Hi! Boy, has it been a while since I’ve mustered up a blog post. While I was away, Caz and I went to Thailand, I applied (and got in) to grad school, ran a 10k, celebrated my Nana’s birthday and did I’m sure countless other things that sucked up my time that I’ve already forgotten about.
One of those things that I did not forget about was the single episode of Netflix’s Dating Around I watched. In it, one of my greatest dating pet peeves occurred and halted any hope of me watching any more episodes.
In the show, a guy goes on five dates with five different women. They’re all interspersed with each other, and then at the end he picks his favorite girl to go back out with for round two.
On both sides of the table, cringy things were said — is that just dating shows in general and I’m out of touch? — but he said one thing that is a TRIGGER for me.
To one of the girls, the man said, “You’re so pretty! Why are you single?’
And just like that, my blood was hot and I was seeing red. I absolutely hate this line. I wish I kept a tally of every conversation I ended when this line was uttered to me.
You’d think since I haven’t had a first date or cringy lets-see-if-we-should-date text stream in almost a year, I wouldn’t have such a powerful emotional reaction to this line, but alas. Here we are. Very bothered still.
At this moment, you’re either nodding subtly at your screen, understanding why this sentiment gets so under my skin, or you’re thinking chill out lady, he’s just trying to be nice.
Here’s why I don’t like the line, “You’re so [INSERT COMPLIMENT], why are you single?”
There’s no good answer. If I was previously in a horrible relationship and was single for a while to recover, you’re opening the can of worms way too early in the conversation. If I say, “I’m just picky,” then it seems like having standards is a problem OR that I’m breaking up with people for dumb petty reasons. If I say, “I’m just getting out of a relationship,” it implies that I’m possibly looking for something less serious or hung up on the last relationship. Or if I say, “I’m single because dumb guys like you ask why I’m single all the time,” I seem aggressive.
I’ve snapped before and responded with something along the lines of, “Thank you for the compliment, but what kind of answer would you find appropriate to that question.” And I’ve never gotten a good answer back. It’s always something like, “there’s no right answer,” or “I don’t know, the truth??”
When honestly, I was single for a long time because of so many reasons and none at all. I was single because I dated a lot of guys that would make horrible partners. I was single because at that time, I would have been a horrible partner. I was single because I was independent. I was single because I didn’t make time for dating. I was single because I was dating a lot and figuring out what I needed in a relationship. I was single because I actually liked being single.
But on a deeper level, I’m also annoyed that the statement also makes it seem like being single is this thing that you need to explain. It’s a problem that you need to solve. Being single shouldn’t be a “but” to a compliment, like there’s so many good things about you, BUT clearly there’s something wrong with you.
If you’d truly like to compliment a girl, just cut out the last part of the compliment. And for a bonus, try a bit harder than “pretty” or “cute” or “beautiful.” At least for me, I don’t particularly prioritize how I look, so complimenting a surface-level trait like that doesn’t win many (if any) points. Maybe try something more creative, like, “You’re so impressive with how you’ve been able to XYZ.” Or “Your sense of humor makes me smile constantly.”
But just stop asking girls why they’re single as a way to knock back a compliment you’ve just delivered.