5 Questions I hate being asked

Are you married/where is your husband?

There are some countries I travel in where I am asked this at least daily and sometimes everyone I meet seems to ask me this. I am privileged to come from a country where I can choose who and when to marry, but I in many places I travel to girls are married very young and even in more relaxed places women have pressure to be married by 25. Not to be married by my age is unheard of; unless there is something wrong with me, and I have been asked many times what is wrong with me!
 If I’m being asked by a woman or in mixed company I will tell the truth and mix it with a joke – “I’m not married, men, they are too much work and too hard to get rid of!” Men might get told it’s none of their business depending on my perception of their motive and if they are creeping me out.
Asking me about my husband, feels to me, like asking why am I out alone, does a man know where I am, who do I belong too while devaluing me as an individual as if I only have worth as a wife and not as a scientist, traveler outspoken individual.

How many children do you have?

Sometimes even after the no husband thing I’ll be asked, “but you have children?” So many folks are shocked that I don’t have kids and I have to explain it is my choice or else face a face that says pity. Saying I don’t like kids and I don’t want them can often end up in a much longer discussion. I’ve been told that “children are gold”, meaning they are the best way to prepare for the future so I have someone to care for me when I’m old. So they are basically saying I’m going to die old and alone… cheerful!

But what about … you know… how do you manage?

Always asked by men who can’t say THE word, leaving me to fill in the gaps and always inappropriate. I alternate between  joking that I have a man for each day or in each country and self-righteous explanations on how inappropriate there question is. It depends on  how creepy they are, how safe I feel and how much energy I can muster for a rant.

Don’t you get lonely?

Usually asked in a very doubtful tone. I don’t know why people feel the need to ask, as if I am some strange species they can’t imagine that being alone doesn’t lead me to loneliness and despair. So here is the secret – Yes I get lonely, but it doesn’t scare me to be alone. Being lonely is part of being comfortable with yourself, becoming stronger and self-reliant, I’m often lonely but I am familiar with the feeling, I’m not overwhelmed and it soon passes or I can reach out on Skype, Facebook, twitter or go to a cafe or bar where travelers hang out.

Don’t you get scared?

I have to laugh, I’m scared all the time, seriously I get scared about getting my lunch in a canteen the wrong way and looking the fool, I’m scared of missing my bus stop, I’m scared of the weird noises outside my tent in the dark, I’m scared that bite I got last week is infected. I’m scared of heights, of being lost, of being sick, of missing out which makes it hard to explain why I want to put myself in these situations all the time. Fear has never been a reason for me to give up and stay home and it does get easier

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