Saturday, May 15, 2004

When I heard about quirkyalone (Quirky? Is that what I am, quirky?), I pretty immediately went to check it out. I thought the premise was okay, but I prefer using "premise" to "concept" - 'premise' to me feels more like they had potential and really blew it. First of all, yeah, the name is bad. Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that is gonna be defined by its name, and it just leaves too much to interpretation for the worse. So first, am I quirky? How do I know if I'm quirky? It means I have quirks. I guess, maybe. But everybody has quirks. Idiosyncracies? sure. Out-and-out dysfunctions? If you're dysfunctional, can you downgrade that description to "quirky" for the purpose of joining this club? Am I quirky because I'm alone, or am I alone because I'm quirky?

At the time (still on the first sitting during which I'd discovered the thing), I went through a lot of the website's bulletin boards, thesis statements, and definitions, and found a whole lot of nonsense. People using the phrase "identifying as quirkyalone" rather than "identifying with," not a grammatical problem but one of creation of perception. It's one thing to be interested in an idea posed by someone else about how some people don't seem to fit into the general social mold, and another entirely - a bad one - to decide that it's a major personality type and the one for you. I myself have been "quirky," which I suppose just means varying levels of crazy, for a long while, and alone for a long while too. Do I "identify as" quirkyalone? Of course not. Did I feel that I was this particular personality-type before I heard it described as "quirkyalone"? Absolutely not. Yes, quirky, yes, alone. Quirkyalones are supposed to be proud of or happy with their solitude, and certainly at times I have been that. They are claimed to be more willing to be alone than to engage in any relationship that is less than ideal, and I have done that too, quite a lot. There's already a word for that; it's "unsuccessful." Everyone is looking for the best possible relationship, even those dismissively referred to by QA as 'serial monogamists,' of whom the most condemning difference from the quirkyalone is that they are functional with others, likeable and liked, and have more realistic ideas of how long relationships tend to last. Apparently the QAs like to paint themselves as true romantics, believers in true love and holding out for perfection, and I haven't had any truck with those concepts for a loooong time. I'm not down with condeming the serial monogamists. So a guy gets with a lot of girls. So what? I like a lot of girls, and I mean a LOT of girls. Am I above getting with them? Just the opposite. Would I get with a lot of girls if that were the way the cards had worked out for me? Probably so. Does that willingness make me less quirky? I don't see it. So the Quirkyalones aren't averse to relationships; they want relationships, sometimes very badly, and just want you to believe they're holding out for the ideal ones. In other words, they are human beings who have failed, to date, to date. I'm sorry, that sentence is a little too cute. They are people who have failed to find the relationships they want. There's a word for that too: "failures." Don't condemn me too harshly as condemning them too harshly. I'm not calling them bad people or losers. I am speaking scientifically: these people are romantic failures. If they want to be high and mighty and prudish, and state from their label-claiming high ground that people who are out there trying to make less-than-perfect relationships work, that people who are trying to get to know people in hopes that they'll find an interaction is more complex and valuable than they had thought, that people who like spending their time with companions whose company they enjoy, even as they grow to understand that perhaps this relationship, too, is destined to fail as the previous did, then let them state it, but I am not prepared to concede that the naivete of thinking the true love will come along is superior to the naivete of thinking the love that has come along might turn out to be pretty true.

I feel like based on the good number of posts I've read, combined with the definitions given, the most practical application of the definition of quirkyalone is the improbable combination of picky nerd. The romantic demands of the women are nothing at all different from what other women want. The guys seem inordinately proud of, say, not liking football, or having a computer job. If you are a nerd, absolutely fine. If you want to be picky, that's okay by me. If you're a dysfunctional nerd like me and want to couch your terror of human relations in empowering language, go ahead; heaven knows I've created myself an indignant little self-important persona, backed up with anecdotes and what I hope is incisive self- and other- and social analysis But it's not anything special.

And Quirkytogethers? What kind of trash is that? We're so enamored of this concept that we can't bear to exclude the people who by definition are exterior to it? Listen, if you found somebody, you can't be quirkyalone. That's how it is. The concept of QA is that you're alone and okay with it. If you're not alone, you no longer have any claim on the concept of aloneness. It doesn't matter how comfortable you were when you were alone. If aloneness is such a badge of pride for you, why'd you drop it? You lost your ability to identify-as when you started your little relationship. Now you're just a nerd with a girlfriend.

I had tried to take the test, by the way, first. I resented that it wouldn't let me skip the questions that didn't apply.

Then I read the quiz again, the quiz at the end, with the point values displayed so plainly, and was even more infuriated with the stupid, black-and-white, all-or-nothing nature of it, the inability to skip a question or none-of-the-above it when the answers are all way off, the assumption that if I like action thrillers I am not smart enough or cool enough to be part of the quirky club. It's late and I'm tired, but in the morning I might go back to that quiz again and take it apart. We'll see; I may be less vituperative in the morning. Some mornings I am. This morning I wasn't.

Reviewed by Matthew Abrams
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees



Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip


The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State


13 Going On 30




Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper


Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case



Joan of Arcadia



Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island



To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

JalapeƱo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life


Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar


Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club


The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland



The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito



Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down


Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes


That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos


Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center


American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides