Self-marriage catches on in Latin America. Misconceptions cleared up here.

Last month was one of the more bizarre periods of my life. When I married myself five years ago it was an entirely private ritual that only two friends attended. Marrying myself had nothing to do with being single. Marrying myself was about a deep process of self-love and -acceptance. Really marrying myself was part of a healing process.

After TeleNoche aired an interview with me about self-marriage a month ago the Argentine (and Latin American) press got interested–as far away as Marie Claire Mexico.

I did three TV interviews, two radio, and two for the press, all in Spanish! Whoah!

Suddenly everyone knew me as “the first woman in Argentina who married herself.” People I interact with daily on my block (at the cafe, gym, kiosco, and health food store) congratulated me.

Weeks later my body pump teacher at the gym is still teasing me every time I slow down during the class. “Sasha, is marriage not treating you well?”

The latest surreal conversation on my block was with the Venelezuan at the local dietetica (health food shop) who came out from behind the counter when I was shopping to ask if was me. “Are you the woman who married herself?” I was there to buy almond milk and suddenly I was talking to him about what happens when women make vows to themselves.

If the people in my neighborhood are any indication, self-marriage had captured the attention of Argentina. Or Latin America. I didn’t even know it was possible anymore to achieve such media penetration now with so many different outlets. A woman in my weekly writing group told me she heard people talking about self-marriage everywhere from Twitter to Clarin to La Nación, Argentina’s leading conservative paper where a man wrote this little essay mocking self-marriage. He ended this with this typically Argentine poetic ending, “I point out that there is no love for oneself, above all, because there is no love for oneself without love for the other. and vice versa.”

Right. Exactly. That’s what I have been saying. We are in agreement buddy. My self-marriage was a private act. I never posted about marrying myself when I took that leap back in 2014 but I got a lot of benefit from marrying myself so when media wants to talk to me about it I oblige. My self-marriage was all about building my capacity to love myself–and others too. Then people get angry that women want to love themselves! “You’re such a narcissist.” “How sad you couldn’t find anyone to marry.” “Society is falling apart, etc.”

Maybe these people haven’t noticed that women have a tendency to give away so much of themselves in relationship (or in the pursuit of relationship) there is not enough left for themselves. When you love yourself you have more love to give. You’ll have better relationships! Why is making vows to love and care for yourself narcissistic? On the other hand, the Marie Claire Mexico got it just right in their writeup, pointing out that you can be in a relationship and marry yourself too.

How this “First Woman to Marry Herself in Argentina” madness started

This Latin American wave of self-marriage publicity started three weeks ago when Jason Mayne, a young reporter from TeleNoche was researching self-marriage because he was going to LA to do a story and wanted to do more. He discovered in a news story that I married myself here in 2014 in Buenos Aires’ Japanese Garden. He emailed me and two days later we taped an interview about self-marriage in the Japanese Garden, just where I had married myself with two friends in a very private, tiny ceremony five years before, witnessed by two close friends: one Colombian, one Estonian, both fellow tangueras.

I didn’t tell anyone on social media about my self-marriage when it happened. No one cared for five years. Where were all those self-wedding presents? Hahahahah evil laugh. After TeleNoche, all of a sudden all Argentine media wanted to talk to me.

In the last two weeks I have done three television interviews, two radio interviews, and one print interview (Infobae) for one of the biggest new sources. One Argentine friend emailed to say, “You’re busier than the president!” In fact, I  lost myself in all the TV interviews. Neglecting my self-care meant that I needed to come back to the vows of my self-marriage to put my my health ahead of my work! I found the whole experience to be both scary (what do these people in Argentina think of me now? I must admit I do think about what people think of me) and extremely confidence-building. I had no idea I could do television interviews in Spanish. When I listened to this fifteen-minute radio interview with a station in Mendoza, I was in shock. I sounded like a porteña (a Buenos Aires person)!

Self-marriage does not equal “sologamia.” Please stop using that horrible word!

All the while I have been continually clearing up misconceptions. The media loves using “sologamia” in headlines and asking me how I am living the word “sologamia.” I don’t even know what that word means, and I never used the word to describe self-marriage, but let’s make it clear. The word “sologamia” clearly creates an impression in people’s mind that marrying yourself means you are committing to be alone. That might be the case for some women or men who marry themselves, but that has never been the case for me or even one of the women I have talked to who have married themselves. Self-marriage is a ritual that involves making vows to yourself, and it’s usually a ritual of self-love and self-acceptance.

I am currently single and want to be in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean I would divorce myself. This self-marriage is forever.

Would you marry yourself? Pollo, the host of Con Amigos Asi, would!

So with all of that, I present you the transcript from this truly hilarious segment of “Con Amigos Asi” where the first woman who married herself in Argentina explained how and why it’s done.

This interview was truly like nothing you have seen on American (or probably European) TV.  It was like hanging out with a group of friends at an asado (BBQ). My friend Sharon said it was like an asado with great vibes.

I surprised the twentysomethings on the show because they assumed marrying myself meant I closed the door on marriage. No. There are no closed doors. These are two distinct things.

I explained that as I got older it becomes clear that the path of self-love is very important but it’s not recognized in society.

They were very open to listening as well as joking around.

We did some really hilarious spontaneous mini-coaching sessions on their contradictory feelings about relationships. “Sometimes I’m happy, Sometimes I cry. I’m confused Sasha.”

Also, one more thing: When I talked about this show with my Colombian friend (who also married herself and cares deeply that people get the deeper meaning of self-marriage) she worried people would get the wrong idea and think that marrying yourself is kind of like that joke on Seinfeld, when Jerry meets a woman played by Janeane Garafolo and says, “I found my soul mate, this woman is incredible, she is just like me!” That was a funny joke but no, that’s not what self-marriage is about! Self-marriage is about self-acceptance, not marrying your doppelganger.

Also facial treatments are great self-care but they are probably not the deepest expression of self-love. (During one of the spontaneous mini-coaching sessions on the show one of the women said she would express love for herself with facial treatments.)

But I will trust that you get that these are jokes.

Self-marriage is profound and funny, like the best things in life.

An asado (bbq) with really good vibes – watch it here with a transation

Note: We have an English translated transcript of this video below. For your best watching experience, you can click through to watch on YouTube and scroll down to read the transcript as you watch.

Sasha Cagen: The Woman who Married Herself, interview on “Con Amigos Asi” on the Argentine cable TV channel KZO

Pollo: I don’t have it clear.

Juan: What? What? Wait, wait.

Pollo: And now, the only woman who married herself… well, I do not know if she is the only one, but she is the only one in the program today. She married herself… she married herself!

Pablo:  And she is not unfaithful with herself. I cannot believe it!

Pollo:  She married herself and imagine how much less mess you have to go through. She has no problem living together with a partner, they do not fight over going to their parents´ houses.

Juan: No….

Pablo: Incredible!

Jani: For me, she was a visionary.

Pollo: This starts here and never ends!

Pablo: She separates from her husband and keeps everything!

Pollo Exactly, there is no contract to pronounce it…

Juan: If she doesn´t cook, nobody else will.

Yani: Phew! She should have been when the lawyer was here.

Pollo: Wait! What?

Juan: Wait and… Can I ask you a question?

Pollo: Yes, in fact you can ask her but I can help you.

Juan: Would you marry Pollo Alvarez?

Pollo: Yes, I would marry myself.

Juan: Yes?

Pablo: Wow!

Pollo: I consider myself a good candidate.

Pablo: Would you marry Pablito Giménez?

Pablo: Yes, bolúdo (Argentine Spanish word to call someone an asshole in a friendly way). Yes. If I don´t love myself, who else will?

Juan: I won´t marry marry Juan. No way.

Pablo: That is true.

Yani: We all know that. Luckily it´s crystal clear.

Juan: You believe in my a lot, eh!

[Laughs]

Pollo: I… Yes. The truth is that If I think about it, yes, yes, I would marry myself, yes.

Joshi: For me, the ideal partner.

Pollo: With whom?

Joshi: Me.

