Left Defenseless

I’ve never had anyone in my life actively try to make me feel bad about being single, never until Friday night. I was working with a guy who has been with his girlfriend since high school and is on track to marry her. We were talking about various things when he asks me out of the blue if I have a boyfriend. I respond “nope” and he immediately launches into an interrogation that crosses the line of friendly curiosity to plain insulting.

“You don’t have a boyfriend, so what you do you do all a day?” I ignore his implication that because I’m single I couldn’t possibly have a life and politely give him a list of my extensive interests. He responds with “wow, sounds like you have a really fulfilling life, like the 40-year-old virgin.” I roll my eyes and change the subject mentioning that I went to a Demetri Martin show last year and he says, “What? By yourself?” things continue in this matter throughout the evening.

I probably should have countered, but I was so caught off guard by the sheer audacity of his disrespectful comments that I essentially stood there and took it. I couldn’t believe or understand that someone would be so judgmental about a virtual stranger’s relationship status. Nor could I grasp why anyone would think it was ok to be so brazen.

Typically when people spend this much time making fun of someone they barely know it’s a reflection of their own insecurity. Is it just that this guy questions his own relationship? Or has he never learned how to define himself outside of a relationship and he is legitimately questioning how one could possibly have an autonomous identity apart from a significant other?

Regardless of the motive behind his behavior, there is no other way to describe it beyond rude. Because of the circumstances (being at work), I didn’t know the appropriate way to react. Looking back, acidic sarcasm would have probably been the best line of defense, but I think I would have ended up taking it too far. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?