The following question was asked of me four separate times this week, from four different men.
“How in the world are you still single?”
Sure. It was meant to flatter me. Even though my inability to come up with a clear answer made me feel the opposite of flattered.
I considered the following reasons. True or False? (another pop quiz!)
1. I’m divorced and it took me time to be ready for a relationship.
2. I’m single by choice.
3. I haven’t met “the guy” yet.
4. I’m drawn to men who are unavailable (cubs included).
5. I work too much.
6. I’m picky (and gosh darn it I should be!).
7. I need to retool my Jdate and Ok Stupid profiles, and join Match.com.
8. The majority of my friends are married. I need to find more single friends and go to bars with them.
9. Men feel threatened by me and my “strength” or “success.”
10. I’m a blogger who exposes herself online and it’s sabotaging my efforts.
At first, I felt all of the above were False. But now that I’ve written them down, I wonder whether they all might have a shred of truth.
A friend told me not to feel discomfited by this question. “It means these men find you datable!” she reassured me. “They’re just shocked you haven’t been snatched up yet.”
But I wonder if the unspoken implication is, "Is there something wrong with you?"
There is one commonality between the four men who said this: they are all in a relationship (engaged or married).
But what if they weren’t? What if they were single and in a position to actually go out with me? Would they? It’s easy to throw out statements and compliments when you are protected from having to act on them.
When I told Mom about this tonight, she took the question literally. I could see her trying to come up with the real reason why. It was she who offered up .9 above: “You’re successful and strong and men are scared of it.”
I love my mother, and I love that she believes in me, but I got defensive. “So what am I supposed to do, Mom? Not be me? Should I downplay my attributes and be meeker?”
She replied, “No, No. Of course not. You’re wonderful. You’re something else!” (What might that be, I wondered. But I didn’t say anything.) Then she paused, considering what to say next. “Just maybe don’t’ talk about what you do or that you are a writer on the first date.”
Her comment gave me pause. Does she have a point? Do any of you relate to reasons 1-10 above?