Pollo: With yourself?

Joshi: Yes (nodding her head)

Pollo: Well, now I speak with her. Let’s welcome the dearest Sasha Cagen! Welcome, please come forward. Sasha Cagen (pronounced in English)? In English is it Cagen?

Juan: Sasha…

Joshi: (pronouncing her surname correctly): Cagen!

Sasha: Hi, how are you?

Pollo: Welcome! Come in, please!

[A lot of back and forth about how to pronounce “Cagen” in English and Spanish.]

Pollo: Really, because obviously, surely, to do what you did, has to do with a process and with something that you believe in, but for outsiders, perhaps the most orthodox ones, you got our attention. So tell us, what is it all about?

Sasha: Well, yes, it’s usually not that someone wakes up one day and decides to marry herself or himself. Self-marriage is usually part of a period of introspection. I think it’s something people who are working on these things to love themselves enter into this process of self-marriage. It is something you can do for recognition in your life, as an adult. Because we do not have many rituals for adults. We have marriage and, I do not know what else, a birthday, but it is not something very…

Yani: Fatherhood. Motherhood, too.

Sasha: Yes, and well you can even marry yourself if you are already married. I am a life coach and I have helped women who are married to marry themselves. Because… especially women have a tendency to get lost in the relationship with others. Whether you are single or you are with someone, self-marriage can be a ritual to make a commitment to yourself. It is very personal and it is very creative because we do not have magazines that tell you what to do when you marry yourself. That’s why it is very free.

Pollo: Now I ask you, I understand what you are saying to me, that to marry yourself is creative and that it is part of the process but what is the difference between marrying oneself and not marrying oneself. Because in general I do not understand.

Joshu: The change?

Yani: The difference?

Pollo: What is the difference? Forgive my ignorance.

Yani: Single or married with yourself–isn’t that the same?

Sasha: It’s a process, a ritual …it´s something that you want….

Yani: Ah! It´s a ritual.

Sasha: I believe people have to be….

Joshu: Something symbolic maybe….

Sasha: People want something to do for that ritual of self-love. It’s symbolic and for me it was something that happened some months before my 40th birthday, because I felt a lot of pressure and unhappy because I had not found a man to marry. I was also doing therapy and thinking about how to love myself after working through many internal things. And it was weird, of course, it was strange.

That’s why for me, to marry myself here in Argentina was so much more free. I was far from my family, my normal friends … [Laughter] I have also my not-so-normal friends … open-minded friends I met in tango and they supported me. My Colombian friend, she got married to herself too. And she was present in my day. [Note: It should be said I have plenty of open-minded friends in California too!]

Pollo: Did she marry herself?

Sasha: Yes, she was present and….

Joshu: And did she know about this because of you?

Yani: No, no she married herself.

Joshu: Yes, yes, but did she get to know about it from you … I think this self-marriage is a beautiful idea, did she hear it for the first time from you?

Sasha: No. It was ten years ago, when I published this book [holding the Quirkyalone book in her hand]. I interviewed two women in California who married themselves. When I was 30, for me it was also like, why do you need to do this? I also was judgmental but I also felt interested in it. But it was also like … hmm … good for you, but it’s not for me. After time as I got older I realized that it is so very important to love yourself. To learn to love yourself really is a very important path in life. And we don’t value this so much because we want to get married, because society gives importance to marriages. So it is a ritual of self-love…

Pollo: It´s okay. It´s right what she is saying.

Joshu: But Sasha, do you feel that  marrying yourself shows even more self-love than not marrying oneself … no? Because one can have self-love without marrying oneself, I just say.

Sasha: Yes, totally. Yes, and it’s not necessary need to marry yourself.

Joshu: But you felt even greater self-love when you married yourself?

Sasha: Sorry? Oh, If I feel greater self-love? Yes! Well, because I have the reference of this ring, you see, it is a commitment and it is a symbol. That’s how I can remember it.

Joshu: Yes, you see it and you remember it.

Sasha: Exactly. It´s a symbol that I can remember.

Pollo: I have a question, sorry. Again, I am very very ignorant on the subject …

If one learns how to value yourself and that is why you can marry yourself isn’t it the same learning to say OK, society believes that you have to marry because the canons say that … Anyway, I can be single, alone if I am OK with myself, I do not think it is necessary to marry yourself. And yes, I understand that maybe it is something more from society than something that I really want. Do you understand the point?

Sasha: Yes, it’s not necessary and I’m thinking a lot about this now, at this moment because this idea captured society in Argentina and …

Pollo: Yes, because we have so many problems in our society so this is excellent… It´s like a break within such a big mess… that we say, OK, let´s talk about this!

Sasha: It is something different.

Pollo: Yes. It´s good.

Sasha: I have been thinking about this and I think maybe the people who have experienced abuse in their lives really need a ritual, and understand that can be valuable to do a ritual of self-love, there are people who understand exactly why … and there are people who say why you need to do this? And I think you need to have a calling for self-marriage, it needs to call you, otherwise it’s not right.

Pablo: And the paperwork is the same? You go to the registry office? It´s the same as if you marry someone?

Sasha: I didn’t do that. [I thought he was talking about a wedding registry for presents.] But I could say those are the presents I want, for me it was very quiet. It was more of an internal process, more than an external one.

Yani: And one question… I ask you a question….if you did a whole process of self-worth and self-love because of something in particular, why does it matter to you what society thinks of you because you can easily love yourself. And it´s like a little bit contradictory in the sense that if you love yourself and at some point you don´t care about what the rest thinks, why doing a ritual to show the rest? I don´t know if I’ve made myself clear.

Sasha: I think the point is to talk it out loud, to have witnesses and when I say this to you and you are my friend I promise that I want to follow this path, that I will say no to what is not good for me. I will love myself, I will consider myself beautiful. It’s a memory, the same as a wedding.

Yani: And if you fell in love with someone, for example…. ?

Sasha: It’s all good.

Yani: Can you be unfaithful to yourself?

Sasha: There are no closed doors.

Yani: Ah! Ok, yes.

Boy: In fact, in the end, it ends up being just as marrying with someone else… You are in a relationship right? And the wedding is more symbolic because… you… the love is the same, it wouldn´t change anything theoretically. So….no….

Sasha: It´s something….

Boy: If it changes, it changes, as the lawyer said. Papers change.

Pablo: Well, but…let´s say…. In terms of love… it´s the same.

Pollo: The thing is you shouldn´t marry thinking that you are going to divorce… it´s a great mistake.

Pablo: Yes…

Pollo: Because we should do nothing thinking, Oh, I get on the plane and I have…. And no…. You have to do things and then you…. Have to consider the consequences of what will happen… If you don´t move forward you are a coward I believe….

Yani: Sasha… and when you get to know a new person, right? Now do you tell him look, I am married to myself? No, you don´t tell him?

Juan: For me it’s OK to tell him/her anyway eh…

Sasha: No, it’s fine. When we know each other, but in the first date it would be very weird.

Yani: No, it’s not good.

Sasha: it has to be shared with time, yes, I believe.

(Laughs)

Juan: Why did you choose to marry in Argentina?

Sasha: Because I felt freer here that I have a love for tango. I moved to Buenos Aires because of tango. I have several friends from tango and I feel like the freedom to follow this path here that for me in California, in California I was afraid of my self-marriage being seen as something from Burning Man, I don´t know if you know it.

Pollo: Yes, yes.

Sasha: But it was like I don´t want to be associated with Burning Man. I want to make it authentic, mine.

Juan: Burning Man is that festival that takes place in the desert.

Someone: And what´s the book about?

Sasha: The book is this, that is a word that I invented and it describes the people who want to be with someone and are patient, who can wait for the right person, so in that path, It’s very easy to feel social pressure because you’ve been single for many years so… that word means maybe, if you’ve been single for a long time it´s because you are selective and you are strong so it´s another perspective.

Yani: Did your parents want to kill you because of the self-wedding?

Sasha: (Laughs) No, no no!

Boy: No, no, if your parents…. Like… I don´t know, when you were thirty years old or when you were of a certain age that they made you feel…..

