The Most Cringe-Worthy Question a Woman Can Hear

27 03 2013

I’m pretty sure every woman has been through this experience at some point — you meet a guy, think he’s cool and cute enough to want to get to know, and suddenly in the middle of the conversation, he hits you with: So tell me, why are you single?

Sigh. Cringe city.

Not because there’s anything wrong with me being single, but because the way that the question is posed assumes something is wrong because I’m single. It’s like the guy wants me to turn to him and say, “Well honestly, there’s something I should tell you –> I have a horn that grows out of my butt. It’s the only reason I haven’t been able to keep a man thus far, you know.”

I mean, really, what kind of answer are men expecting here? Also I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that the woman could say that would actually satisfy the question, mostly because I don’t think it’s the actual question men want to ask (but that’s for another discussion).

Some of my well-intentioned guy friends have suggested that the question is actually meant as a compliment. That the guy is basically saying, I see this pretty girl who’s hella cool, and I’m wondering why no guy has scooped her up yet. But there’s so much wrongness in that “compliment,” it’s laughable.

First, it assumes I’ve wanted to be “scooped up” recently. Second, it assumes that the guys I’ve met who have wanted to “scoop me up” have been guys I was actually interested in. And third, and most importantly, it still assumes there just has to be something wrong with me he’s not seeing yet! I mean, why else would I be single right? It’s not as if women actually enjoy dating and being single. Noooooooooo, every. single. woman. wants to get married tomorrow! Scratch tomorrow, make that yesterday! Last month!

Sigh.

The reality is that at different times there have been a variety of different reasons why I was single. There were times when I’d just come out of a relationship or just gone back into the dating pool after grieving over a relationship. There were times when I was just doing me, enjoying dating multiple guys and having a grand ol’ fabulous single gal life. And there were times when I just hadn’t met the man I wanted to be in a relationship with. But at none of those times was something wrong. And I’m sure that most women would probably be able to offer up plenty of those same reasons if they weren’t so insulted by the question!

I actually, honestly, think it’s one of those guy/girl misinterpretation things. I don’t think a guy is really trying to figure out what’s wrong with me when he asks the question, but it just never sits right with me. And neither do its cousin variations, like “damn, how come aint nobody wifed you yet!” Or “why don’t you have guys lined up waiting for you?”

These always, ALWAYS get the eye roll. It may be an internal eye roll, but it’s an eye roll nonetheless. So can we make a pact? Can we come up with a better way to ask whatever it is you guys want to know when you’re asking this question? Or better yet, can you ask something a little more relevant, like “What kind of music do you like,” or “What’s the last play you saw,” “Who’s your favorite sports team,” “Biggie or Pac?”…. cuz really, anything, ANYTHING would be better. And maybe those questions wouldn’t make me want to look the guy in his face and say “Fool, aren’t you single too? Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong with you?!”

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13 responses

27 03 2013
Erika

You must have been all up and in my head when my friend shared the Yahoo! Shine article about what not to say to single people. “Why aren’t you married” was the number 1 thing NOT to say, lol. I find it completely obnoxious when men say it to me and now my standard response is “because I’m crazy. Now, what’s wrong with you?”

Although completely snarktastic in nature, that response tends to do two things: 1) scares off the guys I wouldn’t want to be with anyway and 2) let’s me know if a guy can handle and deal with my sarcastic/snarky nature. The guys I vibe with tend to laugh at the brassy comment and come back with a retort of their own (my fave answer: “girls usually don’t consider meetings with my PO a double date” – he wasn’t really on parole . . . I don’t think!). The others tend to think I’m serious and it tells me right there that it’ll never work between us, lol.

But I agree – asking me ANYTHING would be better than this question. And there are TONS of inappropriate things to ask which would STILL be better than “why are you single?”

27 03 2013
dbaham

Hahaha, I love your response. I mean, it’s just such a stupid question to ask someone, so it deserves an equally stupid/snarky response lol. The funny thing is that I feel like it’s different from the “Here’s why you’re not married” comments we get from family and friends (which you know I did a post before), but it’s possibly even more annoying to me because the fact that you’re on a date with me means (or I hope it means lol) that your ass is single too! So the implication that something is wrong with me, but not you, is troublesome at best and highly insulting and annoying at worst.

And like you said, there are tons more inappropriate questions that will tell you more about me than that one… like: What’s your drunk personality? Dark or light liquor or both? Favorite position? Although I’m not necessarily condoning those on a first date – ANYTHING is better than “Why are you (still) single?”

27 03 2013
Erika

Dark or light?! Consider me #dead! (Light, particularly gin & vodka, in case any of you single gentlemen are wondering.)

You should totally do a post on the appropriate time to ask inappropriate questions, lol. For example, I had just given my number to a guy who texted me (textual relationships = another post for another day) the same day. His line of questioning went like this:
1. How old are you?
2. What kind of work do you do?
3. Are you a freak?

I’m sure he was saving “why are you single” for the first date we never had.

27 03 2013
dbaham

You know I prefer a little Hen myself lolol… but see?? Much more interesting question. No? lol

And WOW! That might definitely have to be an upcoming post, because, now that you mention it – I guess there should be some kind of guide lol

27 03 2013
Gene Demby (G.D.) (@GeeDee215)

So I think the idea is — you’re awesome, someone should have scooped you. It’s not, there must be something wrong with you, it’s more like, there’s something wrong with a world in which someone as awesome as you isn’t already scooped/cuffed/boo’ed up.

And sometimes people *do* have reasons — I was working on my dissertation, I took some time off from dating, I just got out of something, I’m new to this town…

I could just be being defensive because I’ve said this and am wallowing in ex post facto mortification.

27 03 2013
dbaham

See? And this is where I think the guy/girl miscommunication comes into play. Because, honestly – your explanation is MUCH better than the actual question. If a guy said that to me, I wouldn’t be offended at all. I’d be flattered. I might think he was corny, but if he was cute, then corny is good! So really, it might be better just to say that… or even something like, “I pity the fools who let someone as awesome as you walk out of their lives.” Okay, maybe not that… but you get what I mean lol

Logically, I think most people get there’s no offense intended, but it just doesn’t come off right. At least not in my experience. And as for the reasons that may come from the question – I think those things would most likely come out in natural conversation anyway.

LOL no need to wallow, though. I’ve said stuff that’s probably just as cringe-worthy to men before, but now you know how the message could potentially be received – even if it wasn’t the intent. The more you know and all that jazz…

27 03 2013
Erika

LOL – there should most definitely be a guide. Like asking if someone is a freak is definitely not appropriate for the getting to know you texts. I’m not sure if it’s ever appropriate, lol (if you have to ask you’ll never know!).

Gene – I think you should totally get a pass for saying that because you used “ex post facto mortification” in a sentence. But don’t let it happen again 😉

27 03 2013
dbaham

Yea, that takes some cajones to ask someone before you even know their middle name lol… and that’s true – you probably just shouldn’t have to ask. Again, something that you would assume you would just learn (if provided the chance hehe). But I see that a guide is definitely necessary. Good thing I’m doing my April content calendar this weekend 😉

27 03 2013
Erika

WOOT!

27 03 2013
Erika

Gene – she’s definitely said some cringe-worthy things. I keep a running list!

27 03 2013
dbaham

Hey, hey. You can’t be making lists and things over here!!! LOL

27 03 2013
Erika

It’ll make for a really funny book one day! I figure you might need them 🙂

27 03 2013
dbaham

Sadly, you know I’m a sucker for the “it’ll make for a really funny book one day” excuse. SMDH lololol

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