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February 22, 2011 34 Comments »


No, this isn't's my parents over 51 years ago...

We had been driving for about an hour, and that’s when he finally asked me what he wanted to know.

“Cherry, I want to ask you question – private question.  Is ok?”

I knew exactly where this private question was going; I would have bet what little I have on what was going to come out of his mouth next – and I would have won.  I just wondered how long he had been sitting there wondering how he was going to ask me the private question.

“Ok” I said.

“You married?”

In my mind I weigh the pros and cons of telling the truth.

Pros: I’m proud of my decisions, independence, and my culture which accepts that women don’t need to be married. There’s a part of me that wants to educate other cultures to my own. I know they don’t have to accept it, but I think it’s important to understand different cultures have different thoughts around marriage.

Cons: Do I really want to get into this conversation yet again; trying to explain to someone who doesn’t have the best grasp on English (and consequently I can’t communicate very well with) why I am not married? Explain it to someone who has never been to America…let alone Europe. Will he then try to marry me off to one of his family members…yet again?

Drum roll……..


Babies...sure they are cute...but they aren't for everyone.

I answer, “No, I am not married.”

I know what is coming next .

“Sherry, you have children?”

I’ve already decided to go the truthful route, so I might as well keep trudging along this cultural crevasse.

“No, I do not have kids.” I answer.

The inevitable comes next, “Why not married?”

I sigh, and try to explain in 2nd grade English, how I haven’t met the right man yet and that he shouldn’t worry, I am happy with my life.

Then he surprises me with the next statement and goes off of the usual script.

“Oh…I am so sorry.” he says.

I don’t think I had ever had anyone express their sympathy regarding my single lifestyle before. That floored me. I of course quickly tried to explain that there was nothing to be sorry or sad about; I was indeed happy with my life and my freedom.

But I knew that I wasn’t going to get through to him.

He went on about how I needed to have children, they were the best thing in the world and I would be sorry if I didn’t have them. I don’t think he knew I was 40, nor did he have any idea that kids were the last thing I ever wanted.

Me and my some of my nieces...that's all I need...

I tried to explain that my brother and sister have children and I see them often; he didn’t listen and he kept on going on about how it would be too late and then I would be sorry. That’s when I gave up trying to explain my cultural oddities to him.

I knew we were at an impasse. An impasse that I’ve been at many times before.

Are you a solo female traveler (or male traveler!) who gets asked this question frequently?  How do you deal with it?

Read my other musings on Travel vs. Motherhod

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