Sasha: Pressure.

Yani:  Pressure. That is why you decided to investigate about the subject or…?

Sasha: No, my parents were always very relaxed about marriage and they wanted me to be happy.

Yani: Ah! OK.

Sasha: I felt the pressure from society. Yes, because I think a girl feels it when she is 12, I felt like “If I have a boyfriend we are more.”

Someone: Yes, that´s true.

Sasha: Yes. It´s like you are pretty or you´re better because you have a boyfriend, why? Maybe you haven´t found the right person.

Pollo: And also, you should see, in connection with this, behind closed doors for both women and men … maybe on the outside it seems excellent and on the inside there’s a hell.

Joshi: Yes, anyway, beyond that also the society…

Juan: Both things, marriage and alone….

Boy:  Now it´s not exactly like that

Pollo: Not anymore.

Yeni: Do you think that today is not exactly like that? At least… For me, to some extent it is.

Sasha: No, yes, yes, it´s still like that. (There is still social pressure to be in a relationship.) I work with those people. I am a coach and that’s one of my specialties.

Pollo: What type of coach are you?

Sasha: A life coach.

Pollo: And what does it mean?

Sasha: It´s kind of a therapist.

Pollo: Yes.

Sasha: But there is more action in it.

Pollo: But… is it for couples? Do you go with your partner?

Sasha: I also have couples because I have couples and they want to build a relationship where no one gets lost.

Pollo: Well, well, wait. Let´s imagine we are in the coach´s office. Can we?

Sasha: Yes! We can.

[Here’s where we start the spontaneous mini-coaching sessions….]

Pollo: Who wants to be treated by the coach? Joshi, Joshi…

Yani: The punishment because he was late.

Pollo: No, but he doesn´t want it… if he doesn´t want.

Yani: It doesn´t matter.

Pollo: We need that before…. Yani, good, perfect…. She´s decided it herself…. I didn´t decide it.

Pablo: Great.

Pollo: Can you come here, Juancito? I haven´t decided it, I swear.

Juan: I liked it more the passive Jeni.

(Laughs)

Pollo: A big round of applause to Yani.

Boy:  Good Yani!

Pollo: Well, are you single, Juan? Well, deal with it yourself.

Pablo: Beautiful!

Pollo: Well, he will do a consultation.

Boy:  Good Yani!

Pollo: Well, are you single, Juan? Well, deal with it yourself.

Pablo: Beautiful!

Pollo: Well, he will do a consultation.

Joshu: Will it be a performance or real life?

Pollo: No, no…. not real life.

Pablo: No, real life never.

Pollo: No, no because otherwise it´s confusing.

Sasha: Are you a client?

Juan: Yes.

Sasha: Very good. I love it.

Juan (sad background music): Sasha… you know, something is happening to me lately and…. And I thought that given my age… I am already 35… I feel that many of my friends are having a family, they are finding their way in life and… I cannot manage to achieve that… I am standing to the other side of it.

Pollo: No, but he is 10 years less than what he said.

Juan: Six less years.

Yani: Don´t interrupt! Leave him…leave him!

Juan: And I feel all of them are finding their way in life… and I am staying sideway of it, but the truth is that I don’t want to force a situation to be in that train that today I feel I am not ready to get on.

Sasha: And… How do you feel about all this? What are your emotions?

Juan: Well, they are contradictory. Sometimes I feel good, I feel comfortable, I have my freedom… but other times, on a rainy Tuesday I feel I would like to have a boy by my side to watch TV.

Sasha: A boy? Or… a girl!

(Laughs)

Someone:  He is a chamuyero.

Pollo: A rainy Tuesday he goes out with an umbrella.

Sasha: Oh! A boy…. Ah….Do you want to be a father?

Pollo: He wants to be a dad to watch TV. But… he wants to be a dad for the rainy Tuesday, if it does not rain on Tuesday we are… No, no, sorry. Continue.

Sasha: And on Wednesday when it rains, you also want a child?

Juan: Yes, until Wednesday.

(Laughs)

Sasha: I want to understand how how strong the desire is. If the desire if very strong.

Juan: It´s contradictory. There are days that it is strong, some days it´s not. There are days that are yes, the desire is strong and the days that are no.

Sasha: And when you feel it in your body, when you connect with yourself?

Juan: For me it´s hard. It´s very hard to connect with myself.

Sasha: Oh, well. Have you thought about marrying yourself?

Pollo: Ah… she is going toward that way.

[Laughs]

Juan: Very good, very good, very good. Come Joshi, I tell you that with Joshi we have… here it´s the truth, now comes the truth… um

Sasha: Oh! Well!

Pollo: A kiss to Joshi´s mum that she always watches us.

Joshi: Ah… kisses!

Joshi: Hi Sasha

Sasha: Hi, how are you?

Joshi: Good.

Sasha: Good?

Joshi: Yes.

Sasha: What do you want to focus on today?

Joshi: Um… the truth is that I don’t have a partner and maybe I feel like something is failing. Am I make myself clear? Like I don´t know very well which way to follow. if keep on like this. Or not.

Sasha: Failing as a woman or failing as what?

Joshi: Life, in life maybe… in general.

Sasha: In life…

Joshi: Yes.

Sasha: And is it something you really want, the relationship?

Joshi: It happens to me that sometimes yes, too much. And sometimes no. I am in a dichotomy like… Sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile.

Sasha: And what do you feel most of the time?

Joshi: Most of the time? Um… I am confused, Sasha.

Sasha: And… have you thought about marrying yourself?

Pollo: It´s OK, it´s OK.

(Laughs)

Sasha: That is the solution.

Someone: That is the solution.

Joshu: Mmm…. Yes, I have thought about that.

Sasha: Oh, yes? Do you have vows? Have you thought about vows with yourself? (In Spanish, this word sounds like Botox)

Someone: Not Botox, vows.

Sasha: No! Vows.

Someone: The granola won´t be shared if she marries herself.

Joshi: Vows… um… yes, yes. I thought… I feel that I would be a great partner for myself.

Sasha: What would you like to promise to yourself?

Joshi:  Eternal loyalty. I mean, that to begin with. Um…. Love, love.

Sasha: Love to yourself.

Joshi: Yes, love to myself. It´s weird how it sounds but…

Someone: It´s OK, it´s OK.

Sasha: And how do you express that love? How would you like to?

Joshi: I take care of myself, I do skin treatments…

Someone(boy): Me too…

Joshi: And that is self-love… and I take care of myself a lot.

Sasha: What would you like to tell yourself so that you love yourself? What your internal dialogue would be? What would you say?

Joshi: Like… a mantra to myself?

Sasha: Yes.

Joshi: Uf… Maybe I would repeat it all the time like… “How pretty you are!”

Sasha: That´s good!

Pollo: It´s fine!

Juan: It´s fine.

Pollo: It´s fine!

Sasha: I like it, I like it… it´s very soft.

Pollo: Excellent, excellent!

Pablo: I am beginning to think that Joshi uses all specialists who come so in real life she doesn’t pay the real ones.

Pollo: The last thing I ask you, obviously. Is it in the bookstore this book (Quirkyalone)?

Sasha: Well, today I emailed my agent to say we have to sell the rights to an Argentine publisher because there is a lot of interest now.

Pollo: OK.

Sasha: There is a translated book in Brasil (SoSingular), of this book but in version, but we don´t have it yet in Argentina.

Pollo: Well, but, look… there is it, there is your instagram so that they can ask you questions there.

Sasha: Perfect.

Pollo: Two more things before we go. I would like that with this vision of a woman with a more open mind that at least, from the people we are here. You tell me who here you believe is closest to marry himself or herself… I mean… Who of all of us, from the little you have seen us… you say… which goes that way to marry him or herself… Who do you think?

Sasha: Oh. Him! (Pointing at Juan.)

Juan: Come on Juan! You have found the love of your life.

Pollo: He does not make good coffee.

