Oh, you’re single? I didn’t know… I’m so sorry!

I have a terminal illness. Well, almost. Being single isn’t deadly and it can be cured by the kiss of Prince Charming, but from the way some people act you’d think I had a week left.

They’re so annoyingly sensitive!

I hate sensitive people. It’s so insensitive to be sensitive to someone. Who wants too feel that they’re a nebach case who needs to be treated sensitively? I’m a well-adjusted human being. I can handle knowing that you are married and I’m not.

I’m talking about those married friends. We’re all sitting around yapping, and naturally they start talking about how to feed husbands or change diapers. Sometimes I can contribute anyway—I’ve got comments and suggestions for the former and nephews to compete with the latter—and sometimes I just listen because it’s interesting. Really.

And everything is all cozy and friendly until someone notices me looking pensive and says, “Oh! Let’s talk about something else.”

Everyone freezes and looks my way. They get that round-eyed and parted-lips “Oh…”-look and then the eyebrows-together “How could we be so awful?”-look. Someone says, “Sorry.” And incredibly, she means it.

“For what?” I ask.

“Well, you know, for talking about…” she hesitates to say the word married, lest it remind me of what I’m missing and cause me to burst into tears.

“Married people stuff?” I save her the trouble.

“Yeah,” she laughs. “You get so wrapped up in housekeeping you kind of forget the rest of the world, you know?”

“There is no rest of the world for you,” I say. “So go and talk about it. I’m perfectly capable of changing the subject if I want to.”

Doubtful looks all around. Now I’m insulted.

“What? Do you guys seriously think I’d let you talk about something that bores me?”

They grin at how ridiculous an idea that is, the tension breaks, and we move on.


My Shidduch-ville correspondent is a lonely young lady. At the ancient age of 21, she’s one of the last single girls her age left in Shidduch-ville. Already, the latest batch of post-seminary maidles are suddenly appearing in diamond bracelets and rings like someone has done a Cinderella job on them. And still, my Shidduch-ville correspondent has only her silver necklace and gold earrings from her bas mitzvah and graduation.

So every time she hears that another young schnook is getting married, she bursts into tears, runs to her room, and sobs uncontrollably into her pillow.

OK, she doesn’t. Instead, it tears a hole in her heart. She begins to indulge in self-pity, to doubt her character, to worry for her future… she puts on a brave face, but inside she’s a mess.

OK, not that either. Actually, she’s kind of happy that the desperate-to-get-hitched crowd is doing just that, and she vaguely hopes she’ll join them soon, but isn’t overly concerned about when, yet. Did I mention? She’s 21.

Last week her neighbor, two years younger and just off the plane, got engaged. Nobody told her about it.

Last week they held a l’chaim to celebrate. My friend didn’t hear about it.

Last week the engaged girl’s younger sister came around with a small printed invitation to the vort. Her mother hid the invitation away and didn’t tell her about it.

When my Shidduch-ville correspondent finally found out, she was… shall we say irritated? Not only was she the last one on the block to hear the good news, but nobody thought she had the emotional strength to hear the news and keep her equilibrium.

Hey people! We don’t need your pity! (Especially at our age.) You do your thing and let us cope. Don’t treat us like china dolls. It just makes us feel worse.


I think.

I’ve read blogs by people older than me and my correspondent and they talk about how insensitive people can be to their inner pain at still being single, etc. So question for the galleries:

In either of these scenarios, how would you want to be treated? Would you rather that people be ‘sensitive’, or would you rather be treated like a normal human being who has no ‘disability’?


13 thoughts on “Oh, you’re single? I didn’t know… I’m so sorry!

  1. I hate being pitied. My life would be so much easier if people stopped with the pitying glances and tongue in mouth syndrome. Actually have a good example. Someone sent me a birthday card for my birthday so when I called her to thank her, she was like “Was I sensitive? Cuz I wrote that you are getting older..and my husband said I shouldn’t rub it in”!! I told her that was an adorable question to ask and I think she felt a little stupid which is fine with me.

  2. Arrrrrg. I’d so much rather people treat me like a normal, competent human being and not like a china doll. I’m not going to break from hearing people talk about cooking and babies. Sheeshers.

  3. I don’t believe I have a disability, thank the good lord.

    But there are those singles who DON’T like married people speaking about marriage subjects when they’re around them.

    Me, however? I give chinuch advice, discuss recipes, tell my friends they should be more sensitive to their husbands… My friends often forget that I’m not married… One asked me once about the correct way to nurse her kid… I totally burst out laughing!

  4. In situation #1, I’d think it kind of nice if the conversation should include some variety in either direction, but minus the theatricals. If it were a choice between theatricals and housekeeping, I’d choose the latter.

    Situation #2, I’d be very hurt and left-out that no one shared the news.

    I hate being with people who think that I should be embarrassed or miserable about my status. This was even worse before I was “in the parsha”– It’s like, you’re home from sem already, don’t SAY that! (Like, what did you want me to answer when you said “Tsk, tsk, so nuuuu, what’s with shidduchim?!”)

  5. wow! for once someone agrees with me on this!!! It’s not just the pity that drives me mad… it’s drives me crazy when my married friends start wispering about things in front of me because it’s not appropriate for my virgin ears, if that’s the case what makes it apropriate to be discussing with each other… how naive and stupid do they think we are?!!
    and just btw, when someone is really going though something the worst reaction is “I didn’t know… I’m so sorry!” you just feel like yelling, “Im dealing with it, I’m ok leave me alone” but I have to admit that my favorite reaction of when you tell someone something and they are uncomfortable, and they change to topic that sec with “omg I love your shoes”
    ok, enough rambling ….

  6. OMG! I thought I was the only one who compared it to a “terminal illness”–like when people are desperate to send singles to Shadchanim anywhere and everywhere. I think of, R”L, the ill, who must seek many doctors’ advice because they don’t know what to do with themselves, and/or haven’t been diagnosed. So they tour the country seeking a cure, R”L.
    THAT is a tragedy. THAT is something we must daven for, and unfortunately a reason for a person to panic, Lo Aleinu.

    Certainly being single is not easy, but as you said, all it takes is prince charming.

  7. I can only imagine your friend’s pain. I am one of those “fresh off the plane girls”. And though not engaged, or even technically in “the parsha”, I feel the tension in the air. And when these girls walk into school flashing their rings around as if they have a nervous spasm, even the girls my age get a pang.

    Sensitivity? I think its ridiculous to “censor” a conversation. That makes the single girls just feel de-sensitized and stupid.

  8. Pingback: You’re Sorry for Me? I’m So Sorry… « Bad for Shidduchim

  9. I actually got the opposite last week from someone… He asked “Are you single?” I said, “yes”, “Good for you” was his response,and I think he was actually serious (and then you wonder why he was divorced 🙂 ).

  10. Pingback: Friday Repost: Insensitive Sensitivity « Bad for Shidduchim

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