Chinese New Year has just passed not long ago, and amidst the food, angpows, and merry-making, I’m sure an inevitable aspect of CNY was the questions. Somehow, we young adults always end up being the target of “small-talk” questions. (Read: useless questions that carry no weight and are actually just gossip material.) Fortunately, I was able to escape the Q&A session this CNY. Unfortunately, there’s this one question that I get asked way too often, CNY or not. It’s “are you in a relationship?”, and it’s the most annoying question young adults get nowadays, in my opinion.
You meet an uncle/auntie, who could be your relative, or just an acquaintance of your mum’s. Said acquaintance sometimes doesn’t even ask for your name, but straightaway asks for your age. That’s fine, nothing wrong with that. When I respond with my age, the follow-up question is usually this: “So, got boyfriend ah?” I don’t see how it is their business anyway but I politely smile and answer them, which currently is saying “no”. From here, there are usually two kinds of responses on their part. (A “yes” would be met with approving nods, but I don’t know why they look approving anyway.)
One, they look at you pityingly, like “oh dear, why hasn’t she gotten a boyfriend yet, time is running out for her!” And they try to cover that expression up with a bland smile immediately. Excuse me, but I can read you like a book and I’m not fooled by your half-hearted attempt to pretend you’re not judging me. Also, have you maybe even considered that I don’t need or don’t want to be in a relationship at this given point of time? Do I look like I need to be in a relationship in order to survive?
Two, they say something along the lines of “aiya, pretty girl like you, matter of time lah!” Okay uncle/auntie, I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at here. Should I thank you for the compliment, or should I be insulted that a potential boyfriend would pick me based on my so-called good looks and not look beyond that?
Oh, there’s sometimes a third response, which is “there’s no rush, you’ll find someone in due time”, which I suppose is more favourable compared to the first two responses, but still.
What Kind of a Question Is That?!
It’s as if my life on earth for more than 20 years all boils down to whether I have a boyfriend. Uh, so what if I do? And so what if I don’t? Are you measuring my worth and value as a person based on whether I have a boyfriend at a certain age? What am I, an animal awaiting mating and breeding, good for nothing else?
There could be so many things you could ask about, but why is this question appearing as a priority? You could ask me what do I think of life, what I’m doing with my life, whether I’m a cat or dog person, what are my plans in life, do I believe in aliens; anything really! As an elder to me, I’m pretty sure there’s much I can learn from you, but then you decide to be shallow and ask me if I’m in a relationship of all things. It’s my personal business, and I don’t see how that helps you to know me as a person.
Change Your Questions
So to everyone out there and not just the uncles/aunties, please, for the love of God, don’t ask someone (you’re not even close to) if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend, if they’re getting married soon, if they’re having a baby yet and a whole host of other personal questions you shouldn’t be asking at all. The answers you get are nothing but gossip material, and everyone should cut down on gossiping. For once, maybe try to go beyond the surface and ask just one meaningful question – it trumps about 5 of your useless questions.
Just for the record, it’s not that I’m anti-relationship – I’m a firm believer of there’s a time for everything, and everything happens for a reason. If someone comes along, great! If not, there’s more to life than sitting around waiting for someone.