Skip to comments.On The Light Side: Handling nosy curiosity as a single woman
Posted on 10/11/2005 7:43:11 PM PDT by teldon30
I never thought there would be an issue about what age I decided to marry at, which now I realize you don't "decide" to marry. It should just happen. (But sometimes it is a conscious decision for some women that results as an ultimatum. That's an entirely different column.)
I'm 35 years old, never married and that makes me "single." I'm not a divorcee or a widow. I'm not dating anyone nor am I "playing the field" since the prospective greenery seems to be missing in my general vicinity.
If you're a 35-year-old woman who has substantial control over your nervous system and introduced to someone, they first ask if you are married. Some may go on to ask if you have kids (these are usually men). Sometimes they ask the latter first (these are usually men).
I don't recall being questioned about my marital status at any time during my 20s, so this is still new to me even though the peculiar line of questioning has been happening since I turned 30. And that practically did happen overnight. (My sister and best friend came to my corporate office five years ago dressed in grandmother outfits carrying a huge "Lordy she's 30" bag that they pulled items out of and individually explained. My entire business suit-clad office sat and listened to why I'd need those items now that I was old. I won't go into details, but there was some type of ointment involved. Again, another column.)
I'm not proclaiming that a politically correct term for "single" needs to be developed. It's not an insult. I'd prefer single over "Maybe should've settled on the last guy. Could be the best one I'll find. I don't know." I'm happy to tag on, "Nope, not married. I'm single," after an introduction rather than "Nope, not married. I expect perfection from men, therefore I'll be single forever since even I am not perfect."
I think the most entertaining one I've been asked after someone hears that I'm 35, single and never married is why haven't I married.
I was at a social gathering, was just politely offered a glass of wine by a man who struck up a conversation with me, and he pops up with, "So, why do you think you've never married?"
I think a little red wine came out of my nose since I'd just taken a sip and was swallowing when I snorted into laughter. It's not a question you throw out as if you're asking why I purchased a Toyota instead of a Honda.
I asked if he'd ever considered printing out an application to give women he casually meets and found interesting. I explained that he could use some multiple choice questions, such as "Choose a necessity important for a successful marriage: A) Love, B) Trust, or C) Love, trust and a prenuptial agreement." Maybe an essay question such as, "Explain your bulkiest baggage in three or less paragraphs."
You probably guessed that no meaningful romance resulted in that chance encounter.
The least entertaining question I've been asked is, "Ever been close?" Again, this wasn't coffee talk with girlfriends. Another casual acquaintance, another social setting.
My first instinct was to begin counting with my fingers and say, "Oh, yeah, well sure. There was the guy I dated for years. He proposed to me twice, two different rings, both times we were broken up. Uh huh, yeah. And there was the one I hadn't see in years, dated him in college, looked me up in the phone book, drove to my house and offered me ownership of his car while he served in the Air Force. It was only later that I found out that there was a rose, ring and a letter of proposal in the glove compartment. Boy - that souped-up sedan would've been a lot of responsibility, huh? And then ..." But no. I simply responded, "Never booked the preacher, if that's what you mean."
It's not the clear-cut answer that I'm sure a lot of people are looking for, but that's what being nosy will get you. (Tip: I usually follow that answer by engaging in a detailed explanation of how to determine a perfect cut diamond from a flawed one. It makes for a night of entertaining facial expressions coming from the man I'm talking to.)
I'll milk it for laughs if I can.
Get this all the time. My answer to why I haven't married yet is a very simple one: haven't met the right guy yet.
I thought it was funny and full of sarcasm. Of course, I've been in her shoes so...
Thanks dashing dasher, for the ping!
I tried married for almost 10 years. Didn't work out so well for me.
Single after that for about 8 years. Dated, but no long-term guys.
Been with the same VN veteran now for more years than I recall (about 20?). I'm 54 and counting...
Single female is a fun time!
Yep. I want to get married for the right reasons (love, committment, children, etc.)- not because society expects me to be, or because someone falsely thinks there 'must be something wrong with her'. It's a question of marrying 'just any guy'. Call me a prude, but I don't want 'just any guy'.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
I'm sorry for your loss. I'd put you in a different category than the author though. You *were* married. It's not the same social pressure as the never-marrieds face. Not to minimize what you do face, but it's different.
I do know some widows who tend to turn off prospective second husbands by waxing about how wonderful the first husband was. Most men (and women for that matter) will shy away from someone who is expecting someone as wonderful as their dear departed. Particularly if there are children involved.
I think sometimes of all the widows created by 9-11 and the War on Terror. It takes a tough woman to pick up and start over. Bless all of them.
I just think that the American legal system is none too friendly to males!
I do not think you need any better explanation than that. This is not the 18th century where you get married by 20 so that you can die by 40. More than ever, quality matters.
Marriage should not be a race to some kind of societal finish line.
As for myself, I find a number of women, with no ring, who are in long term live-in relationships with their boyfriends.
Perhaps they have a common-law marriage.
All I know is that there are some things I would like to know up front.
Because it's rude to ask such personal questions on first acquaintance. Might as well ask her her age, weight, and shoe size.
Well, then I'm guessing that I must be out of line when I ask to see a current credit report. But in my own defense, I do usually wait for the second date before I run a criminal back ground check. But if y'all have met some of the women I've been out with, you wouldn't blame me!
Yeah, about half way through the article I figured out EXACTLY why she's never been married. The entire article dripped with condescension towards the women who tried to make her 30th birthday special and to the man who DARED to strike up a conversation with her, as if they were intruding into her little aura of perfection.
Good looking women can get away with being jerks up until about age 30. After that, personality becomes important.
You could just break their white cane or shoot their dog.
Why the ideal gas law in your tagline?
Oh...just being nerdy....Got chromatography on the brain.
so cheesy... udderly so ;-)
My life isn't perfect, but, at this point, it's the path I've chosen. And for the longest period yet, no, for the first time in my life, I'm not beating myself up for bad choices, or freaking out with hysterical loneliness.
Yeah, if you marry someone, they shouldn't be just anyone. And the more quirks, twerks and rips you have, the more quirked, twerked and ripped they need to be too....or you'll both be unhappy. Especially if you're beyond childrearing years.
Sadyly, the 'I gotta get married because I'm getting older and alone!'mantra is in both genders in my world. Where the clock is ticking towards dying alone and dying with someone else there.
Got news for you---- all humans die alone. Granted, it is wonderful to pass with someone who really loves you holding your hand. But alone is better than looking up at a big mistake as you take your last breath.
Anyhow, meeting someone is more pressured than when I was 18. It's like a job interview, rapid fire, getting down to the basics. Instead of speed dating, it's become speed marriage. Instead of sex, they want an instant companion, an instant marker to say "Hey, look! I've got someone! See, I'm OK."
Ewww! Arranged marriages! The idea makes my skin crawl. I would hate to think what my mom would have set me up with. Probably some old, abusive drunk. When I got married I heard a lot of, "You don't know what love is." Yet, I am still happily married almost thirteen years later.
Why is it that she views this question as an insult? It is not a whole lot different than asking, "So, why did you decide to become a school teacher/lawyer/astrophysicist?" When getting to know someone, isn't it normal to ask a question or two about life choices? What is she, terrified that someone might judge her in some way? Heaven forbid!
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