You hear it all the time. I hear it all the time...“But I meant it as a compliment,” they say. And I’m sure they do mean it as a compliment. But is it? See what you think.
Two weeks ago I attended a bat mitzvah. After the service, we convened on the patio for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Within minutes, my date and I connected with fellow musicians and began talking shop. The guitarist homed in on me and I soon learned he had a lovely wife and two girls.
Awww. Wonderful. How nice—except he relayed this information when inviting me to “jam” with him and the boys. “Yeah, every summer the wife and kids take off to Israel. I get to be a bachelor for two months!” Wink. Wink.
Gag. Gag. But whatever. He’s harmless—just a North Shore husband feeling frisky sans ball and chain. Please. I’ve encountered plenty of them.
Until we sat down to dinner and he broke out the not-so-harmless banter.
Before we’d even finished our soup his invasive curiosity got the better of him, “So, tell me—because I just don’t get it. How is it that a woman like you isn’t married?”
Really? You’re kidding me, right? I stared at him not sure what to make of this egregiously inappropriate question.
But hold on. That’s not true. Of course I know what to make of this question. After a certain age, married = normal, single = abnormal. Simple as that. I’m not married ergo, I’m abnormal. So though I appear to be bright, fun, and engaging, there has to be something wrong with me. And Mr. Can’t-Wait-Till-My-Wife-Leaves-The-Country planned to get to the bottom of it.
But do you notice we never turn it around on them? I mean, I didn’t say to him, “So, tell me—because I just don’t get it. How is it that a man like you would marry someone who he can’t wait to get away from?” When I learned of this unique arrangement, I thought, Okay. That’s interesting, but I certainly didn’t ask him about it. He’s a total stranger. It’s none of my business.
But apparently, a single woman’s status is everyone’s business. It must be, or else we wouldn’t hear questions like this all the time.
So speaking of which, let’s get back to his question: why am I not married? Hmmm. Maybe I’m holding out for a relationship in which my husband doesn’t boast of his upcoming “bachelor months” to random strangers he meets at bat mitzvahs. Maybe I’d like to find someone who wants to spend summer vacations with me (and vice versa). Maybe I’m busy living a full life and when the time is right, I’ll meet the right guy. Is that so abnormal?