When was the last time this question was put to a man? Think about that for second…
Right. That’s what I thought.
Where etiquette is concerned, this is a rude question and it’s not yours to ask, you ignorant hysterical interloper.
Please. Let’s not confuse the question with the statement. From those who love us and hold us in warm and cushioned places, it’s never ever a Question, but rather, it is a statement. Like, “I just honestly can’t begin to understand how it is that someone as amazing as you is single.”
I say this all of the time to my girlfriends. And I mean it every single time I say it.
For clarity: to ask them why they are single is in fact my asking them to (1) justify their single status; and then, (2) to expound on the real root of the Q, which is: what’s wrong with you that no one has gone near you yet? (I.e. what is/are your flaw/s?)
I will be the first to recognize that this is a highly sensitive matter. Sensitive enough that I have thought about it to the point of needing to write about it. Trust me: I am not immune to the tone of this Question. Every time I face it, I think love of God, haven’t you read Bridget Jones’s Diary?, before offering my standard completely and totally serious response: “I have a tail.”
1% of the time, this elicits a laugh. 99% of the time, people genuinely look surprised, and curious because if they’re dumb enough to pose the question, they are not smart enough to catch the humour of my response. To the 99%, I usually follow up with a “why are you not single?” posed in the same tone, intended to mean what’s so special about you?
It’s one of the very few situations in which I allow myself to be completely rude (with guilt-free enjoyment and abandon).
Like that one time:
“Why are you single?”
“I have a tail!”
“What do you mean?”
“Well. It’s small. Fleshy. Makes a squeaking noise every time I sit down.”
“So. You’re married?!”
“YES! With children! You’re never completely a woman until…”
“Yes. I can tell you’ve had children. Extra weight around your tummy looks so cozy!** Tee-hee.”
(Look. I’ve never pretended to be an angel, so chill.)
The reality is there are a million reasons why someone is single, ranging from not meeting the right person, to not having the inclination, to not giving enough of a shit to actually put in the effort. No matter the reason, you, Interloper, will not receive a satisfactory answer, because there is no right answer to this question.
All that will happen is that the smart person to whom you put the Q will think you an idiot.
Bottom line is that the smartest men and women I have met, have never put this question to me, and the men and women who have, have always eventually proven themselves simpletons.
To conclude: Kindly take the above advice with you into the new year.
**To my beautiful sisters who have had children. Don’t take this personally. Knowing your fierceness, you would have just punched her in her Mommy and not allowed me to interact further. Trust.