Alison Taylor on relationships: At a wake recently, the inevitable inquest came, 'So, still not married? No kids?'


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The Independent Online

Being single is a lot like being a celebrity. By that I mean you are constantly asked the same (inane) questions, and people are obsessed with your love life. This is particularly true at big dos where you're reunited with a range of people who know you but don't know you, know you.

At a wake recently, up north in my home village, and faced with a load of old mates from the days when I was in a committed relationship with 501s and a lime-green United Colours of Benetton sweatshirt, the inevitable inquest came (and it came, and it came): "So, still not married? No kids?"

At this point, I'm polishing off my fifth dust-covered mini-bottle of lighter-fluid-strength white wine and respond, in all seriousness with: "No. But I have been growing my eyebrows out. Hardest thing I've ever had to do."

To say that he looked bewildered is an understatement. I'll admit, I surprised myself with it. It's not that I was trying to say growing your eyebrows after years of rampant plucking is on a par, commitment-wise, with growing a child, of course I'm not, but the fact is you do run out of stuff to say, especially when the question that inevitably follows it is, "Why not?".

Suffice to say, the eyebrow answer was odd enough to cauterise the conversation before it got embarrassing and I started listing every single romantic encounter in a vain bid to explain why each one didn't end in fertilisation. How else do you answer why you're single? There's no quick/logical/shareable answer. Also, what's it got to do with you, anyway?

What to do about it? As my mum would say: ask a silly question, get a silly answer. So here's a selection of answers I'm planning to use in the future (and possibly monetise into a useful app):

"Why are you still single?"

"Honestly? I'm actually too sexy."

OR: "I can trace it back to the time I got off with a famous DJ in a service station off the M62. Civilians have never quite matched up since."

OR: "It's because when I eat, it's truly disgusting. Like shameful. You should have seen the ejaculation of pastry that landed in my bra yesterday when I destroyed a quiche Lorraine."

Before you start thinking I'm really wise and have this all sussed, I should tell you how the wake story ended. About an hour after eyebrowgate, another two wines and a Sambuca shot, I called my mum to pick me up (I have no memory of this and it was only 8pm), got in the car and promptly puked all over the dashboard. She was livid, screaming at me: "You're 36! Why is this still happening?" A perhaps more valid question.