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How to Crash the Pity Party: YOUR RESPONSES REQUESTED April 27, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: , , , , ,

Back in March, Mishi commented on our post “Where’s your boyfriend? When are you getting married?”, but somehow Lisa and I didn’t see her great comment until just now. So we’re reposting it now and asking for our Copious Readership’s thoughts. She describes a scenario I have experienced many times over, and each time I’m equally befuddled: 

Here is something I get quite often:

“Are you seeing/dating anyone?”


(and then the response is like an “AWWWWWW” as if they feel totally sorry for me).

Any ideas????



1. Singlutionary - April 28, 2009

I have two minds on this (of course it is not enough for me to have just one):

1. Sometimes I am the “aawwww”er. Well, I don’t take it that far but somebody asks me about my relationship status and then I return the question (because its polite conversation) and then they say they don’t have anyone and I don’t know what to say because whatever I say sounds like a consolation prize. So I say “that is great, now you can focus on yourself” as kinda a warm up to see how enthused the would be about a Singlutionary-esque discussion but as I am saying it is still sounds like “awwwwwww”. The very way that this question is set up demands a pity party response.

2. “Are you seeing anyone?”

“Hell no. I am way too busy for that bullsh!t. I’ve got a life of my own.” (and then I continue to wax on vehemently *ahem: defensively* about my awesome bountiful existence until the other person walks away, defeated)

Another one of my favorite responses (to be used towards particularly annoying ingratiating family members) is:

“What? Why would I want that?” (with a very innocent, stupid tone as if I am genuinely perplexed)

2. Alan - April 28, 2009

This is probably a bit over the top, but I’d be tempted to respond,

“Yeah, and I was so looking forward to the divorce.” 😉

3. singal - April 28, 2009

I don’t get asked anymore 😉 …. and I don’t remember what I USED to say because it was SO long ago 😉

But …. MAYBE if you’re feeling cheeky you can say that you ARE seeing someone ….. who is so utterly great, happy, intelligent, supportive …. knows exactly when you don’t want to be bothered, knows what you want ….

IF they ask you who that person is, just say the truth – it’s YOU!!! You are just so happy with “me, myself, I” that you don’t need to go looking for anybody else to make you happy.

Having said that, years ago I heard of an American lady who was SO fed up with people asking her when she was getting married etc that she decided to marry her best friend – herself.

So she literally had a wedding ceremony & married HERSELF … and even got in the press here in Australia.

I was just so amazed and loved the idea SO MUCH that i even looked into doing it myself …. but then I got very negative reactions from my family so I decided I wouldn’t do it ….

But I still love the idea.

OK OK …. I just googled it and found an interview of the woman, Jennifer Hoes


oh … that reminds me of another funny wedding …. a lady married her dolphin!!! 😉

4. Lauri - April 28, 2009

I posted on facebook the other day that my date Saturday night didn’t really go as well as planned. Everyone commented “oh sorry, you’ll find someone!” and “keep up hope!” I just replied, “I actually like bad dates, where else would I get all my good stories?” (which is true. I think this is the sole reason I even go on dates.)

Otherwise I usually just say, “I don’t care.” When someone awws me for not being married or having a boyfriend. Sometimes I say, “I’m not really the marrying type.” When someone says something about “finding a husband” I say something like “geez, I’ll take a boyfriend, but I don’t want a husband!” I also love the line, “But I’m ONLY 31!” (which is the way I think, but apparently not how others think).

5. autonomous - April 28, 2009

I totally relate to Lauri’s experience of bad dates being the best sources for stories….along with worst pick-up lines ever.

Dating question: “how’s your love life?”
Latest answer: Fantastic! I love my life!

Marriage questions: I sometimes answer that I’d love to get married, as long as I don’t have to live with the guy. Or, if it’s been a particularly ugly week at work I’ll say, “So I can be unhappy or divorced like most normal people?” (I work in family law)

onely - April 28, 2009

Lori, I think you’re an interesting “case” because your job has exposed you to the unhappy, tragic sides of marriage relationships, whereas most people are bombarded with matrimaniacal/heteronormative images of marrige-as-wonderful in the media, and they don’t have anything to counteract those one-sided portrayals. But you do. Any time you want to write about how your job has influenced your perspective, we’d love to post it.

autonomous - April 29, 2009

That sounds fun- as my perspective has changed quite drastically in the 7 1/2 years here and I’ve no shortage of material.

Once boss-dude came up with a come-back to the “why aren’t you married?” question- It was: “hmm, why Are you?”
Ya, we’re a little jaded, and he’s married.

