Facing Down the Singles Police

What's the best part about living alone? Being the Princess of the Palace, of course. Inside your abode, no matter how humble, you rule. No one to answer to or please but yours truly. However, step outside and you're at the mercy of the ''singles police,'' those sometimes (okay, often) ill-meaning people who exist to remind you that Noah thought the world should be peopled by pairs.

Don't fear these ill-informed fossils, though. According to a recent poll cited by Time, 43 million women -- more than 40 percent of all adult females -- are single. The trick here is to be prepared with some appropriate answers to their gauche queries:

So when are you getting married already?
This classic question is usually asked at a wedding or other family blowout. No matter whether you arrive alone or escorted, if you're not sporting a ring or reasonable facsimile, Aunt Tilly or your old college-roomie-turned-spouse-and-parent is sure to hit you with this one between mouthfuls of Swedish meatballs and stuffed peppers.

Your Response:
If I could only find a mate like yours, I'd tie that noose so fast my head would snap. In fact, I'd only get married if it were to your mate. (This ploy can work equally well with either sex.) Is that a possibility -- are you guys at the recycling stage yet? Nope? Too bad. (Sigh deeply here. Perhaps let a tear or two fall.) Then I guess I'll have to stay single.

So, do you have furniture in your apartment ... if you have an apartment? Also popular: Do you have a savings account? (Or some variation of the ever-popular if-you're-single-you-
must-have-no-sense-of-permanence-or-
structure-in-your-life ''rationale.'')

Your Response:
Oh, are you giving your furniture away? Out of sight. You are the most generous human on the planet. When can I send a moving van to pick it up? I'll think of you whenever I sit on your sofa. Or: Are you offering to lend me money? You are the next Mother Teresa. When can you draw me a check? ... etc.

You're on your own from here. I trust you get the idea: When cornered by a poster child for the Couples Are Superior Club, don't act defensive, hostile or whiny. Just be your own saccharin, 100-proof sarcastic sweet self and you'll belt a couple out of the park. One small step for you, one giant leap for the growing singles fraternity.

Do you have a dating question? Ask Sherry on her message board. Or read through the Dating Doyenne archive.

You can also catch Sherry LIVE on iVillage radio! Tune into Hits Live! every Wednesday at 1:20pm ET to hear her do a LIVE radio interview with DJ Lydia.

More Resources:
Find Love Online
Love Compatibility Quiz
Quiz: Are You A Great Date?
Find A Man in 30 Days

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