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Being the single gal in the not-so-single workplace

May 26, 2010

I like my job and enjoy doing what I do. However, I have found, from early on that I have to make a sacrifice for the long undergraduate degree at university, and the tough training on the job. My family and friends have all been wonderful in supporting me during these past years, and I feel guilty not being able to do the same when they are in need.

However, I have felt the need to move on in my life, but as Saya has commented in her previous posts, I think my future husband hasn’t been born yet. But it also could have been the fact that while I was engaged with my career, my ideal man decided he couldn’t wait and be engaged to someone else.

In the past 2-3 months, my colleagues have grown to know me more and now are asking more personal questions.

“Why aren’t you married?”

The dreaded question anyone could ask a single girl who is looking.

This has been asked by doctors, male and female, and by nurses, male and female.

I haven’t yet found a perfect answer to this question, but I try not to show that this saddens me nor do I try to be snappy in my answer.

But what can one answer?

a) I haven’t found him yet…(cue: sad violins)

b) I like being single (big lie)

c) Do you know of anyone? – this can only be asked to certain female colleagues I trust, but they come out with the funniest suggestions, like men who are NOT my type at all.

d) I am wedded to my career (reeks of visions of me being a cat lady)

Until I have my perfect answer, or even better until I actually find someone, I can smile and look mysterious.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Kaimalino permalink
    May 26, 2010 3:45 pm

    Advice columnist “Dear Abby” says when someone asks a nosy question you don’t want to answer, you should turn it around on them and say, “Why do you ask?” Spread the awkwardness around, perhaps.

    • May 27, 2010 12:04 am

      What a good tactic! It’s much better than my nod-and-smile-and-pretend-I-don’t-speak-whatever-language-you-speak. I’m pretty sure I have other successful deflection techniques, but I can’t for the life of me remember them now.

      I do find it irritating though, Hum, don’t you? People-who-aren’t-Muslims always have such an accusatory tone when they ask that – as if they have some right to ask – as if you’re failing your social duty by not being so. I met with some friends a while ago, and they asked ‘are you married yet’ in the same breath as ‘how are you?’. It is very meh. -_-

      Wait, duh, I remember: my answer is the 4 States Model.

  2. May 26, 2010 11:01 pm

    I get the same thing. It’s really annoying and I don’t know what to say most of the time. Do people try to match you up with guys??

    • May 26, 2010 11:48 pm

      Good idea, but I need to practice that one before I try it, to avoid sounding too sarky

      • May 26, 2010 11:50 pm

        Falling up: welcome to our blog. Yes, they do try and set me up with other colleagues who are not compatible at all.

  3. Levantine permalink
    May 26, 2010 11:29 pm

    At least, my dear Hummingbird, the question hasn’t been put forward by a patient.

    Yeah, it wasn’t the most elevating experience. Some male colleagues were present at the time, looking on and sniggering.

    Nothing to see here. Move along…

    • May 26, 2010 11:53 pm

      Levantine: I was subjected to all kinds of humilating situations as a student which I had hoped, now as a doctor, I would be more senior and hopefully wiser, I would not get these comments. Some men are so immature, no matter how old they are.

      • Kaimalino permalink
        May 27, 2010 12:48 am

        I can’t defend rudeness or nosiness, but I’ve been mulling this over all day and I have to point out that (most of the time, if we are to imagine the best of people) they are asking crazy questions like “Why aren’t you married?” because they honestly can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be, both because they look at marriage favorably and they look at you (all of you brilliant singles) as outrageously appealing and irresistible. It’s a horrible, tactless way to give a compliment, because it seems to point out a deficiency more than offer admiration.
        Still, I suspect they ask because they wonder if there is some sordid story of recent heartbreak they can pry into, because there MUST be a reason, not that it’s any of their business if there were, but there’s a sense of entitlement to know your colleagues at least as well as you “know” celebrities.
        If you had terrible hygiene and chewed with your mouth open and interrupted everyone with boorish jokes and were an all-around numpty, no one would ask, “So, why aren’t you married?” They’d already KNOW, and they’d just say,”Hey, there are darling kittens to adopt at the animal shelter–can I pick one out for you?”

  4. May 27, 2010 5:07 am

    kai, i couldn’t possibly agree with you more (and thanks for the giggle).

    the “why do you ask?” might inspire people to give an actual direct compliment. or just stutter along awkwardly…

  5. May 27, 2010 7:24 pm

    Thanks Kaimalino. I read your comment on my iPhone from my way home from work. Actually, I was reading it while walking to the underground train station ( or the Tube station as us Londoners call it), trying not to bump into everyone on the pavement.

    It really cheered me up! And made me see another aspect of the situation, instead of thinking that I’m viewed as inferior and flawed.

    Wow, I didn’t realise my 5 minute blog would provoke such a cascade of responses!

  6. May 27, 2010 10:59 pm

    Also, I remembered this quote from the Importance of Being Earnest, which amuses me endlessly, of Gwendolen to Jack:

    ‘If you are not too long, I will wait for you all my life!’

    Sounds like an excellent title for a future post XD

    • May 27, 2010 11:39 pm

      Ooooh! I love that play “The Importance of being Earnest”. Such witty quotes! Hehe.
      Lady Gwendolen’s mother had all the best lines.

      • May 28, 2010 9:28 am

        You mean like this?


      • May 29, 2010 11:48 am

        I was also thinking of these:

        “Mr Worthing, please rise from semi-recumbent position. It is most indecorous”

        “To lose one parent is unfortunate, but to lose two looks like carelessness”

        The below video would be the-most-cruciating-prospective-husband-interview-by-the-in-laws ever! (starts at 0.57)

      • May 30, 2010 9:54 pm


        Sorry. I really hate that stupid version – we saw it in Egypt. Yuck. Wtfish was that piano about?

        You must watch the 1952 one. Best thing ever.

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