Incurably Curious

Sorry, I’m Too Busy & Awesome to Join the Pity Parade

MarriageI know I’m late to the party here because Bridget Jones was bitching about it years and years ago, but why in the world do people – perfectly normal, polite people; the kind who would be mortified to be caught not using a coaster – think it’s acceptable to grill others on their personal lives?

Predictably, my mother is the worst culprit. “So, any young lads on the scene?” she’ll ask every time I see her, completely oblivious to the fact that nowadays a ‘lad’ is any bloke whose idea of a brilliant night involves twelve cans of Fosters, a blow job and a kebab, in that order. 
“Nothing to get excited about,” I always say enigmatically, which could be any value between zero and whatever number covers throwing your own orgies every third Thursday of the month. My mother – like all mothers – is chronically nosy, and also has no concept whatsoever of playing it cool. I once made the mistake of telling her about about a guy I went out with for a couple of months just after the third date.
“He seems really nice, we’re going out again on Saturday.”
“Ooh, how lovely! Does he have his own house?”
“Er, yeah, I think so. In Fulham.”
“Fulham! He sounds perfect.”
She called me a month later when the guy was well out of the picture.
“And how is that nice young man of yours?”
“Who?”
“The one in Fulham! Dad says it’s a very expensive area.”
“Oh yeah. No, he’s long gone.”
“Oh. But he seemed so nice. And I’ve told everyone about him!”

WHAT THE FUCK MOTHER. No doubt in her prime she was one of those terrifying bunny-boiler types who give all women a bad name by acting like complete a head case. I might ask my dad, actually. So you see, she deserves not to be told anything. This is after all the woman who once told me that ‘dates are sort of like interviews, but for a husband’. (I’m not even joking. Every time I tell her about a new hobby or something interesting I’ve done, she says, “ooh! That’ll be something to talk about on your next date!”)

To be fair to her, by my age she was an established housewife with a baby to look after – admittedly an monstrously ugly, accidental baby (me), but at twenty-four she was pretty much playing the end game, whereas most of my friends and I are still arguing over who gets to be Professor Plum and looking for the spare dice. I can see why, to our parents and grandparents, we younger people look like we’re leaving it a bit late. Especially girls, for whom university and careers have become the norm only recently. And in fairness I know my parents do want me to prioritise my career, no matter how many times my mother tells me my dad is looking forward to having grandchildren. And let’s be honest, they’d have been the first to complain if I’d come home aged seventeen with a wombful of little arms and legs. That would have really sucked; I don’t have the bollocks to pull a Virgin Mary and lie through my teeth for the rest of my life in the face of scientific evidence just to avoid getting called a slag.

But here’s the thing: it’s not just my mother and other assorted female relatives who are so interested in my rock-toting, sprog-popping prospects. It is fucking EVERYONE. Friends, acquaintances, workmates. It drives me mental. Recently I went for dinner at an old school friend’s:
“How’s your love life?” he asked before I’d even had time to put the wine in the fridge.
“You know, cold and barren,” I replied cheerfully. “And how are you?”
“Don’t worry,” he said with a reassuring pat on my hand. “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon.”

See, I wasn’t worried. Should I be worried!? The following week:

“Where are you going?” asked Kelly, who I sit next to at work, when I emerged from the work bogs at 6:15pm in nice shoes and lipstick (as opposed to the scabby gym shorts and Batman T-shirt I usually cycle home in).
“Out for dinner,” I told her.
“Ooh, is it a date?”
“Afraid not, not just a friend.”
“Oh. Bummer. Everyone in the office really wants you to get a boyfriend.”

And that’s how I found out that my colleagues hold surprise pity parties for me around the water-cooler when I’m not around. In an office of twenty, I am now the only single person left, which means that any time I leave the office looking like a good dicking might be imminent, everyone gets ludicrously overexcited.
“ARE YOU GOING ON A DATE!?” they bawl, as I sprint out the door in an effort to contain the madness and prevent anyone drowning in their own rabid froth. And the next morning is usually worse.
“How was your date?”
“It wasn’t a date.”
“…Are you hungover? You look hungover.” (I’m not hungover.) “Er, aren’t they the same clothes as yesterday!? Haven’t you been home?”
“I have been home,” I say. “I was wearing a DRESS yesterday. These are jeans.”
“Oh. Never mind then. How was your date?”
“It wasn’t a date.”
And so on. And you can’t stop them, because the more you deny it the more excited they become. Telling people you don’t mind being single is a lot like being a fat girl and telling everyone you don’t mind being fat. Nobody believes you. “Good for you!” they say encouragingly, as though you’re terribly brave for overcoming this most dreadful of fates (i.e. unloveableness/obesity).

