what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.”
― Mandy Hale
If you Google “single woman”, the first thing that comes up is “single women searching for men of a certain age”. Why is the world “Single” synonymous to “No Life”?.
About two weeks ago I ended up in an elevator with an older guy, about 70 by looks, in my apartment building. He eyed me carefully and then asked : “Do you live here?” I confirmed. Then he blurted out: “Are you married?” I passed on the thousands of smart-ass answers that instantly jumped into my brains and just said that I’m single. The reaction was shocking and amusing at the same time. Suddenly his tired old eyes lit up (kudos Grandpa!) and he looked at me as if a husband would be the only obstacle between two of us. And hen the question “Why?” came.
Many years ago, in the beginning of my career one of my the bosses explained to me what an elevator speech is – describing the core of your business in few sentences – just enough to explain it to someone while you are in the elevator. What has never occurred to me, is that I need an elevator speech, explaining why I am single. I obviously needed it now.
Instead I shrugged my shoulders and smiled at him.
He meant it well. And many other people who have told me this before meant it well too. And probably who have never asked me these questions thought of them. But the question “why?” always puzzled me. What people expect you to say, there is no “because” in being single. It is a fact of life. That just happens.
From people I know closer than that guy I have heard even more insulting statements. And they meant it well, just like that guy. I hear from mothers of my friends quite often: “guys are so stupid, if they don’t have smarts to marry you”. Really? REALLY? These people think and tell me into my face that I am not married because nobody wanted to marry me! And people who do not say it, they think it.
Just few months ago, I had to go through yet another “why are you single” challenge at a much bigger scale than I expected. It was a class reunion after thirty years (yes I am that old). Most of the school mates are my friends even today, I was blessed that way, but there were few who I haven’t seen in all those 30 years. I don’t know if people in general have the same understanding of appropriateness as me but studying in the same school does not give anyone the right to start the investigation 30 years later on why I am single, never married and never had children. And inevitable comes– Oh everything is still ahead of you, Tina Turner got married at the age of 72. People! I am not looking! I AM FINE!
When I accidentally run into distant acquaintances, they always have to ask “and how are kids?” As if they care. They don’t even know I have no kids. So why ask?
It was like this all my life.
First it was
- When you get married…
Then it was
- It is time for you to get married
Then the biological clock thing came.
And now Tina Turner is supposed to be my role model.
At work life is not easier but in a different way. My last employer, when hiring, me admitted out-loud that he is happy I am single. This would allow me to concentrate on the job since I don’t have to worry about kids and their kindergartens and their medical check-ups. I could not believe what I heard. After I started working for him, this turned into an abuse – I was supposed to do weekends and holidays, because everybody else had families. Hey! I have family and friends too and they want to have me over for Christmas too!
This guy said it, others have thought it.
The good thing is that all this does not get to me. Because I KNOW that being single does not mean I don’t have a life.
But nobody believes me, so I have to work on my elevator speech.