever do – in their lives.
It is important to stress, too, that those who are Quirkyalone are not, in fact, alone. Many who remain single by choice do so because they feel no need to fall to societal pressure that claims that if you are without a partner you will be unhappy. These people have deep and lasting connections with friends and family and spend a great deal of time enjoying their hobbies, alone or with others. Alone, in this case, is a definition of strength, according to Cagen, not vulnerability or weakness, as generations born before the new millennium had been led to believe.
As society grows in its acceptance and diversity, terms like Quirkyalone allow people to feel comfortable and confident in their choices that may have once seemed completely inconceivable, let alone accessible.