It’s 2020…stop asking women why they’re single!

After a disaster of a manicure at a shopping mall nail salon I was referred to a new “nail lady”.

I promise this is going somewhere!

Prior to seeing Sandra (the new “nail lady”) I was simply an anonymous set of hands that walked in off the street and inconvenienced the nail technicians by asking sheepishly if they had time for a mani. The tone of my voice when asking if they were happy to take my money and provide the service they specialised in is exactly how I imagine I might ask a family member for a kidney – “I know I’m asking a lot from you, but I would be eternally grateful if you’d consider it”.

Once seated in the salon chair I plastered a smile on my face and never once considered speaking up even though I hated the shape and colour of my nails because, let’s face it – I’d just been given a kidney. I would never in a million years consider interrupting the important conversation that was happening about the catastrophic state of my cuticles…because that would be rude!

Fast forward to yesterday and I am sitting directly across from Sandra while she tries to revive what is left of my chipped, broken and infected nails (one is literally green…I am a walking nail fungus advertisement)

For an hour we engage in adult conversation!

Sandra is a fucking boss. Here I am sitting in the front room of the mansion she’s built with her wife. She’s been working from home for three years and I’m the 97th client on her books. She is an astute business women, a beauty industry educator and a huge fundraiser for charities and social causes. She’s basically the Steve Jobs of the nail artistry world.

Then. At the 34th minute after we’ve exhausted the career and family talk, and while she’s conducting voodoo on my Shrek nail, I can see the million dollar question forming in her mouth before it escapes: “How are you still single?!”

I’m not offended – I know she means this as a compliment.

I’m a thirty-something year old woman: I’m educated, I have a career, I’m financially stable – I’m not a complete failure of an adult. In no way was I affronted by her query, but offended or not, it doesn’t make answering it any easier.

The short version is – I don’t know why I’m single? I’m certainly doing most of the right things to not be single, but at the same time I don’t lose sleep over it. I don’t see being single as being less than being attached, and I honestly don’t believe Sandra sees it that way either.

But it is a complex and loaded question, even when asked with the most well meaning intentions.

Before we ask a woman why she is single perhaps we need to consider the plethora of reasons behind her relationship status. For instance:

She may have just ended an abusive relationship.

Her partner may have passed away.

She might be focussed on her career and personal goals.

She might be questioning her identity or sexuality.

She may have religious or spiritual reasons.

She may have experienced sexual harassment or abuse in her past or present.

She might have other things going on in her life that require attention and doesn’t have the emotional energy to invest in someone else.

She might have health concerns (physical or mental) that currently take precedence over finding a partner.

She might be circumnavigating the world by boat.

She might be climbing Everest.

She might be out every weekend enjoying uncomplicated sex.

She simply might just love her life the way it is.

Three hundred years ago my shift in status from single to married was a business transaction. Someone would have offered my father ten sheep and a goat to marry me. By law I needed to marry to access my inheritance. My sole role in society was to procreate before I died of the plague.

But that was then and this is now! As a society we need to stop seeing single as less than being “taken”. I don’t need a partner to increase my stock or sense of fulfilment.

It’s 2020.

Stop asking women why they’re single! Its none of your business. I can buy my own damn goats!

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