“So why are you still single?” August 6, 2008Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity.
Tags: good intentions, pathologization of singles, sickness, single, singlehood
People usually intend to be helpful and friendly when they ask:
“You’re so (complimentary adjective); so why are you still single?”
As if singlehood were a gross, drippy nose that could and should be cured by a swallow of Sudafed.
Being single is a sickness no one would possibly tolerate if they could help it–or at least, that’s the implication when someone says, “You’re so attractive/interesting/smart/funny/nice; so why are you still single?
(I’ve included a list of laudatory adjectives here, but usually “attractive” is the most commonly inserted, and usually it refers to physical appearance. Implication: if I am disfigured in a terrible car accident, I won’t be expected to find someone who would want to partner with me. But that’s an issue for a whole different blog.)
I met a nice, interesting guy who hit me with this (ostensibly well-meaning) question during one of our phone conversations. I felt as if he had judged my life and found an inadequacy I’d never noticed–the way I might feel when someone says, “You’re wearing that?”
I cancelled our coffee date and never called him again. Extreme? Maybe. Defensive? Perhaps a little. Probably other things about him bothered me, too. But all I remember is that one question, and the feeling of a switch clicking over in my heart.
Anyone have experiences with goodhearted people asking, “So why are you still single?”