Pollo: And the last thing I say… It has nothing to do with this but I would like you to answer this. If you had to … This is an intuition, it´s almost a prejudice… Who do you believe…. From all the people who are here, maybe nobody but…Who likes men and women? Who likes people … who does not care about gender?

Sasha: Ah…you mean bisexual?

Pollo: Bisexual… who? Who? Who do you think? I want to know.

Someone(boy): Come on Sasha! Say it! It´s just a question.

Sasha: Those two. (Pointing at Yani and the other boy, Pablo)

Pollo: Those two!

(Laughs)

Pablo: It´s OK, yes, it might be… A big round of applause to Sasha!

Juan: Sasha, thanks!

Pollo: Wait, are you staying in Argentina?

Sasha: Sorry?

Pollo: Are you staying here in Argentina?

Sasha: Yes, I am finishing my next book here. This is my commitment.

Pollo: Well, dance lot of tango. Go to the new Corrientes Avenue that it is very nice.

Sasha: A place?

Pollo: Corrientes Avenue is the new avenue. It´s called Corrientes. It´s excellent… it´s very nice and they encourage people to marry themselves.

Pablo: People who dance tango are very… chamuyeros, be careful.

Sasha: Super chamuyeros.

Joshi: Do you feel Argentines are chamuyeros?

Sasha: I don´t know about all Argentines, but yes…. It´s a talent. (Note: Being a chamuyero means being a smooth-talking bullshitter.)

Joshi: Here we have three talents.

Juan: She is saying because of the three over there.

Pollo: I have lost timing a little bit, but I can come back. No, I won´t come back but….

Yani: That you don´t lose…

Joshi: It is never lost.

Joshi: It is never lost…It´s like riding a bicycle….

Yani: Exactly. It´s like riding the bicycle.

Pollo: You don´t lose the timing? I haven´t tried it anyway but….

Yani: Pablito, we have confused, he is not chamuyero because he has just tried and he failed…

Pollo: No, Pablo, really, he should be among the most boring guys that exist… really, um… I am not joking.

(To Sasha) Thanks, it´s kind of you.

Sasha: Well, thanks.

Photos by Julia Ribeiro. Translation by Lucila Soros with help from Kat Ananda.

***

Want to see the news clip that kicked off this media madness on TeleNoche? Watch the TeleNoche interview (and read the English translation) of that possibly even more hilarious interview here.

Want to be guided in the process of marrying yourself whether you are single or already married? After all, you are the only one you are certain to be with for your entire life. You saw me give some coaching here so you might feel called to reach out! Go here to learn more about my coaching and to request a coaching consult.

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Bringing self-marriage to Argentina!

photo by Julia Ribeiro / shot while filming a “nota” for the Argentine news program TeleNoche about self-marriage in the Japanese Gardens (where I married myself in 2014!)

What happens when a national news program in Argentina wants to know about the American woman who married herself in Buenos Aires? That happened this week. The interview was all in Spanish. Oh my god, it was amazing! We shot this very entertaining video in the Japanese Garden in Buenos Aires–exactly where I married myself five years ago!

This interview was a chance to spread the concept of self-marriage as a ritual of self-love and -acceptance in South America in Spanish on the biggest nightly news show in Argentina TeleNoche. Since then I have gotten lots of media requests from radio stations and newspapers in Argentina. 

Just as a reminder, self-marriage does not at all imply or require being single. I’ve helped married and single women marry themselves in my coaching practice.

I see comments on social media arguing, “But constructing a beautiful relationship is so important.” I agree!  Perhaps some who marry themselves don’t want a relationship but that’s not my approach in my own life or with my clients. In my view, self-marriage is not a rejection of intimate relationship but a foundation for it. Self-marriage is the foundation for everything. 

I also want a loving committed, interdependent relationship with a man. That’s the vulnerable part of me that might not get seen in my advocacy for self-marriage or Quirkyalone. If that sounds contradictory, so be it–it’s really not not. Loving ourselves helps us love other people. Being kinder to yourself helps you look at a a loved one, a friend, or strangers, with a softer, more loving gaze. I can’t say that marrying myself made me a perfect person, but the ring is always a reference point to remember the way I want to treat myself and others.

That’s the deep side of self-marriage. There’s also a hilarious side because marrying yourself can be pretty fun. With Jason Mayne of TeleNoche I was able to be more myself than I am in most interviews.

When I talked about Quirkyalone with Anderson Cooper on CNN the interview felt like a battle. When you go to battle you’re tense. When you’re joking you can be more relaxed. Maybe it’s was Jason’s sympathetic genuine millenial vibe, that we were in a park, or that I was speaking in a foreign language. Anyway, he managed to bring out the best in me. We had so much fun! 

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

 

For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, my team and I translated the interview. 

Jason: And this ring, what does it mean?

Sasha: Well, it’s a commitment to myself, that I’ve taken that step of marrying myself.

Jason narration: There is a movement that grows in the world that is called sologamy or self-marriage, people who marry themselves. And one of the references is now in the city of Buenos Aires. Let’s go talk to her because I want to know what this is about. How is it that you marry yourself, is it a traditional party? No? Well, here we’ll see.

Sasha, what’s up?

Sasha: Hi, how are you?

Jason: Very good! I want to see this, what you have here. Is it a commitment ring?

Sasha: Oh well, yes, it’s my commitment ring with myself.

Jason: What does this ring mean?

Sasha: Well, it’s a symbol of the fact that I took this step to marry myself. As a symbol of self-love and self-acceptance. 

Jason: And how long have you been married?

Sasha: It’s been five years. We’ve been together for 5 years!

Jason: Where did you get married?

Sasha: Here, in the Japanese Garden.

Jason: Where are you from?

Sasha: I’m from the United States, I fell in love with tango, I moved to Buenos Aires, I decided to marry myself and I did the ceremony here in the Japanese Garden.

Jason: And does it have something to do with not expecting the prince and going against all that societal pressure of marriage?

Sasha: Yes. I was going to be 40 years old and I had not married a man yet and I wanted to do something for myself, a ritual. About being an adult, being a woman, taking charge of my own happiness. And also my self-acceptance, that’s a very profound thing.

Jason: Did you tell your friends, your family that you were going to marry yourself? What did they say to you?

Sasha: Well, I told very few people, because I knew that most people would not understand. My mother told me, whatever is good for you is good for me, but I know she thought I was crazy. And that’s OK.

Jason: So it’s about not depending on sharing moments with another person, its about feeling feeling good being yourself?

Sasha: Yes, and I also like to be in a couple. Getting married to yourself doesn’t mean that I want to be single, it’s not like that. It’s that I want to take care of my happiness, when I’m single or when I’m with someone.

Sasha: For me, what is fundamental is to write the vows.

Jason: You wrote the vows?

Sasha: Yes, of course.

reading the vows from five years ago, translated to Spanish

Jason: These are the vows of your self-marriage?

Sasha: My self-marriage yes, because I can also marry a man. it’s not exclusive, it’s very polyamorous.

Jason: The polyamory, I like it, you already stole the concept.

Sasha: Yes, we are in everything.

Jason: Okay, for example, what does it say?

Sasha: I promise to follow what I love, my passions. I promise to fall in love with others’ imperfections as well as I fall in love with mine, because I’m not perfect.

Jason: There it is …

Sasha: I promise to see myself beautiful and accept my sexuality.

Jason: These were the vows of your self-marriage …

Sasha: Yes.

Jason: After, for example, was there a honeymoon?

Sasha: Well, there was a day to celebrate with friends, the honeymoon is still coming.

Jason: It’s pending.

Sasha: It’s pending.

Jason: And marrying oneself is only for women?

Sasha: No men can also marry themselves.

Making some very important point about self-marriage to the crew!

Sasha: In 2004 I wrote this book (Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics), and this book is the first place where there was published writing about self-marriage in a book. I did interviews with other women who had done it (married themselves) in California.

Jason: At what time did you say I want to marry myself?

Sasha: That was some months before my 40th birthday, I was very anxious.

Jason: How is the wedding ritual?

Sasha: Yes, there were many cases when women who wear the white dress and do the whole party. Everything.

