He posed the question flat out yesterday. I was at work, filing a report, and after all my business was completed, out tumbled that can-I-as-you-something-that-most-likely-will-make-either-you-or-me-or-both-of-us-uncomfortable routine “Why is someone like you single?” ===(He was wearing a band, people!)
Immediately, my reaction was one of shame and placation. One of let me defend myself I really am a good person stature. Of course I was speechless at first, and made some cutesy remark about how I was repressed I the emulation of Britney Spears phase and just couldn’t commit to something that would tie down my wild nature. Then, I answered honestly that I didn’t know, and that some days I cared and some days I didn’t.
But what got me most was the shame. It was like he was asking me how a person develops malaria, or, in my neck of the woods, ADHD. What went wrong, doctor, and how do you cure or TREAT the problem?
I don’t have the answer for that one, because so many theories have been bombarded on me from people ranging from my inner circle to complete strangers. Here are some of the theories offered to me, most of them I didn’t ask for:
“It’s because you are too ambitious”
“Your education and profession intimidate men”
“You aren’t around single men enough”
“You need to give the internet proper credit”
“You’re too picky and have too high of expectations”
“You don’t know how to flirt”
“You try too hard, stop looking and he’ll find you”
“Try harder, go pick up some one in a coffee shop or bar some where”
“You aren’t ready to commit”
“You crave intimacy so much that it scares them off”
“You fear intimacy”
“You don’t hang out in bars after dark.”
Oh yeah, and for some peculiar reason, a slew of explanations around my hair: “why did you stop dyeing your hair blonde?” “You don’t blow dry your hair right” and my favorite, given to me on a day that I used an iron “if it [referring to my neglected drapes] looked like that everyday, your chances would improve.”
So, along with explanations, people tend to pair solutions, like the one above. They range from hair color, to acquiring a pet as a lure, to adopting new interests and activities, and boil down to “getting myself in the game.” None of them seem like the proper treatment.
The main treatment involves the question of singlehood at it’s core: How does a person get to BE single when it appears that everything else in her life is in order?
Well, first of all, it is a myth that people in relationships and marriage are more functional or have their ducks in a row than those of us that are single. Singlehood, like it or not, is viewed as a condition to be cured. People react to singlehood as if it is exema or something we singletons need to condition more. The good state is being paired with some one and the bad state is not.
In this world, it is not good for the cheese to stand alone.
It is assumed that people who are paired have somehow done something more right and God has rewarded them with the gift of couplehood. Well, you and I both know that couplehood is often a mistake or punishment as well, so what’s with all the solutions, people?
I think it is always better for us as a community to ask the question “why am I here right now, where I am?” Why am I in a relationship? Why am I not? And how am I both okay and not okay with my state right now?
But again, I don’t have the answers, I just have questions. Perhaps that’s how I should have responded: “Why are you married?” But doesn’t that sound a bit defensive? Like I have something to be ashamed of or explain away?
Think about that next time you want to treat us singletons!