When discussing possible blog ideas this weekend with my friends one of them brought up a really good topic. Her question was why, oh why, do people you run into that you haven't seen for awhile feel the need, within the first few moments of conversation, to ask if you're married. Not if you have a career, or a home, or are happy or healthy, but if you're married.
We decided that this questions is asked for 1 of about 3 reasons:
#1-The people are generally curious or, more likely, just searching for conversation. To those who fall into this category-you are pardoned.
#2-They are the type of person that considers this-husband and family-the ultimate goal in life. This type is partially pardoned as their curiosity stems from a mindset, rather than malice. I would suggest kindly they move their mindset into this century.
#2-They are asking because they already know the answer and hope to make you feel like crap because as they stand there smugly with their baby on their hip waiting for their husband to bring the car around they want to draw even more attention to the fact that they have won. Mazel tov. No pardon for you.
Now as any single girl out there knows, we don't really need a reminder that we are single. We know. Chances are we would prefer not to be so people pointing it out, for whatever reason, doesn't really help matters.
Which brought up the next point in our conversation. Why, oh why, when someone asks this question and our answer is no do we immediately feel like failures??
Because that feeling of failure is absurd. I have never been the type of person who feels like a woman needs a man to complete herself. I am proud of the fact that I am independent, that I'd rather wait for the right man than to settle just so I can say I have one. But when someone asks that question and I say no, I feel like I have failed. Like I'm not doing what I should be or accomplishing anything. It gave me some comfort to know my friends felt the same. Because looking at us and thinking about our lives made that feeling of failure even more ridiculous. There we sat, a nurse and three teachers. 4 Bachelor's degrees, 3 Masters, a rank one and a partially completed nurse practitioner degree between us. Home owners, car owners, bill payers, healthy, loved by family and friends. And feeling like failures.
I think that feeling of failure makes me madder than the people asking that question. Mad at myself for feeling that way. Mad at society for making me feel that way. Mad at the person who asked that question, 1 in 3 times, totally innocently that made me feel like a 28 year old failure. All it makes me want to do is scream "I'm freaking trying here people!!!"
I read an article recently about etiquette for the technological age. Do's and do not's of texting, tweeting, Facebooking etc. There were some good points but the one thing that stuck with me the most was the idea of being sensitive to others when you post things. Like don't post 3,000 sonogram pics because maybe one of your FB friends is having trouble conceiving. Or don't wax on for a page about your fabulous spouse and children, when someone else may have lost one, or be going through a divorce or whatever. So I think I would give similar advice to all those matrimonial questioners out there. Before you ask that question maybe take a look at our ring finger. Chances are if it's empty, we aren't married! Maybe start with where we're living, our job etc. If we are married that will come up in the subsequent conversation. No, the world at large is not responsible for handling my feelings with kid gloves, but wouldn't it be nice if we were all a little more socially sensitive? Something to think about.