Jason: You got gifts for self-marriage?

Sasha: There were gifts that were very sentimental, but not a lot of money. My self-marriage was very inexpensive, very economical.

Jason: Are there companies that offer self-marrying services?

Sasha: There are a few. There’s a box you can buy from the internet to help you with your process, and I see it as very economical, compared to the United States. Getting married in the US is very expensive, and we see what happens in many weddings and for me here is something very economical option that will help you a lot. And you’ll never divorce yourself.

Jason: So more economical, and you won’t get divorced if you marry yourself!

Sasha: Yes! And you’re free to do what you want.

Jason: Could it be that this is the key to happiness?

Sasha: It could be, yes!

Jason: Since you didn’t do something . . . as part of the production. (Takes out fake bouquet of flowers.)

Sasha: Oh no.

Jason: Here we throw the bouquet of flowers to the back.

Sasha: For the next. Let’s go. (Throws bouquet backwards to Jason)

Jason: Yes! I never thought this moment would arrive and it arrived.

Sasha: It arrived.

Jason: Thank you Sasha.

Sasha: I’m so happy for you.

Jason: Now the only thing that is missing is the ring and I’m all good. And the honeymoon.

Sasha: Let’s do it.

Jason: Thank you.

Pop music plays… 

Analyzing the light and where to shoot – these guys were hilarious. The tattoed sound guy thanked me and said my story would help him get his mother off his back because he could tell her he was marrying himself.

Are you ready to come marry yourself in the Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires? Or in some other beautiful spot in this city, or in your own city? It’s all possible! I do help women and men, single or already married, marry themselves through my coaching practice so if you want some support to take this step yourself, you know where to go. Check out my coaching page and request a consult.

My team and I have also welcomed women to marry themselves or do their own personal honeymoon with a Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires. If that gift to yourself appeals to you, check out the Solo Chica Tango Adventure. With Solo Chica you will not be solo long, just like when you marry yourself you might attract better offers after you take a stand for your own self-worth!

Happy Quirkyalone Day 2019! Here are some hand-drawn cards from readers

Let’s hang out from Kerry Lander in Melbourne, Australia, a writer and participant in the upcoming May 4-10 Tango Adventure

Love yourself first and foremost by married quirkytogether and original gangster Danielle Jatlow, now of Burlington, Vermont. Danielle was at the first Quirkyalone Day party in San Francisco back in 2003

Love by Marian Smith

Card by Sarah Lipuma, a climate change activist in New York. Words come from a song by Phoebe Blue of Phoebe Blue and the Make-Baleaves. Phoebe and Sarah are part of a quirkyalone/together crew on Staten Island, New York. Phoebe has been singing quirkyalone-together songs at concerts on February 14 for years! I got to meet Phoebe last year at a Quirkyalone Meetup in NYC and she’s awesome. She brought Sarah into quirkyalone/together.

Card by writer and artist Jenny Bitner of San Francisco, also an original gangster quirkyalone/together present at the first Quirkyalone Day party at Atlas Cafe in San Francisco, 2003

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Wow, I feel blessed to have received these beautiful handdrawn cards and to be able to share them with you.

How are you celebrating Quirkyalone Day this year?

Here’s what I’m doing to celebrate.

Today is a workday that started with a great first session with a coaching client. We talked about expressing needs in relationships and preferences and boundaries in sexual intimacy–quirkyalone topics for sure. I shared the tools of Nonviolent Communication, a set of communication practices I have found to be transformative for myself and many clients.

After our call I did morning self-care practices for body and mind: a total-body deep stretch yoga video and my favorite calf- and foot-stretching video and the Milagrows practice of naming all the shit I am not grateful for–and saying I’m grateful for it. Later I plan to do a self-pleasure exercise too of pussy breathing in preparation for pussywalking! These are all self-care practices that make me feel more loose and limber throughout the day, physically, emotionally, creatively, and mentally. I might do them on any good self-care day. Quirkyalone Day is a chance to come back to all of them.

Later I will talk with more clients and hopefully fit in a bit of writing before I go to an appointment with my kinesiologist Maxi who is helping me to heal a hip injury (gluteal tendinopathy) I’ve had for 2.5 years. Working with Maxi on healing that injury–and doing the daily exercises that are most important according to the evidence–are definitely an act of quirkyalone self-love. I want to feel strong, free and fluid in my hips as I age. Later I will go out to dance tango, probably at De Querusa milonga. Perhaps there will be a tangasm or two on this Quirkyalone/Together Day 2019 if I am lucky.

As you can see celebrating Quirkyalone Day can be any act of self-care or enjoyment in your day, alone or together. It could be a massage, dancing naked to a sexy song in the mirror, or getting together with a friend or snuggling your quirkytogether partner. You can do any self-care practice that you like to do for yourself but have been neglecting doing.

How about you? How are you celebrating Quirkyalone Day in your everyday life this year? Let us know in the comments.

Let’s talk about loneliness

Though loneliness has become something of a hot topic in the media, I wonder how many of us would feel comfortable to say it out loud to another friend or loved one, “I’m lonely.”

Many of us are reluctant to admit to others when we feel lonely.

I know from my own life and working with quirkyalone/quirkytogether people that loneliness has particular dimensions for people who have been selective in their choices and spent many years being single.

We don’t talk about the loneliness of that path all that much–for example the loneliness of staring down a weekend with no plans.

We wind up feeling even more lonely alone when we don’t see our experience reflected back to us or discussed.

That’s why I was really glad when the therapist Laura Parker approached me and asked me to be a speaker in her online series Transforming Loneliness. 

Laura who has been following quirkyalone for 15 years and I first talked over Skype to discuss the focus of our conversation.

We settled on the theme the loneliness of single shame, or of believing something is wrong with you if you have been single for years or just longer than you want to be.

I highly recommend you listen in. Generally when I do conversations with others on single shame it’s healing for someone out there.

This conversation can help you prepare for those awkward moments on dates when someone asks you how long it’s been since your last relationship.

Even more I hope this intimate conversation can help you feel more at peace as you gradually rid yourself of those nagging “there’s something wrong with me” voices in your head.

I remember evading questions on dates when men would ask me, So how long has it been since your last relationship? I felt marked–like something was wrong with me–because I had been single for years.

I’ve since helped many clients who have coped with similar feelings of shame so I know quite well by now single shame can be quite a “thing.”

In our conversation, I talked about my own experience of working through single shame to the end point of owning my story as a discerning quirkyalone and about my experiences helping others along that journey.

The interview is called “From Single Shame to Owning Your Story as a Discerning Quirkyalone.”

Our interview will be aired Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Laura’s series TRANSFORMING LONELINESS: Follow Your Heart’s Longing into Connection, Belonging, and Love will be available FREE from February 19 – 26.

Register now to get access at www.transforming-loneliness-event.com.

Once you register you’ll get a reminder from Laura about my talk so you will be all set.

xo

Sasha

Dear Sasha: Will I Regret Being Quirkyalone in the Future?

photo by Natalia Brasil

Dear Sasha,
I’m 27, and I’m so thrilled to be a quirkyalone. I think it makes for a far more conscious, expressive and spontaneous life. Quirkyalonedom rules! But I struggle with thinking about what quirkyalonedom will be like in the future. How will it feel when I’m 50…70? Will the “this rules!” feeling that this is how life is meant to be lived dull over time? Will I look fondly on my quirkyalone twenties but think of myself as being naive to the future?
Thanks for the newsletter and the thoughts. Im happy to be part of it.
Alex
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Hi Alex, Thanks for writing in with this excellent question. You sent this question two years ago and it took me two years to answer you because the question is so profound I only wanted to answer you when I was good and ready.

The first question I have for you is, What does quirkyalone mean to you?

To me, the essence of being quirkyalone is being true to yourself.

It’s hard to imagine how you can ever go wrong when you are true to yourself.

Being quirkyalone includes the possibility of being quirkytogether. So you really can’t go wrong when you stay true to your north star.

