How to Respond to People Who Ask Why You Are Not Married

The hand-wringing, advice-dispensing screeds aimed at people who are "still" single are, well, a bit dopey. In contemporary society, there are few ways of living more ordinary than living single. In the U.S., we are closing in on the point when married people will be in the minority.

When married people get that twisted, pitying look in their eye and ask you why you aren't married -- or, worse still, offer lists of reasons why you are not -- it is time to say, "right back at you!"

Here are some examples.

The question about not being married is ridiculous, so give an equally preposterous answer:

Clueless Question: "So why have you never been married?"
My Perverse Answer: So why have you never been a candlestick maker?

Clueless Question: "Why aren't you married?"
My Perverse Answer: Why aren't you a Christmas tree?

Sometimes the question has a kind of prurient, personal, none-of-your business tone to it. So, respond in kind:

Clueless Question: "When are you going to get married?"
My Perverse Answer: When did you last have sex?

People who ask the marriage question sometimes think that everyone is just like they are -- overcome with matrimania. Maybe they will understand this:

Clueless Question: "Will you ever marry?"
My Perverse Answer: Maybe if I get hit on the head with a rock and turn into a different person.

Among the many perpetrators of singlism is one who opened her essay with the question:

"If you're single, I'm sure you've asked yourself more than once: 'Why me?'"

(No, I haven't.)

Then she listed the reasons she thinks single people give for why they are not married.

But why should single people have to justify their status? If they do, why not married people, too?

When I set out to mock the writer's reasons, I was struck by how little work I had to do to write the married-persons equivalent of her list. Note how the various reasons she offers for why single people think they are still single -- listed below -- work just as well as reasons married people might give for why they are staying married:

"I'm not attractive/smart/rich/young/hot enough."

"I'm better at being single. I guess I'm just supposed to stay single forever." (Just substitute "married" for single.)

"I'm cursed. I'll never meet anyone."

Undaunted by the culture of cluelessness about single life, I hereby offer the last 'why are you single' list you will ever need. It is at the Living Single blog, and it includes, of course, the real #1 reason.