by Stef & Riese
Today, The New York Times‘ Modern Love column published an essay entitled, “Is There Something Queer About Being Single?,” which might as well have been subtitled, “The Straights Are At It Again.” In the column, a very nice-seeming writer wonders about the larger consequences of how she’ll be perceived as a single woman on a road trip who almost cut all her hair off but then didn’t cut her hair off.
While camping alone, she notes:
“I felt conspicuous, as odd and unsettling as a mermaid in the desert. I felt queer.”
At her new job as a faculty member of a college, she reveals to her colleagues that she is single, and then:
“…when new friends in that town effused about having me over for dinner but failed to follow through, I felt queer again. I suspected they felt awkward inviting me when everyone else would arrive in twos. I was the only single person among 11 at a dinner I did attend.”
When a friend of hers is running for local office and is worried about how her single-dom will be perceived by voters, she notes:
“There was something queer about being single: queer in the sense of “strange,” yes, but also in the sense that connotes a threat to the conventions around which most people arrange their lives.”
To answer the titular question:
Apparently our feelings about this were shared by somebody who has access to The New York Times backend. Minutes later, we got this new headline:
The answer is actually still “no,” but we freaked out in Slack anyway.
Molly: THEY JUST CHANGED THE HEADLINE TO “ODD”
INSTEAD OF QUEER
Stef: good thing i got this screenshot then!
Molly: will you screenshot the “odd” too
Vanessa: It’s worse, honestly
I hate this so much
Molly: it’s just more offensive
Vanessa: Did they change “queer” to “odd” every time the author wrote it in the article
“I am more odd than this lesbian who is now married because her life has mainstreamed while mine is still…odd”
Molly: if this author had just been like “why are single women still treated as social outcasts”
Vanessa: I know! Molly I know!
THAT IS SUCH A VALID ESSAY
Molly: that’s valid! but being like “it makes me a social outcast LIKE THE QUEERS”
Vanessa: like, one that rly would only interest a certain subsect of women
But a valid essay nonetheless
Stef: i mean i’d write it but also i’d write about how being queer makes it weirder
Vanessa: STEF THAT ESSAY WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER
Stef: and then i’d be like “i also understand being marginalized in every way because i, a cis white woman, am SINGLE”
Then it would be bad again ;)
Stef: oh i don’t know, i imagine a montage of me talking to a homeless guy on the subway like ‘yeah i know, she never texted me back, i know exactly what you’re going through’
Vanessa: Ok now I’m cackling again
Anyway the thing is
There’s a way to talk about what this woman is talking about!
Unfortunately she missed that opportunity
Valerie: it still says queer all up in this article
despite the headline change
Vanessa: Right right they haven’t line edited it yet
Per my suggestion
You know some queer person in the office is like
“You guys I thought we DISCUSSED THIS, do NOT write the word queer before running it by me, jfc Autostraddle is gonna have a field day with this one YOU IDIOTS”
Molly: someone from the nytimes digital liked my tweet about it
Vanessa: She’s the queer who just said that, Molly
She liked your tweet and immediately emailed her boss
Laneia: jesus christ i go to one dentist appointment and miss everything!
Stef: is there something queer about going to the dentist?
Molly: i LIKE going to the dentist and no one else does, does that make me queer
Stef: my hygienist is a mean polish lady who hurts me which seems to be my type
Molly: HAHAHAHAHAHA STEF
Stef: they can’t have being single, that’s my thing
* stares into the sea * my only thing