Piezocuttlefish's Reviews > Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics

Quirkyalone by Sasha Cagen
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Nov 20, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: owned
Recommended for: anyone who's just dumped someone
Read in November, 2007

When I picked up this book, I was filled with vitriol at its contents; that it didn't get one star is fairly astounding.

It does quite a good job at being a self-help book. It gets one to feel good about being a part of the QA group, lists all sorts of wonderful qualities of QAs, admits that you can even be a member even after you've lost your aloneness, spending a fair amount of time highlighting how QA relationships work, and introduces many famous and unknown QAs. "You're in awesome company!", the book says.

Hell, I even wondered if I was really a QA in disguise. I mean, I do all these supposed QA things: question traditional relationship structure, have friendships that are in some ways more fulfilling and intimate than dating relationships, fall into romantic obsessions, and celebrate that some of the people in whom I'm sexually/romantically interested do not live in the same city.

The bulk of the book, however, has nothing to do with things that are intrinsically QA, and that is its beauty. It's affirming in a way that says "You can be one us awesome QAs no matter what you decide to do next.". Once it grabs on to an individual who seems like he'll identify as a QA, it tells him how wonderful he is.

Why I don't go so far as to actually like the book is because I don't ultimately buy into the very essence of QAness actually being healthy. Oh, sure, they are oodles of healthy things QAs do and healthy attitudes that QAs have. At bottom, though, one is not a QA unless he "prefers to be alone". The QA "[has] no patience for dating for the sake of not being alone. [He wants] a miracle." Holding out until that miracle falls into one's lap has a consequence: he loses (or perhaps never gains) the ability to build intimacy. QAs do not contribute to a community of romantic intimacy; they take the fruits of it (especially if monamorous!).

"We wear a protective armor in public", says Cagen to a confused QA. To an extent, we all do this, but Cagen highlights that the QA does this more than most. The QA wears the armour around, sometimes everywhere, needing that armour to protect himself from people. If a QA doffs his armour, he does so around a Platonic friend rather than around the mate. It reminds one of someone scarred by or too scared by the depths of romantic intimacy. The QA carries around that armour because his skin isn't tough enough to handle the abrasions that come with intimacy. The QA withdraws to lick his wounds alone because he hasn't found a way to let others close enough to do that for him.

Even though swayed by how wonderful being a QA sounds, I realised that, still, QAs were people whom I at bottom reject. I prefer the wonders of the polyfidelic community, the people who are defiantly themselves while finding that just one person isn't enough for all the intimacy they have. Some QAs are certainly members of the polyamorous community, but polyfidelity is the bane of QAness. The polyfidelic people I've known don't carry around thick shells because they're adjusted to intimacy, to forming strong connections with people.

QA, then, is a helpful book if it falls into the right hands, but it isn't the best book, or perhaps even a good book, for it doesn't encourage loners to rise to the challenge of building connections between humans. It seems like the essence of QAdom is that, because QAs "[accept the] fact that we all must live and die fundamentally alone", they're better off not even trying to see just how close humans can get. QAdom is markedly better than the status quo, but it's not the only alternative, nor is it the best. In the end, I'm dissatisfied with QAness like I am with Libertarianism: moving people in this direction would be wonderful, but taking it to the ideological conclusion would produce a terrible situation.
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message 1: by Piezocuttlefish (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Piezocuttlefish Glad I could introduce you to something new.

It was nice to read a book that gave me a (somewhat) coherent picture of a personality trait that has long irked the hell out of me. To take this as a personal attack on a single person is to fail to see my frustration with the camp in general. The wounds from my last encounter are fresh in my memory, so I am more bitter than I might otherwise be. My distaste, however, is nothing new. QAs seem antipodal to me.


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