Really? Is this where we have to start every time I catch up with you? With this tired old question? If you knew me at all, were part of my real circle of friends, or caught up with me more than once in a blue moon, you would know the answer to this. And you would also know not to ask this. Ever. Why? Because it’s annoying and invasive and not well-intentioned. At all. From now on you can expect my answer to be, “why do you ask?” Because let’s be honest, there are one of two reasons you are asking me this question. Firstly, my being single, and seemingly okay with that, makes you uncomfortable. Society is shaped to the silhouette of a couple and my singleness casts an ugly shadow across that. Secondly you view my life as part of your gossip track, filling the void created by the silences in your own life. Find other fodder.
2. “Don’t worry, you’ll meet someone.”
FYI, I’m not worried. Why are you? Also FYI, maybe I won’t meet someone. This is okay too. Sorry to make you squirm.
3. “Are you sure you aren’t being too fussy?”
Define “fussy”. Is it not wanting to shackle myself to a man who disrespects me or others, dislikes children, who would kick a dog, who is racist, sexist, homophobic or any other negative -ist or -ic, who treats my mother as though she is the second class citizen, who takes drugs-recreationally or otherwise, who smokes like a chimney – including in bed, thinks sex is about domination, who thinks a woman’s place is at home, who doesn’t call, or who puts his sport before our relationship. I call that having standards. I call that not settling.
4. “It’ll happen when you least expect it.”
Unless I’m planning on having a frontal lobotomy, this is highly unlikely. We’re programmed from the moment we arrive in this world to expect that one day we will meet “our match” and fall in love. Society rewards us for fulfilling our part of this deal with a lifestyle packaged for couples. You can kid yourself all you want that you stopped expecting it and that that’s when it happened, but I’m here to tell you that you never stop expecting it. Until you met that person. And that until then you clung to the romantic stories and fairytales you had been raised on, despite their twisted morals and stereotypes, and to the magazines and movies and love songs as though they were life rafts. You may have told everyone who would listen that you were moving on and letting go, but at night you stared into the dark and knew you were waiting, and with the waiting came the expecting. So next time you tell me it will happen when I least expect it, you can also expect me to tell you where to shove it.
5. “Have you tried Internet dating?”
Have you tried driving blindfolded, drunk, high on cocaine and 100 km over the speed limit? No? Well, get back to me when you have.
6. “Have you tried speed dating?”
Please see the above.
7. “I know this really nice guy. He’s single too.”
Great! Maybe we could start a club. Oh, that’s not what you were suggesting? Ok well, unless you know me and I know you … and by that I mean we have a minimum of ten years backing up our relationship – please don’t waste my time. That’s what Internet dating and speed dating is for. And again, see above.
8. “Have you tried Tinder?”
What a great idea – I’ll get straight on to that after I catch up on all my porn.
9. “You’re so lucky to be single and able to do what you want, when you want.”
I wish I didn’t have to talk to you right now. Does that count?
10. “Are you sure you’re not giving off the wrong signals?”
I’m not a traffic light, I’m human being and more complex than that. I have a personality, moods, good days, bad days, a sense of humour, and an understanding of my own self-worth and a voice – both internal and external. But frankly, if he isn’t prepared to walk against a red light on occasion, then I’m not interested anyway.
11. “You should freeze your eggs.”
You should think about connecting your brain to your vocal chords. If I want to freeze my eggs, I don’t need to be told it’s a good idea. I would’ve done it already. Enough said.
12. “Don’t worry there are plenty of fish in the sea.”
You know I’m a human right? Also, a human that is allergic to seafood. If I wanted the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet, I would be down at the local fish-market in a red mini teamed with fishnet stockings and a bucket to throw up in afterwards.
13. “You just need to put yourself out there more.”
Which part of me exactly?
14. “Have you thought that maybe there is no such thing as Mr Right or love at first sight?”
Have you ever thought that you are judging me against your own beliefs about why you were once single? You met your Mr Right, why is it not possible that I might also meet mine? And that there is no timeline for this. It will happen when it happens. If it happens. As for love at first sight, you have clearly never met my parents. Their love was epic and blossomed from the moment my dad saw my mum across a crowded ballroom – literally.
15. “My great aunt met her husband when she was well into her 50’s.”
Did you really just suggest that I was heading towards being a “spinster”??
16. “Do you think maybe you let him get away?”
Not helpful. Ever. But just to clear up any lingering doubt, apart from the 18 year old, ice-hockey goalie who we billeted from Canada when I was 16, I have never even been in love (for more on this see My Alphabet Men“). What you are really asking is why didn’t I say ‘yes’ to one of my apparent multitude of suitors when I had the chance… Why did I not just accept mediocre for both myself and him… Oh, I don’t know… Something to do with values and standards… and NOT settling.
17. “So do you think you would still have a wedding if you met someone at got married now?”
Valid question, because it would be completely ridiculous for a 43 year old woman to still want to walk down the aisle, wearing a pretty white dress, towards the man she is going to spend the rest of her life with, and then celebrate that love and adventure with their family and friends. I’ll remember not to embarrass you with an invite.
18. “There’s no such thing as the perfect guy.”
Ok, please, just stop talking to me now.