You’re on a first date and they’re giving strong vibes that they’re into you. As your date inches towards you, panic sets in. You’re not sure if you’re attracted to them. They don’t quite look like their photo and didn’t laugh at your impersonation of Greg from Succession. How do you keep them at arm’s length? Turn your date into a job interview. These questions will immediately kill any sexy fantasies building in your date’s head.
Why are you on the apps?
This question is commonly asked by guys who sit at either extreme: they are looking for a hook up or are desperate to get married. Though it is a good way to filter out men who only want to meet women to photograph peeing (true story, not mine), this question is a turn off because I don’t want to be boxed in. My preference is to get to know someone and see where it goes, whether he turns into a gig buddy, someone to have a fun all-nighter with and never see again, or a deeper connection.
Maybe this question is confronting because of my avoidant attachment style. Men who give off strong “looking for a wife and womb” energy on a first date make me as uneasy as racism, sexism and adults who speak in baby voice.
How long have you been single for?
There is no correct way to answer this because everyone has their own idea on what is an appropriate time to be single without raising red flags. This question is code for:
- What’s your baggage?
- Why doesn’t anyone want you?
- Where do you sit on the desperation scale?
- Do you have an incurable virus that will cause my penis to permanently shrink after I penetrate you?
Like work experience, one’s experience in romantic relationships has bearings on what they’ll be like in their next relationship. I dread this question because I have not been in a serious relationship. I assume that people will think the worst of me since my lack of relationship experience makes me an outlier at my age. Disregard my long-term friendships, experiences of living with wonderful people, lack of criminal record and the fact that I’m happy with my life. By society’s heteronormative standards, I’ve failed.
I don’t how to answer this question without going into a spiel to convince someone that I’m a full human being. Next time I’m asked, I’ll say I was abducted by aliens as a child and have no memories. People will be more understanding of that than my honest reason: “I’ve been single my whole life because the guys I like don’t like me, I’ve friendzoned a lot of good men out of fear of destroying our relationship, it’s more important for me to write a book than be in a relationship so I rarely date, and I’d rather be happily single than compromise just for the sake of being in a relationship. The end.”
I wish the same level of interrogation was applied to people who have jumped from one relationship to and other. It’s never questioned whether all their relationships have been healthy. The inability to be alone is not viewed as a negative trait, yet when I say I’m happily single it is sometimes met with disbelief.
What are you looking for in a partner?
Maybe I’ve always been single because I always answer “Dustin Hoffman circa 1976” to this question. This question is so prosaic they may as well ask me to check off a list of traits so they can determine if they are a match. While they’re at it, they should bring an astrologer to our date to assess our birth chart compatibility and ask how many cows are in my dowry.