Yesterday I pointed out how odd it is that people have no qualms about asking direct questions about “my love life” when there is no way in hell I’d ever directly ask someone, “so, how’s your marriage?” On second thought, I might retort with this just to see the look on their face. I wouldn’t expect a truthful answer…

onely - May 1, 2009

RIght auto–most of our snappy comebacks to singlist questions like “how’s your marriage” are seen as impolite! How funny is THAT. Um, maybe not so funny actually. = ) Someone came up with a good one– “Q: How come you aren’t married yet? A: How come you aren’t dead yet?” I think it was Total Trauma but I’d have to go back and check. -Christina

6. bobby - April 28, 2009

I’m kind of strange when it comes to this. I very rarely ask anyone what their relationship states is 😉 When people ask me the question, I say happily single. The funny thing about saying this is that it becomes an automatically required explanation in the person’s mind, like why are you HAPPILY single? What does that mean?

I tend to have fun with these people and their lack of fundamental English 🙂

7. bobby - April 28, 2009

That’s statis, not states lol

8. onely - April 28, 2009

Everyone, We knew you all would come up with pithy, punchy responses!!! Thanks! I was laughing my tail off.

9. trauma queen - April 29, 2009

I have to agree with Bobby….i also usually tend to tell people that I am “happilly unmarried” or “single, not ready to mingle.” But most people think it is self-pity…and that’s just so sad

My blog pretty much advertises my love for singlehood..but it’s annoying when some of my readers think it is a reaction to a “love failure case” (yes that is a popular phrase used in India) or that I am putting up a facade of loving singlehood while secretly craving for mister right. No one believes you if you say ur gay or bi (again seen as an escape route)..its such a circus sometimes!

In Hindi (the national language of India) the word for marriage is ‘shaadi’. Another word that rhymes so well with it is ‘barbaadi’ which means disaster. So any matrimonial related post on my blog always goes with the label: shaadi/barbaadi.

10. Therese - April 30, 2009

I think the easiest way to shut down that judgment is just to answer a simple: “No.” It’s like being on the witness stand in court or giving a deposition: give short, simple answers and never answer more than is asked. 🙂

onely - May 1, 2009

Therese, I love that courtroom analogy. CC

11. trauma queen - April 30, 2009

I really love the idea of marrying my ipod or marrying myself..but then I wonder if I am a narcissist? I supose not..as jennifer explains in her interview. Also we are born alone and we die alone..really what’s wrong in being by ourselves forever..why is it seen as ‘pathetic’?

a philosophical friend of mine told me that not wanting to let anyone in to share your life is a weird form of insecurity or low self esteem…if you truly love yourself and are confident with who you are..what’s wrong in letting someone else into your life?

Sometimes I wonder if I come under that categpry..but then i also realise I’m not against sharing my life…I’m just against doing it for wrong reasons such as age or parental pressure or boredom or stuff like that. I know MANY ppl who have gotten coupled due to ‘boredom’.

What do the others think?

Lauri - May 1, 2009

trauma queen, lately I have been wondering if I am some kind of narcissist or something because past the few years I’ve realized- it takes a LOT for me to be into/attracted to someone. I find this a lot when I go through online phases- I scroll through hundreds of photos and profiles, and all I can think is “eh.” I don’t have any shallow criteria like he has to be a certain height or make a certain amount of money or be a certain religion; I see profiles all the time of guys I *should* be interested in writing too. But I’m still just like “eh.” I know that it is common for men to notice attractive women a lot when they’re just out and about, but I don’t know if it’s as common for women, and I almost never do.

I also don’t notice when people seem interested in me. I’ve been in situations when I’m on the subway or in a bar and my friend will be like, “hey, that really cute guy is looking at you” and I’m like “huh? what? where?” About 10 people had to TELL me once that a guy was hitting on me at a party.

Furthermore I can’t relate to people who claim to be “in love.” I just don’t see how one can like another person THAT much as we traditionally understand “in love” to mean. It doesn’t seem rational. I think I understood when I was a lot younger, like high school and college age, maybe even early 20s. Which leads me to believe that it’s not really an emotion but some sort of chemical shift you experience at different ages. I always just look at couples and wonder what they see in each other. Don’t get me wrong, I see the good in people, but no one seems “that cool” to me that I would hold them up on that sort of desirability pedistal.

So I have to wonder if I’m so caught up in myself or something that I don’t notice these other people. I don’t FEEL like a narcissist. I care about other people, I think. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not listening to anyone who says I’m “too picky” because um, hello, picky is the point of all of that. I just sometimes wonder why I appear to be different from the majority of other people in this respect, and hope that deep down I’m not some really huge jerk!

