Monday, 7 May 2012

How many times have you asked / been asked The Question this week?

There's one question that, as a single girl, you get asked almost repeatedly.

No matter who you talk to, no matter their relationship to you; close or not, good friend, or someone you've just met, aged 27 or 62:

"So, any men on the scene?"

The answer, of course, is always the same. My eyebrows raise slightly, my mouth purses together, the shoulders hunch up and shrug a bit while my head shakes.

"Nooo, no...." I say, staring at my plate before quipping "...not for a while. Off men! Yeah. No. No, no. Well, it would be nice, but well - you know! Where do they hide! Har har. Ahhh. Sooo..."

And while I don't think I'd like the answer to be "Yes, I have a boyfriend and we are planning babies" just yet, I would quite like it to be "Well - got a few options but, you know - nothing serious".

Because immediately after I've answered that question, I'm overcome by the feeling that I'm not quite making the most of this single malarkey; that I'll look back and regret not being more carefree and saying "yeah, why not" more often, and only have myself to blame.

After all, everyone else seems to manage it. At a time when it seems like all my friends are going on one-off dates, re-kindling old flames, bringing boys back to their houses and kissing their co-workers, it's all I can do to sit there and wonder out loud where they find the cast of these inappropriate, exciting stories, while I have none whatsoever to tell.

It can make you feel a bit silly, a bit like there's something wrong with you. It can make you wonder if, in your darkest hours after the break-up, you drunk dialled T-Mobile customer services and demanded they block every male in your phone book from ever contacting you again, so frequent is the tumbleweed blowing through your text message inbox.

And then sometimes, you remember that the other week you walked out of the doctors surgery and a bloke followed you, asked you for the time, whether you had a boyfriend, and then whether you'd like to go for a drink. You remember that you politely declined, standing, as you were, in the rain outside the doctors clutching your futile prescription for the pill and wondering when people started picking up girls in waiting rooms. You remember that you took his number anyway purely at his insistence, "in case you change your mind".

You remember, of course, that you didn't.

And so, you stay single, dateless and the question is repeated the next weekend: so, are there any men on the scene?

No, you sigh, there are still no men on the scene after year and four months of singledom, but for now, at least, the thought is there.


sinead said...

I was at a 30th this weekend of a loooong-time friend. Not seen her parents for a few years and one of the first things her dad did was pick up my left hand and gloomily stroke my (bare) ring finger. I didn't even realise people did things like that.

Anonymous said...

Happy that you're being checked out by guys though.

Hopefully that means when you're ready you'll be just like your friends!

And Sinead I'm pretty certain that's poor form, even 'nowadays'.

P said...

I hear ya. That's all....

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh I know what you mean. I'm not sure I'm even capable of something truly casual; such a disappointment given that I was hoping to Experience New Things before my next relationship. Hopefully you (and I) find something or soeone exciting soon.

Blonde said...

Not acceptable. The only thing to do is try to discourage them from asking, by giving them the Bridget answer: No, because underneath my clothes, my body is entirely covered in scales.

And there's nothing wrong with you. I think a period of heart-proofing is needed after any relationship, and if that takes years, it takes years.

And it's still a bit odd to pick people up in a doctors' surgery. xx

London-Lass said...

I dont get asked that question anymore (thank Christ) but that's only cos it's evolved in to the many other odd questions that people think it's well within their rights to ask of someone who's quite happy to be with a chap without busting her gut over getting married or having children. And, yes, I get that people are only being `friendly' (blah, blah, blah) but there is only so many times someone can ask you `so - come on - when are the wedding bells ...?' before you want to lamp them.

PS : Nice little ego boost re. the chappie asking you out (doctors' surgery aside).

Dominic said...

I get asked something similar occasionally, too.

I used to feel some kind of obscure guilt about the fact that the answer was "No" until it finally occurred to me that actually, the honest answer was "No, haven't even been looking" and the reason for that was I just wasn't interested.

There seems to be this expectation that anyone who's single must be doing whatever they can to lose their singleton status, so deeply ingrained that we pretty much take it for granted.

Realising that, actually, I'm just not that bothered about finding someone to date at the moment, has made it a lot easier to ignore the questions and just get on with life.

If someone turns up, great. If they don't, fine.

So I'll wish you luck with your search, but only if you're sure that you want what you're looking for :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Sinead - Good God. I'd have struggled to contain my rage if someone did that to me. I don't think people ever did that, except for in the 1900s. Yeesh.

Anon - Always nice to get a confidence boost. But a lovely good looking handsome man who I actually fancy would be better.

P - :) x

unpackingbooks - That's the word, disappointment. I feel disappointed in myself. Hey ho. Must be a reason for it, eh?

Blonde - Oh, Bridget is so bang-on about these things. And yes, I think I was right to ignore mr waiting room. Bit weird.

London lass - God, that's next of course isn't it? After the "where's the man" comes "where's the shared living arrangement", then "where's the ring", "when's the wedding" and finally, "where are the children?". After that? "So, you bored with having a predictable life yet?"

Dominic - Wise words - I think after a long time of not looking, I'm now, if not looking, then casually seeking out should anything crop up that might take my fancy. Next stage, full blown man hunts. (joke) (i think)

Suzy said...

I'm constantly asked whether I have, or am planning, "a family". The last two earned a comprehensive history of my ovaries and the summary "I'm barren."

It doesn't get any easier, gal.

modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

Jo - boys are stupid and smell funny, you're better off staying away from them to be honest!

Ellie said...

Next time you could reply that a lovely married man invited you to shag but you thought the better of it.

(Not to be depressive or anything).

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

suzy - Blimey. That's what lies ahead? I don't want to grow up.

model - Thank you. Now tell the rest of western society :D

Ellie - I'm so using that the next time I get asked.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it.

My only admirer is a 3 year old boy. He's cute - but I'm not that patient.

Lapa said...

you must be very prety. jo

Jo and the Novelist said...

It never ends. When you're single, all folk want to know is if you're seeing someone. If you're in a relationship, all they want to know is when you're getting married. When you're married, when are you having babies... When does it end? I'm beginning to think that folk simply don't have any interesting conversational topics anymore.


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