Last Friday was enlightening. I was sitting at the bar, turned toward a few friends on my left, when a rando on my right tapped my shoulder and quite politely, actually, apologized for bothering me, but said he’d seen me walk in, blahdy blah, etc… and then ended his opener with, “So, how is a girl like you single?” UGH. That is maybe my absolute MOST HATED LINE.
I do believe it’s usually intended to be a compliment… but it is, in actuality, an insult. The underlying assumption is that singleness is an unfortunate condition everyone should avoid at all costs. It’s also a rather personal question to ask someone you hardly know. What kind of answer do people expect? “Well, I have daddy issues,” or “Under this makeup I look like a troll”??
But as my eyes began to roll up and I took a deep breath, preparing to launch into my usual speech (actually I find that question rather offensive, perhaps I choose to be single because I quite like dictating my own schedule, I’d rather not be in a bland or dysfunctional relationship, etc.), I realized something. For the first time in over a year, when asked why I was single, I simply answered with an expression that quickly turned from annoyance to befuddlement: “I’m not.” Accompanying an uncomfortable silence, my expression was then reflected back to me in the face of my new friend.
It had never occurred to me before that moment what’s perhaps most infuriating about that dreaded question: the ASSumption that someone is single. Was it because I was sitting at a bar with a group of girls? Was it because I turned toward a stranger when he tapped me on the shoulder? Was it because I was at a $15 all-you-can-drink-and-eat special at Durkins? Oh, maybe that did have something to do with it…