Answer Me This
Why do so many men think it's OK to ask a woman on a first date "Why aren't you married yet?"
Please note, I'm not asking here about men who make the complimentary declaration "You are so terrific, I don't understand why you aren't married yet," which clearly should lead to the simple reply of "Thank you" and isn't meant to be any sort of deep "grilling" measure. It's just nice.
But I'm astounded by the sheer percentage of men who, on a first date, expect me to give a serious answer to the question of why I'm still available.
On a third, fifth, tenth date, I can see how a reflective answer would shed light on my personality and history and provide insightful information about my level of self-awareness.
But on a first date, I have three choices. I can dismiss the question airily with "Oh, I'm just unlucky, I guess," which makes me seem not self-aware, or I can give a serious answer, in which case I'm being forced on a first date to reflect out loud on my past mistakes and current shortcomings -- mistakes and shortcomings, I should emphasize, that are no different or worse than any of the many mistakes and shortcomings of married people-- which makes me feel like I'm being given the third degree.
If I dismiss the question entirely -- and I'm not really suave enough to do so in a way that is charming -- it looks like I'm hiding a terrible secret or that I'm bitter.
Being an earnest person who doesn't know how to wiggle her way out of awkward questions (oh, how I wish I'd gone to a southern charm school!) I usually answer honestly, trying to maintain a balance between truth and a desire to keep some privacy on a first date, and then, in a small act of revenge, turn the question back to my date.
Almost invariably they say "Oh, I'm just unlucky" or "I just haven't found the right person," which leads me to believe that they are neither self-reflective NOR aware of what are appropriate questions for a first date.
Of course, there is the man who answered "Well, I'm a yeller and a screamer."