And, You're Not Married Yet?As a twenty-six year old single, black female I can safely say that one of the questions I am most irritated by is are you married? How does one approach answering this question?

It seems that the focal point for older acquaintances and family members of mine is to demean my existence with the aforementioned phrase. What, the fact that I am an intellectual human being who received a higher education, works for a great company, has published a book of poetry, and adores her job isn’t good enough? There are many ways I can answer this question, but I usually opt for the safest and most suitable way out by informing the person with an ever-so-keen smirk gracing my face, “No, I am not.” The look I am given is as if I have been diagnosed with the bubonic plague and they somehow wish to erase themselves from my personal space. Nothing has to follow my rebuttal. I only retort further if other questions are asked, which they usually are.

Most people (who I know personally) cannot settle for that one question. It is oftentimes followed by, “Well, are you at least seeing someone?” For the last two years and two months the answer to this question has been, “No, I am not.” I find it best to keep things simple and concise in these situations. I do not want to be reminded of my “marital (or lack thereof)” status each time I participate in a meet and greet with various friends and family members.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren exclaims in his article “What is the Right Age to Get Married,” “If you want to avoid becoming a divorce statistic or living for years in an unhappy marriage take seriously the need to wait until you have personally developed your identity and life goals. If you do, your selection of a mate will be based on the “totally grown up you” and prove to be as good twenty or thirty years from now as it is today.” I profess; marriage is definitely in my future plans, but not right now. I am focused on who I am, who I want to become and what I must do to obtain this. I do not want to be another woman who settles for less for the sake of having “married” as a part of her description. Settling will get me nowhere, and I would go even further to say the same for any female or male dealing with this issue as well. There is time to unite as one should you find your soul-mate (women) or “rib (men)”. Don’t let others dictate when that time should be.

If you have experienced answering or dodging these same questions, know that you do not stand alone. There are both women and men who have been victims of the Are you married or Well, are you at least seeing someone conversation starters. These phrases or the traditional reminiscence behind them will not go away. As long as there is life and breath in the body of the people who make up your circle, these questions will remain constant predators. And, you my dear friend will be their prey.

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