Singlutionary - May 1, 2009


You are not a huge jerk!

a) I totally get you. I feel this way too. I think being in love is grand for other folks but I myself, don’t really get why it is so fun. I’ve wondered if there was something wrong with me too but I’ve tried to go the whole “in love” route and although I loved the guy all the mushy gushy stuff felt insincere at the core of my being. I totally believe in LOVE but its not dramatic for me. Its just simple and honest and good.

b) the people who are IN LOVE and love being in love are just as self centered as any one of us non-in-lovers (I am not saying MORE self centered just the same). Being in love like that is about throwing yourself into another person but its also about the other person throwing themselves into you. Its all consuming. Just because there are two people all consumed by each other doesn’t mean that they have a generosity gene that folks like you and I are missing.

I also don’t notice when guys are interested in me. Sometimes I do but its usually in a bad way. I am just out there being myself and not thinking about it.

As a whole, I think this has to do in part, with me not thinking of myself as this feminine womanly person all the time. I don’t really like getting my nails done or having my chair pulled out for me, etc. In a lot of ways, I don’t think of myself as gendered (until it becomes glaringly obvious to me in social situations) so just because a man is talking to me I don’t see him as a potential lover, I see him just as a peer, an equal. For some reason, I think that this throws everything off somehow.

onely - May 1, 2009

It definitely throws things off because women will talk to men because we like to talk to people and learn things and get ideas, but men don’t talk to women unless they want something (sex or otherwise). YES, I am speaking in a gross generalization here, but I think that the trend *leans* this way. I don’t want to diss all two of our loyal male readers Bobby and Alan, because I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule.

onely - May 1, 2009

Nope not a jerk! I experience a lot of those same tendencies, Laurie. Well, maybe then we’re both jerks, and in good company.

I heard something on the radio lately about love being really a biochem way to get men and women together for the couple years it takes to conceive and birth some kids, and then after that the love chemicals fade–creating a relationship between the man and the woman that is more like a “family” relationship, as in brother-sister perhaps, which is why sex lives often begin to decline at a certain point. I think this was the gist of the theory–I only caught a bit of it. CC

onely - May 1, 2009

ew, coupling due to boredom? Why not bungee jump instead? Goodness.
TQ, I would think if you love yourself and are confident blah de blah, then what’s wrong with being single? Your friend has her philosophy, which is fine, but I think it can go both ways. You are *not* a narcissist. Maybe we could say it’s narcissistic to marry someone because you want someone to love you because you’re so awesome. People can always make up reasons to justify any of their behavior or to bash the behavior of someone who they don’t agree with. Also, I think if everyone in the world got acupuncture once a week, the world would be a much better place. CC

12. bobby - May 2, 2009

“I don’t want to diss all two of our loyal male readers Bobby and Alan, because I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule.”

No worries at all! As far as I’m concerned, if you (and the other readers here) are honest and sincere, I for one will never feel dissed 🙂

I happen to agree with what you said and just might blog about “Communication” or lack of, between men and woman.

13. trauma queen - May 4, 2009

hey we’re all jerks then..let’s start a jerk club 😛

I totally told my friend the same thing….i don’t feel the need or desperation to be coupled. I like to check people out occasionaly, but I also hardly realise when someone is into me until its all too obvious. (I totally suck in the ‘hints’ department)

I guess we’re all just happy with ourselves…and the real issue is not with that but with constantly having to EXPLAIN why we’re happy and why we’re also normal 😛

I mean that’s what the trigger of this post was about….

I totally like what you said about biochem…one thing I cannot understand about myself is this desire to toally skip the wife part and go straight into the mom part. I mean I don’t want to be a single mom, or have illegitimate children (I would not survive in my counry if that happened…) but the idea of being a wife really puts me off. I keep telling my friends that I will onyl mary to have kids..and Mr. Right would be someone who is as keen on becoming a parent as I am – I wouldn’t care much if he did not have the time for me.

14. Singletude - May 24, 2009

Add me to the Jerk Club because I would say I’m only physically attracted to about 15% of men (I have a “type”), and, of those, I’m only intellectually and emotionally attracted to maybe 5%. So it’s slim pickin’s for me! I also can’t read interest signals from the opposite sex unless they’re really blatant, and I don’t experience the “in love” high as much as a general sense of contentment.

I propose that maybe the true narcissists are the love junkies. Some of the most “romantic” men I’ve dated have also been the most self-absorbed, one to the point of full-on clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They love the feeling of being in love because it’s such a high to be desired, admired, even idolized by someone else. Those of us who don’t need someone else to fall at our feet are, I think, the opposite of narcissistic.

Kaden - May 1, 2011

Thanks alot – your answer solved all my problems after seaverl days struggling

15. Popping The Question: So, Why Are You Still Single? « Onely: Single and Happy - September 5, 2011

[…] post originally appeared in the book Singlism, by Bella DePaulo. It reprises earlier posts–here and here and here–where Onely and our Copious Readers discussed awkward questions about […]

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