On the other hand, lots can go wrong when you lose touch with yourself: you might regret staying in a marriage with someone you’re not in love with because of your fear of loneliness, staying for years in a job you don’t believe in, or not taking the chance to express yourself to people you love.

What do people regret when they are on their deathbeds? Bronnie Ware is a palliative care nurse who spent years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She published a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and the most common regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Another common regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

From an exhibit “Signs of Regret” in Washington DC based on Bronnie Ware’s book exploring regrets of the dying

Back to your pitch-perfect question. Is it possible to be naive about the future in your twenties? Sure, we are all naive when we are in our twenties. That’s the nature of being twentysomething. You don’t know yet what’s to come because you’re not there yet.

When I was in my twenties, I remember feeling that life was like Christmas Eve. The best was always to come and I didn’t have to make any limiting decisions yet. I remember an older man telling me at a party that I would not feel so romantic about being quirkyalone in my thirties. At the time I thought he was a jerk but when I got into my thirties, I thought, you know, he was right. My mid-thirties brought some rocky times. When I hit my mid-thirties most of my friends were getting married, buying homes, and having children. I wondered where I stood with all those life milestones and if I was being left behind.

Now I know that I wasn’t alone. The mid- to late-30s can be a stressful, dark passageway of the soul for single women–especially if you might want to have children but haven’t found a partner. People are starting to call this trend “social infertility” and it’s a problem that doesn’t get much attention. We only have so much time to find a partner and we have to decide. There are forks in the road: especially, have children or not. By 39, it can feel like time to pull the red alarm.

Men face their own pressures but men don’t usually perceive themselves as having the same biological clock pressure or “expiration date” in dating.

But just because life doesn’t happen on the prescribed timeline doesn’t mean life won’t happen. I wish I could have soothed my 35-year-old self from the position of where I stand now. I was really terrified about being aged out of the dating pool and being unloved for the rest of my life. I also worried my life would get dull without children, but that hasn’t been true at all. If anything my life has gotten more rewarding and my mother-friends convey their admiration for my more varied “selfish”(self-ful) life. (They love their children, but there are tradeoffs.)

I am proud of my life because I have been very intentional about my choices. I dug deep to ask myself what really matters and acted accordingly, even when it meant surfing with massive amounts of self-doubt. But because I am always checking in with myself on the why of what I’m doing at the deepest level I have no regrets. Here I’m talking about big decisions like where I put my creative energy, whether to be a self-employed entrepreneur or take the safer path of a job, the relationships I choose to invest in, and where I live.

If you don’t find someone to marry and have children by the end of your thirties turning the page into your forties may be a relief. If you were ambivalent about having children and it didn’t happen, now it’s no longer an option. There’s freedom in that clarity. You can go forward not scrutinizing every date to see if he will be “the one” to pop out a baby in the next two years–that’s a lot of pressure for dating! If the kids and marriage thing don’t happen, your forties can be a kind of rebirth. (I’m not saying this is easy. Many people go through grief over not having children and luckily there’s Jody Day’s Gateway Women community to help with releasing the grief.)

Then come the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and who knows how long? I haven’t gotten to my fifties yet but I asked some of my newsletter subscribers to respond to your question and I love the nuanced responses I got from older women.

Leslie said:I turned 71 on October the 6th. I live on Cape Cod with my three elderly dachshunds and I am truly a Quirkyalone and have been since 1976 when I divorced my husband of only 6 years. I left him in Minneapolis and drove back to New England with a four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, $100 in my pocket, no job, and no place to live. The rest is a very long story and I am now a grandmother of two, work part-time in the car business, sing in Sweet Adeline, an a cappella chorus, own a small dog-sitting business, am a hospice volunteer, and take courses in anything that interests me and am never lonely. 

I have had four or five serious relationships over the years but none ended in marriage. To the young lady who wrote you I truly believe that keeping your heart open may lead you to the perfect person but if not, a very satisfying life lies ahead if you stay true to yourself and never stop moving and learning.”

Sheila says:
“In response to Alex:
You can’t possibly predict anything about feelings that far ahead. You can’t predict next year, let alone decades in advance. 
I am 64 and quite like the label and status of quirkyalone. I’ve a sister, other family, friends and business associates, church community, customers, social media, God (not the least). So I’m not alone.
My husband died a few years ago and I’ve developed and adventured, wept and laughed, played and got myself into messes left right and centre, hated my singleness and aloneness sometimes BUT I would not have it any other way. So there.
love you all.
Sheila x”

Maybe you were asking, will I regret being quirkyalone now if I stay perpetually single?  I want to speak to you if you have this fear. It’s easy to shut down and give up on love because it hurts and it’s fatiguing to be on the lookout for a partner for years when you don’t find someone. This is a fatigue and angst that doesn’t get talked about much! On the other hand, if you really want a deep experience of love  don’t give up. Know it’s possible and maybe you just need to give it time and believe in yourself, your lovability, and your unique path in life.

Sara Eckel (author of the fantastic book It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single) argues that single women are far too likely to berate themselves with criticism to explain why they haven’t found a partner (with messages we pick up like lint from our culture like “you’re too picky, or desperate, or independent”) and I couldn’t agree more.

But I can say sometimes there may be particular reasons why we may find forming trusting, long-lasting healthy relationships challenging, based on who we are and the experiences we’ve had. It’s always time and energy well spent to reflect and do personal growth work to have better relationships. That’s been my story and the story of a number of my clients, and that’s some of the most valuable work you can do in a lifetime: to open yourself up for deeper love. People who have been in long relationships also often need to do healing relationship work–just because you have been in a long relationship doesn’t mean it’s particularly healthy.

Finally, I hear in your question one more question. Will I regret being quirkyalone if I wind up alone when I get to my 70s? Who will take care of me if I’m old and fragile? This is a topic we are going to have to address as a society because so many of us are going to be single in old age, whether we marry or not.  Our society is going to need new models for health care, mutual support, community and caregivers who receive a living wage.

It’s impossible to predict the future. You could meet the love of your life now and he or she could pass in his or her 50s. You could have children who are not suited to be caregivers. I understand wanting to control for the future. Certainly I do. But all we can really do is live and love moment by moment.

I hope these words have been more reassuring than scary as you think about the road ahead. I think avoiding regret is really about honesty and the courage to take risks. If you do cozy up with another human in a long-term relationship, you know you are with your partner because of love and desire, not fear of loneliness or to fulfill societal expectation. In every area of your life, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you want. Ask your body what it wants. If you put your heart into your life and relationships (of all kinds, including your relationship with yourself), even if you don’t get exactly what you wanted you will have nothing to regret. We don’t have total control over what happens in life. But if you get clear about what you want and live from your desires rather than fears, there can be no regrets, only lessons learned.

Do you have thoughts or a story for Alex? Please share with us in the comments.

Want more like this? Be sure to sign up for the newsletter.

Hold it in your hands: signed, collector’s edition copies of To-Do List magazine

Before moving to Argentina to dance tango and start the Tango Adventure, before becoming a life coach serving my quirkyalone readers, before writing Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, I published and edited a print magazine.

To-Do List was a magazine of meaningful minutiae that published essays, interviews and art using the idea of a to-do list as a jumping-off point to explore the details of modern life.

In anticipation of the first issue I placed an ad in Bitch magazine asking people to send me their to-do lists in the mail.

Much to my surprise, thousands of people took me up on the offer. I discovered the delightful experience of visiting a PO Box in San Francisco, opening the postal box and finding handwritten to-do lists from strangers.

Much like The New Yorker uses cartoons as its signature artwork, To-Do List used handwritten lists. The lists are stories in and of themselves, a snapshot of humanity, wants, dreams, neuroses, obsessions, capacities and incapacities.

To-Do List won Best New Magazine in Utne‘s Alternative Press Awards in 2000 and eventually led to the publication of my second book, To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate: What Our Lists Reveal About Us.

Several fans of the book recently emailed me to ask about getting copies of To-Do List magazine.

