quirk•y•a•lone n. a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status. Also adj. Of, relating to, or embodying quirkyalones.
The book fleshes it all out in much more detail, and I find, naturally, that there are some parts I identify with more or less than other parts. In the aggregate, though, it's a model I can relate to fairly strongly. The part that makes us "uncompromising romantics" is the part about not dating for dating's sake. We're picky, and we believe that there are truly incredible relationships out there, and thus we have little patience for anything lacking that magic. I was lucky in my last relationship to have a partner that understood this. We both realized that while the relationship could continue, it didn't need to, and so it made more sense (all things considered) to refactor ourselves back into friends.
As the definition clarifies, the "alone" part of "quirkyalone" doesn't imply that one is always alone or single, but merely that they can be alone without a problem. The "quirky" part helps with this. The more interesting and varied your life is, the easier it is to keep yourself entertained. The book also takes the time to distinguish between different forms of being alone, and I particularly liked this quote:
Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
Quirkyalones do get lonely sometimes, just like everybody else. But we also have a knack for experiencing aloneness as solitude instead. If loneliness is waiting dejectedly for the phone to ring, then solitude is being absorbed in creative endeavors, or being introspective, or otherwise independently directing our own lives without the need for other people. Some people need constant interaction to feel like they're fully living, but some of us have to have enough solitude to let us regenerate on a regular basis.
This independence also makes quirkyalones good at long-distance relationships. Once the spark is lit, our well-developed sense of romance helps keep us attached, but we don't necessarily need the constant physical presence because we keep ourselves so busy. (This isn't to say we don't miss each other or want to eventually be closer together, but c'mon, a little extra anticipation and longing just intensifies things.) I've certainly spent my share of time in this kind of a state, with many people not even realizing I wasn't single. Even in standard-distance relationships, attached quirkyalones (or "quirkytogethers") often have non-standard living arrangements, or other customized systems for maintaining appropriate amounts of independence within a committed, loving relationship. For a while, up until about a year ago, I was looking forward to figuring out how this would work once the distance shrank, but circumstances beyond my control have since closed down that particular life path.
And so, a tricky part of the definition for me these days is the part about "enjoy[ing] being single." While I can function perfectly well as a single person, and I certainly prefer it to various other possible states, I don't know that I'm yet at the point where I'm inherently happy with it. I have happy times -- it's not like I'm going around depressed all the time -- but I don't have an overall sense of rightness about my life, and so it's hard to feel truly happy as a real state of being. This could be simply because I haven't been single long enough to fully heal and realign. But I also feel that there's an essential part of my nature, the Knight of Cups part, that can't be expressed without a deep, romantic relationship. That's a hole that will take a while to fill.
Another issue for me is that I'm not only very good at being alone, but perhaps too good at it. Sasha Cagen's model of the quirkyalone lifestyle is still extremely social, just focused more on friends than couples. I make (close) friends as slowly and infrequently as I make romantic relationships. (See Wildflower Bloom for a good, relevant discussion about making friends.) That can mean that I don't always have a lot to fall back on when a relationship goes kaput, and it's aggravated by the fact that my natural defenses usually lead me to retreat farther into myself.
But I don't want to end on a down note. Embedded in the definition of quirkyalone is the "optimistic spirit" that lets us carry on come hell or high water. And so I will.