Don’t Ask, Because I _Will_ Tell

...and I'm not kidding!

I’ve never understood why people in both work and social situations think it’s okay to ask personal questions, and then comment critically on the answers.  I mean, not everyone could have hideous manners, could they?  And many of these are people that otherwise behave most impeccably.  My work throws me into a lot of events at which I have to circulate, be pleasant, and put up with quite of bit of personal questioning.

So, what do they ask?  Once you get past the ordinary pleasantries, such as “do you live in Manhattan?  where did you go to school?  how long have you been working at X?”, you get “are you married? do you have kids?  can I interrogate you about your sex life?”  Oh, okay, the last one is a (slight) exaggeration.

As you know from the name of my blog, I’m single, and I prefer it that way.  I also don’t have kids.  Now, you would think that when I answer questions about marriage and kids with no and no, that would be the end of it, right?  Well, you would be wrong.  The next question is often “why?”, which we all know really means “what’s wrong with you?”  Or in the case of a certain kind of person, it really means “you just haven’t met the right man/woman/goat/sheep/whatever”.

Okay, really?  Seriously?  Are we living in the same century here?  Would they say that to a man?  (If you didn’t guess, that last one is a rhetorical question.)  Even if there is something “wrong” with me, what I know is that living my life my way is what’s right with me.

Hmmm…I was going to explain that last statement, but no.  Then I would be buying into that living my life the way that works for me needs explanation, and the freaking point (after all) is that it does not!  I get so angry with the “Chick Lit”, especially that of Candace Bushnell, who at one time was held up as the woman writing about the lives of “true” modern women.  Well, I’ve read a bunch of her books, and guess what?  Every. single. one. of those women is looking for an old-fashioned relationship.  Probably with kids.  That’s great, but it’s only one choice, Candace.

Yes, I have moments when I worry that I will end up alone, friendless, with 47 cats, in my Manhattan apartment.  But I don’t think that would even cross my mind if society weren’t still trying to condition us to the assumption that, for women at least, alone means friendless loser, rather than happy solitary person with lots of great friends.

I admit that I frequently do answer the “why?” question when asked it publicly (beyond just saying MYOB).  And if you want to hear my often creative, always brutally honest, answers, ask me sometime.   I _will_ tell.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy McGean
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 21:06:40

    Thank you for this post, Flora. Ever since I made the decision not to have kids, I have struggled with this question – whether it’s spoken or just implied in awkward silences. My pet peeve is how on TV shows when a strong, independent-minded woman gets pregnant, she almost inevitably opts to have the baby. Abortion seems to be the last taboo on network TV. I was amazed when Grey’s Anatomy took the plunge and actually let Sandra Oh’s character choose NOT to have the baby. Ok. Rant done.

    Reply

  2. Jensen
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 10:23:04

    I get asked the question (marriage, kids) a lot as well. Or they just assume you are homosexual. EIther way, it is hideous manners — you are most correct there. You are a fine conversationalist and there are OODLES of other things you can be asked about/discuss. What these people are is rude — they assume that because they have a need for affirmation via sharing, that you simply must do the same. Oh my, you have me started on a rage for the day…. Oh my — but you are sooooo right!!!

    Reply

  3. shellihelli
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 13:45:12

    as long as there is the ability to open ones mouth, people will constantly put their feet in it! 😉

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Are You Ready To Fail? « Travels With Slippers, or The Life of A Single Woman Who Prefers It That Way

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