We have a limited number of copies of the magazine which we offer now to you as signed, collector’s-edition copies. The longer this “digital revolution” goes on the more I value things I can hold in my hands, especially books and magazines. Maybe you do too!

  • There are very few of these print magazines on the planet and you won’t find these on offer anywhere else. If you’re a collector these are special magazines to collect.
  • I’ll sign the magazine for you and write you a special note! They would make amazing gifts for someone else or yourself. I’ll write a note, just tell me who it’s for in “order notes.”
  • To-Do List is where quirkyalone got started in that first issue, the Love-Anti Love issues. So you will be holding quirkyalone history in your hands.

These limited-edition copies will be mailed out in September 2018. September because I’ll be back in the U.S. in September–so that allows me and my elves to mail them to you that month.

To take advantage of this special offer to get To-Do List magazine order by September 15, 2018.

This offer is only good for U.S. mailing addresses–sorry international readers! (But you can get a Kindle version of the To-Do List book no matter where you live.)

There are very few copies so if this sparks your interest for yourself or as a gift, reserve yours now.

The Hidden Messages of Romantic Obsession

If you read my book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics you may remember the section on R.O., or Romantic Obsession. That part of the book was one of the most fun to write, and one of the most emotionally resonant, or so I heard from readers. It turns out that many of us quirkyalones have fallen into our share of R.O.

Here’s an excerpt to jog your memory: 

“It’s a little-known fact, but quirkyalones, for all their independence, also have a tendency to be swept away when they get close to love. We are passionate, romantic characters, and that click happens so rarely that the search for a partner can take on the character of a holy grail. If you only meet someone who stirs your interest once every two years, this is bound to be an epic event. If things don’t go according to plan, or even if they do, well, this can be difficult. We sometimes plunge into romantic obsession, or R.O.”

You can read the full passage here.

I experienced my first and deepest R.O. 25 years ago when I was in college. So I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on and writing about R.O. (That’s a lot of years!)

Since I launched my coaching practice in 2012 I’ve talked to a lot of women who have fallen into R.O. states for longer than they would like. Many quirkyalone women came to talk with me about a variety of life issues and decisions, but often the pain of the R.O. was the trigger for getting support. They wanted a way out of persistent obsession with someone who had told them in ways, subtle or not, that they were not interested in continuing a relationship.

Since I know R.O. to be a hidden topic for quirkyalones (because after all we seem so self-assured and confident, so not prone to obsession!) I recorded this unscripted video sharing what I have learned from my own R.O.s and helping others . I called the video the Hidden Messages of Romantic Obsession because many years later, I can see that usually an R.O. masks or distracts us from a deeper issue. It’s never really about the person we are obsessing about–it’s about something else for us to heal.

This is a big topic for many of us so if you have thoughts to share please do so in the comments!

P.S. I’ve been making more videos lately. This new twist has happened because I’ve become good friends with a genius Turkish filmmaker and fellow Buenos Aires expat Tan Kurttekin who is helping me make videos about pussywalking. (What the hell is she talking about with pussywalking?)

We will officially release the first PW (pussywalking!) video next week so keep an eye on your inbox for the email! Be sure you are signed up for my newsletter the Sasha Cagen Weeklyish to get it!

You should also subscribe to my YouTube channel to get videos. Whoo-hoo, I am now a YouTuber!

The Creative NYC Quirkyalone/Togethers

[end of the night at the qa/qt meetup nyc at Ten Bells]

During my travels in the U.S. I made a quick stop in New York City.

In New York I hosted a quirkyalone/together meetup at Ten Bells, a wine bar on the Lower East Side (Thanks to Melissa Banigan for the suggestion–it was the perfect place.) I’ve been doing these meetups in California, New York and New England because I want to seize the opportunity to meet more of you and also share in person some ideas that I have percolating to serve the QA community.

I’m more convinced than ever that you quirkyalone/together readers are just fantastic. I’ve always felt that when I get to know you in online courses, by working one-on-one with you and in the Tango Adventure. Now with these stateside meetups I’ve seen how great it is to meet you and have you meet each other.

I thought I would tell you about who came because it was such a creative group with everyone working on interesting projects.

Caren Lissner came out from Hoboken. She is working on various writing projects – and her funny first novel, Carrie Pilby, has a quirkyalone protagonist. The novel has a movie version that is currently on Netflix. Her websitehas writing projects, funny and serious. She’s also @carenlissner on Twitter

Phoebe Blue is in a band with her partner (the’yre both very independent so quirkyalone/together fits them well!) The band is Phoebe Blue and the Make Baleaves. Check out their latest album Wordz of Wizdumb. Phoebe is part of the antifolk scene in New York and every February 14 she plays a show and gives a shoutout to Quirkyalone Day. She convinced us all that Staten Island is the place to be in New York City and a future quirkyalone/together meetup might take place there. See Phoebe rap here in the song Baby Talk.

Maggie Buford is the Education Director at Staten Island MakerSpace, “a non-profit workshop that helps artists, craftspeople, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs make their ideas come to life.” You can like SI MakerSpace on Facebook. Maggie lives on Staten Island too. Phoebe turned Maggie on to Quirkyalone at a key moment in her life and they have been sharing the book with people in their Staten Island community.

Petra Hanson is a two-time Quirkyalone/together Meetuper because she was able to attend both meetups in SF and NY. Petra is a former pop star in Japan (yup!), a blogger and a fashion designer, and she’s up to something important and needed with the B-Sider, a blog and storytelling series (and a podcast to come) about reinventing yourself past 40 for the B-Side of your life. Check out the B-Sider and be sure to sign up to for the podcast to hear the inspiring stories she’s curating in the storytelling series.

Petra also responded when I asked last year if anyone wanted to get married to her or himself for national television. Watch the intrepid Petra talk about marrying herself and the expiration dates women face here on this ABC/Nightline documentary on self-marriage — you’ll see me give my perspective on self-marriage too. 

I’m still feeling the afterglow from all the spontaneous meetups in NYC, Providence and San Francisco. Stay tuned for more to come!

 

8 Trends Noticed Upon My Homecoming to San Francisco

snapped at the Mission District cafe Laundry

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post called “Achieving Home” about the decision to move to Buenos Aires–at least for a while. At the time, I was asking myself, What am I devoted to? What matters most?

The answer: I wanted to focus on my memoir, and I didn’t find it possible to focus in the Bay Area because I was consulting to Silicon Valley CEOs while serving clients in my burgeoning coaching business and working on my book. It was too much to do at once.

I never really thought I would live in Buenos Aires forever, and so, over the last couple months I have been spending time in various places in the U.S. to consider whether I would want to move back.

For me decisions have become about feelings as much as thought. The pros and cons list can only take me so far–the feeling of “yes” at a certain point has to take over. So I was going to “feel” San Francisco and every place.

When I came back to the San Francisco Bay Area after spending 20 months away, I wasn’t surprised to see that new cafes had sprung up while other longtime businesses had disappeared.  But wow, there was so much change! It’s a dizzying experience to come back to San Francisco because the area changes so quickly.

San Francisco is a very unique U.S. city. Republicans demonize San Francisco for being liberal. San Francisco is very progressive but actually people in the San Francisco Bay Area do many things are differently: sex, relationships, gender, food, work, drugs, and therapy. Trends start in California, then some go come nationwide–or worldwide.

San Francisco is a safe place to incubate new ideas because people are so open-minded and entrepreneurial. They’re willing to give new things a shot. Most big tech companies have their HQ there or nearby too: Google, Facebook, Apple. For better or worse, tech has changed the world. It’s no surprise to me that I birthed the quirkyalone concept in San Francisco, and that idea found an audience globally.

In the last 20 months, San Francisco seems even more intensely San Francisco. Maybe this is part of the polarization of the country as a whole post-Trump, each place becomes more intensely itself in reaction. The right gets righter, the left gets lefter.

In this post, I want to tell you about the trends that popped out to me with my new outsider eye: in San Francisco and other liberal enclaves around the U.S. When you’ve been away for a place you see it differently when you return.

Since many people say trends start in California these trends could be a preview of what comes next wherever you live.

