April 1, 2010

Phrases We'd Like To Stab In The Face: "So, Why Are You Still Single?"

I'm not a violent person, but when a guy asks me this, I want to cause him severe bodily harm. It's like how job interviewers ask you, "What's your worst quality?" This is a lousy question! I'm trying to put my best foot forward here. I'm wearing mascara. I turned my cell phone off. I shaved my legs. Enough with the interrogation, Sipowicz.

What could I possibly say in response to this?

"I'm single because I shanked the last guy who asked me this question."
"I'm single because I wanted to subject myself to lame questions that make me defensive before I've even finished my first drink."
"I'm single because I haven't met any guys who haven't asked me this fucktarded question that have lived to tell about it."
Guys, we love you, but PLEASE do not ask a girl this. It puts us on the spot. Ask about the time we went to Italy. Ask about what it was like when we went to Space Camp. Seriously, ask us ANYTHING except about why we're still single. Otherwise, we will stab you...with our eyes.


Anonymous said...

i think it's all about the phrasing. if, after a drink, we're really hitting it off and THEN he asks me "how are you still single?" then i'm super stoked. feel like a gem that just hasn't been recognized yet. the last time someone asked me THAT question i kept dating him. and i'm still dating him.

Anonymous said...

So true. I always get this question and my response is to ask it back. Yeah, men don't like that too much. Idiots.

Helen said...


Right around the 1:30 mark. This was all I could think when I saw this post.

Lora said...

yep its all in the phrasing/tone. "HOW on earth are you still single!!??" is totally different than "Why are you still single?" The latter phrase deserves a stab.

jeff said...

It's probably worth noting that a lot of girls also ask that question. I think I started hearing it around 26 or so and its frequency has increased exponentially since then.

jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric E said...

I've never been asked that question, and I can only suspect it's because the answer seems obvious. So, to me, the question seems sensible and complimentary. It does nothing more than express innocent curiosity about how such an attractive person can still be available. How is that a capital offense?

Anna said...

Just to be clear, this isn't an exclamation like, "I can't BELIEVE my luck that you are still single! How can this be? I can't believe it! I am so LUCKY that you are available!"

This is when a guy asks in a regular tone of voice why I am not in a relationship. Like, he's trying to get the dirt or something. Yeah, that's annoying.

Amanda said...

Seriously. Seriously. WHY do people ask this? You might as well just say, "Okay, so what's wrong with you?"

I think the correct response is "Wow. Well now I know why you are."

For the record, I've never asked a guy this question, because being single is not actually a personality flaw or anything.

Eric E said...

It's my understanding that women are attracted to men who are currently in a relationship or have been recently. This biographical information establishes the man as worthy of female attention generally and of her attention specifically. An attractive man who is single is an anomaly for which there is either a simple explanation or a major problem. So, why not ask?

Similarly, shouldn't a man wonder why an attractive woman is strangely available?

It seems like a set of standards is being applied to the question that were unintended by the questioner. For example, if you've always believed that a working professional should earn their first million by 30 years of age, then being asked why, at the age of 31, you still have only $900,000 in your bank account might be irritating. However, the question was likely asked independently of your standards.

Not to be too provocative, but perhaps the hidden dirt is that you're still single at a point in your life when you always thought you wouldn't be. In the meantime, the guy who asked the question simply wants to be reassured that the gorgeous single woman sitting across from him isn't some sort of bizarre Venus flytrap in high heels.

Anonymous said...

But what person is actually going to reveal that they are a bizarre Venus flytrap in heels? If they're aware of said faults, they're sure as hell not going to confess to them; if they're not, well then, they're probably not going to have an answer to them.

This is lazy dating and lazy conversation-making. Like the old friend whose first or second question to you is, "So, who are you dating?" or the aunt at Thanksgiving who asks you when you're going to settle down already, this assumes that the most interesting and defining points of a person are encapsulated in his/her love life. Dull, dull, dull!

Eric E said...

People reveal information about themselves in ways that go beyond their literal answer to a single question. Moreover, it was never established that "still single" is a fault. An actual Venus flytrap would not consider fly consumption a fault, but a fly might like to know about the plant's fly-consumption habits before landing on it. An actual face-to-face conversation with another person involves so much information gathering that it shouldn't surprise you when someone pops a rote question. Do you spit acid when someone robotically asks, "How are you, today?" I mean, come on...Welcome to society!

Anna said...

Well, Eric, how would you answer the question, assuming you are single?

I'm telling you, it's a weird question. It's not about society judging me about single, it's about this one person putting me on the spot expecting some kind of dirt spill.

I would never ask a man, "so, what's wrong with you that you haven't found someone yet?" Uhhhhhhh.

Eric E said...

If I were asked why I'm still single, I would respond with a deliberate distortion of the obvious truth. I would explain that the State of Pennsylvania has prohibited people like me from creating single-paramour monopolies to ensure the broadest possible distribution of our outstandingness in a fair and equitable manner. By this point, the person who asked the question has long since stopped listening, and I've inadvertently maintained my single status. Ta-da!

I think the core of the issue is the rephrasing of the question to "So, what's wrong with you?" Like many people, I'm often guilty of hearing something that wasn't said. But I'm also usually the person who's misheard in the first place. I suspect that people generally attribute evil intent to my most pedestrian actions.

Although I'm still single and embarrassed by my own horrid dating skills (which is putting it rather charitably), I try to maintain a even keel in social situations. Besides, I'm more of the opinion that a total lack of interest in one's dating status is more passive aggressive than being asked a softball question like "Are you color-blind, 'cause I've heard men sometimes are?"

I admit that people are sometimes digging for dirt. But sometimes--probably most times--people are just making conversation. Sometimes we're just preprogrammed to be offended by the most innocuous comments. For example, I loath being called "Red." Why should a reference to my hair color be such a problem? And yet, it is. La di dah.

ryder said...

This is definitely a top no-no question-right up there with "When are you due?" or "How far along are you?". Yes, I have been asked that twice, while working behind a bar two separate times by total strangers! Who does that?!

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