"Why don't you have a boyfriend?" This question was recently posed to me out of the blue by a well meaning young woman that I work with. I get asked this question frequently, and I never know what people expect me to say. It's a rather impertinent question, simultaneously implying that there is something wrong with me because I'm single and that there is something that I am aware of that causes me to be single. One day I'd like to answer "I'm part of a secret society of library nuns who've taken a vow of spinsterhood in order to dedicate their lives to showing people how to use an online catalog and the photocopier." However, as she seemed genuinely perplexed by my singleton status (which I took in a complimentary manner) I controlled my snark and told her I didn't know.
Usually when this query is put forth to others and you force them to provide more of an answer than "you got me," they inevitably end up saying that I'm too fill in the blank. Over the years I've pretty much heard it all. Too smart (is that really a bad thing?), too bitchy (in my defense that was in high school), too independent, too clingy (those last two were from the same guy, clearly he was "too stupid"), too emotional, too attached to my family, too quiet (ha!), too serious, too classy (is there really such a thing?), too normal, too weird (I can't be both!), too pretty (oh come on!), too intimidating (because of being too smart etc.), too accomplished, too distrustful, too intense (I get that one a lot), too demanding (because I expect to be treated with respect), too uptight, and too picky, just to name the most often and/or recently cited.
Never mind the fact that I've seen girls who were prettier, smarter, weirder, meaner, more accomplished, and way more high maintenance than I am get married, the majority of these characteristics aren't things I can really do anything about. The exception being "too picky." This comment was supplied by a friend who told me that clearly my standards were too high. Sour grapes from another single woman? Hardly. This statement was issued by a happily married man. I refuse to believe that my standards are too high because I know plenty of women who fit them, so it is ridiculous to believe that there aren't any single men who fit them.
But that's not really the point of this. The point is, people clearly see in me what they want to see, as opposed to seeing me. And there's not a hell of a whole lot that I can do about that. In reality, I'm a little bit of all of those things. (Although too pretty? Are you serious? Would you like a trowel for that load of crap you are spreading? I mean, I don't frighten cattle or anything, but "too pretty" are words used to describe the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, not librarians with pixie haircuts. But I digress.)