Before talking about more fun and light-hearted trends, I can’t help but note the biggest trend in San Francisco: the absurdly high cost of housing in the wake of the ongoing tech and biotech boom. Which has led to a rather unfortunate urban dystopia.

The average cost for a 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco in 2018 is $4,423, per rentjungle.com. In Oakland too the rents are nuts: an average rent for a 2-bedroom is $2,922. There are very few places to go if you lose your housing in Oakland or San Francisco.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $75 million to SF General Hospital to make it the Zuckerberg Hospital now but his company and all the other big tech companies have contributed to rent increases that have displaced so many people who made the city unique and great.

Before I left for the last 20 months, I was going on dates with engineer men who made the money to afford luxurious hotel-like apartments on destitute streets in San Francisco surrounded by homeless encampments. San Francisco has turned into a dystopia with too much luxury and destitute poverty right by its side.

Can the city wrest its soul back? The Bay Area always attracts dreamers who find a way through their social networks to survive but at the same time many people have left as a result of the tech boom. I assumed the prospects for a sustainable San Francisco were bleak—that the entire Bay Area would one day become like Manhattan, totally unlivable unless you are wealthy or working 70 hours a week for a tech company.

On this recent visit I was surprised to see that people are still fighting in San Francisco for affordable housing. A mayoral election is coming up after the sudden death of Ed Lee, a man many thought was too friendly to tech interests at the city’s expense. Can a new mayor take the city back to make it more humane? Is there still a sliver of hope for the Bay Area to remain a place with a diverse citizenry beyond the techies and their families?

Many of my friends hang on and the Bay Area will always have a big piece of my heart. Here’s to hoping for some real civic action on creating affordable housing and policies that work for the whole.

Here are just a few of my impressions on the changes that popped out at me after 20 months away.

Kombucha is taking over the beverage section. Still don’t know what kombucha is? Have you visited the beverage section of your convenience store lately? Kombucha is a fermented beverage that many people love and many people think is gross. It’s a polarizing beverage, if you will. Kombucha is made by brewing cold tea, sugar with a slimy big mushroom called a “scoby.” With its probiotic content kombucha is good for the intestines. I love the effervescent kick of it.

Since I started drinking kombucha I’ve noticed the trend has gone mainstream. Pepsi Co. bought KeVita, “the leader in fermented probiotic beverages” and so now we have corporate kombucha.

Spotted in Beacon, NY. And here I really need a bang trim.

There are also lots of regional, artisanal local kombucha makers. In Beacon New York, an artsy town in the Hudson Valley I visited after San Francisco, I tried out this Calmbucha that looks just like beer in a mug. Yum.

All over the healthy cities of the U.S. you’ve got your local kombucha brands but on San Francisco Kombucha seems to really have taken over. Kombucha used to be a fringe thing but now there are just sooooooo many brands and flavors. You had mystic mango, tantric tumeric and gingerade for a long time but now you have watermelon basil. That somehow says it all for me: watermelon basil flavor kombucha is a crossover moment.

spotted in San Francisco

By the way, kombucha has not made its way to Buenos Aires. Instead, water-based kefir is taking off in the Paris of the South.

Avocado toast is the hot new trend. I didn’t actually witness any avocado toast but my friends told me it’s the hot trend at many cafes.

More 100% gluten-free restaurants. I have celiac disease so eating gluten-free isn’t negotiable. I was always surprised by how few 100% gluten-free restaurants there were in the San Francisco Bay Area–there seemed to be more in Buenos Aires (where no one eats gluten-free as a trend). This time I noticed far more totally gluten-free eating establishments, which is fantastic because that means we celiacs can let down our guard and not have to cross-examine the wait staff about cross-contamination. Relief!  Here’s a list of 17 SF GF spots. I tried Kitava and As Quoted, and especially adored Kitava. Here’s hoping the 100% GF trend spreads nationwide to more restaurants.

Recreational cannabis is very available. When I left Oakland, there was already a lot of pot in the Bay Area–the whiff of it could often be smelled from my apartment. If you had a medical card, you could order a delivery service (Uber for pot) to bring all varieties of “flower” to your door.

Last year California voters legalized recreational cannabis and made it even more seamless to get pot. Now anyone can walk in off the street without a medical marijuana card to buy cannabis.

During my visit I took BART downtown to see a fortysomething Silicon Valley friend who now works at LinkedIn where the average age of employees is 27 (that’s another thing, SF feels so young!). On my walk from downtown BART to LinkedIn I noticed the Flower Power dispensary on the way.

Flower Power serves a daily menu of edibles such as cannabis chocolate, gummy bears, chocolate covered blueberries, flowers (of many indica and sativa varieties) as well as “extracts” and “pods” of cannabis. Don’t know what the extracts and pods are? I don’t either.

The location of Flower Power is wild: just steps from the BART train and in the middle of all the hot tech startups. It’s so convenient to get pot on the way to work or home. The woman working the counter told me she served employees from Lyft and Uber that morning.

When Trump was elected I wondered if more people would smoke more pot to check out of the pain of reading such horrible headlines. Maybe that’s happening.

Microdosing LSD as the new coffee. OK, wait, what? So not only does everyone have easy access to cannabis gummy bears, a lot of tech types are microdosing LSD! I was having coffee with a techie friend he told me about the latest Silicon Valley trend for productivity and creativity.

Microdosing LSD means taking very small doses of the psychedelic. Back in the 60s, Timothy Leary days, people took 250-500 micrograms. Microdosing people now take 10 milligrams to be more effective at work. My friend described these users as quite square tech types: their goal is less mind expansion, more success.

Some people think microdosing also can help mood. In her memoir A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman wrote about how taking daily LSD microdoses helped her recover from severe depression.

There is no research on the long-term effects or whether LSD is addictive at a microdose. Are they also microdosing LSD in New York on Wall Street?

-Trans-pronoun awareness. There are a lot of linguistic trends that I’m not exposed to because I’m faraway in Buenos Aires. One of them is this new convention of using pronouns to identify your gender, or your refusal to identify with the gender binary of men and women.

While I was visiting I went with a friend to pick up her son at a San Francisco school. I was shocked to see all the teachers had their little pictures posted with their names and preferred pronoun: “she,” “he” or “they.” I thought if you look like a woman or a man it was assumed we call you “she” or “he” but it seems like the trans awareness is all about destabilizing assumptions about everyone’s gender.

Later I talked with two friends who are in law school and a PhD programs at CUNY (City University of New York). For them, it had become not-so-unusual in the classroom setting for people to announce their desired pronoun.

Is this level of trans sensitivity in schools a trend of just New York and San Francisco? I’m not quite seeing it in Texas or Montana.

–Feminist desk signs and other gift products. I was shopping for a friend’s birthday gift and couldn’t help but notice how many feminist products there were in gift shops: everything from memorial books from the Women’s March to “Boss Lady” signs to put on your desk.

spotted in San Francisco

Just five years ago it still seemed edgy to call yourself a feminist. Post-Trump and Harvey Weinstein, all of a sudden feminism seems downright trendy.

I bought a Boss Lady desk sign for myself and a friend because I thought, hey, that’s fun and inspiring. I wanna be a Boss Lady.

Later when I traveled on the East Coast in Beacon and Brooklyn, New York, I noticed even more feminist products now that my eye was attuned to them: a tote bag, a craft product for kids, and even more desk signs!

spotted in Brooklyn

spotted in Beacon, NY

Spotted in Beacon, NY

Commercializing feminism could result in watering down the movement — that’s what Jessa Crispin warns against in Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto but I have a hard time getting worked up over feminist tote bags. If girls are learning to make craft products to smash the patriarchy instead of playing with Barbie that’s probably a good thing.

Now that we have a pussy-grabber in the White House and the #metoo movement it’s not surprising that we have more Lady Boss signs for sale.

Here’s to hoping those lady boss signs take off as a trend everywhere. In Congress. In big companies, in auto plants, in academia. I fully support that lady boss trend.

What trends are you spotting? Let me know what you see in the comments.