Well, it’s bollocks. While nobody would be rude enough to tell a chubby lass to her face that she’d look a whole lot better without the extra tyres and party-size double chin, even complete strangers aren’t shy of commiserating people for their tragic lack of boyfriend. I say boyfriend; it does seem to be straight women and gay men who get the most grief about their lamentably loveless lives, although I’m sure it happens to everyone sometimes. Fortunately I live with two (single) blokes, one gay and one straight, neither of whom could give less of a shit what other people think of their marital status.
“Jesus Christ,” I said one night, after another ex-schoolmate of mine announced their engagement on Facebook. “What’s going on? Everyone is suddenly getting married and we’re all still on square one.”
“Pfft, nothing wrong with square one,” said my flatmate. “It’s the fun square. The party square, darling!”

He is not wrong.

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14 comments on “Sorry, I’m Too Busy & Awesome to Join the Pity Parade

  1. Sean Smithson
    September 23, 2013

    Your flatmate is a wise man…

  2. catchingzees
    September 23, 2013

    This made me laugh so hard. Great writing!

  3. Pingback: Friday Links 9/27 | Sherbet and Sparkles

  4. kissingfroggz
    October 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on Kissing Frogs and commented:
    As someone who is also at square one, I just love this. I’ve told some of my girlfriends before that I’m destined to be their designated single friend. But thinking of it as being on the fun square… the party square, makes it much more bearable!

    • CuriousEmily
      December 11, 2013

      Thanks for the reblog, I’m glad it resonated with you! :) To be fair I do remember getting ‘the itch’ when I was in relationships, so I guess it’s true that the grass is always greener.

  5. Aussa Lorens
    October 17, 2013

    Brilliant. My grandmother has been asking me if I am “going steady” with anyone for the last 12 years, multiple times per day I am with her so I feel your pain. Enjoy that party square as long as you can before you’re the one inspiring groans with your facebook nuptials.

    • CuriousEmily
      October 17, 2013

      Good lord. I’m always tempted to tell my mother that I’m currently shagging three men, two women and a horse and we all have lovely sexy parties together.

  6. gimpet
    February 22, 2014

    I can relate on a different level. I have been stripped naked by well meaning persons and half the medical community of Kansas City due to breast cancer. Everyone wants to see what a mastectomy looks like and for sure they all wanted to know what a boob made my my abdomen looked like! I let them, after all I figured I would want to know too, and I am a medical educator. But still, at times I just wanted to crawl back in my momma womb and hide… :)

    • CuriousEmily
      February 22, 2014

      That is absolutely awful – I can’t believe people would be so brazenly rude about something so personal! Props for being cool about it though; I guess I would be interested too, but I would never ask anyone other than a close friend because I imagine that mastectomies can be quite traumatic and I’d hate to upset anyone. (I also hope this mastectomy means you’re clear of your cancer – well done for beating it.)

      • gimpet
        February 22, 2014

        At first I was uncomfortable but people were very kind and I know it was just because they wanted to understand. As 1 in 9 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime I figured they would know someone at some point going through it. And as a nurse, it was interesting to be on the ‘other foot’ so to speak. After all I certainly ask enough people to disrobe for ME. LOL The only time I was irritated was when people would call my mom and ask about me. Call ME not my mother. That slaps of nosiness and I hate that. I have a mom just like yours, tells it all to anyone! Mom’s should keep ones’ secrets, not blab them to the world.

  7. Zoe Sharp
    July 6, 2014

    Haha I love this! When I was about 19 my dad asked me if I was gay because I hadn’t mentioned a boyfriend in a while… I appreciate that he wanted me to know he would be supportive but, um, I was actually just being a 19 year old.

    • CuriousEmily
      July 7, 2014

      Oh my goodness, how awful! My dad would sooner be shot in the face than ask those sorts of questions, but my mother is a savage for it. *sigh* Parents!

  8. Naomi
    August 24, 2014

    Just discovered your blog and I want to be your BFF! Very funny and to the point. Currently ‘dating’ after being single for nearly 2 years and literally the only reason I am doing it is because my friends are all moving abroad and so I need something to do!! But it is very cringeworthy and I am pretty sure I am going to end up the crazy cat lady (or just the cat lady, I do love cats and don’t consider myself too crazy). (That reminds me, in the past 2 months 3 people have posted cat lady memes on my facebook wall as I’m the only single one left – how charming)

    • CuriousEmily
      August 27, 2014

      Hey Naomi! I also get the cringe factor when dating – for someone so unembarrassable I am so easily cringed out! From your comment you’re clearly cool with the idea of being on your own, which I sincerely think is the best way to be. All this stuff about being able to “love yourself” before you can love somebody else is actually completely true (although it sounds like BS and you will look like a top loser if you announce it at a dinner party). The main thing is that if somebody right comes along, fantastic, and if not, it’s no big deal. Best of luck. :) x

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2013 by in Big Thoughts, Dating & Sex, Lifestyle, Things That Make Me Furious and tagged , , , , , , .

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