We here at 'Plight of the Religious Dater' are (as far as I know) of the smart, sassy, strong variety. We're here, we're single, we don't want any more bears! (name the show)
That being said, today I feel like a kvetch. Seraphine over at Zelophehad's Daughters said it much better and probably with more intelligence and compassion (fangirl alert!), but it's been on my mind so I'm taking a crack at it, anyway. Here's the sitch: you're visiting your home ward and run into your old youth leaders. Or perhaps you're in a new family ward. Or you're at a family picnic and run into your Aunt Sharon whom you haven't seen in a few years. Or maybe you're having tea with your mom. (ack!) And you hear one or more or a combination of the following:
"You're still single? *awkward silence* Well, good for you for being so strong!"
"I have a brother in law that just got out of rehab. He's got three kids and is kinda obese, but he's single, too! Can I give him your number?"
"Oh sweetie, it's okay. You're totally going to find a super hot, hilarious, sweet guy...in the next life!"
"Yes, this is my husband." *grabs man's arm*
I have heard a variation on all of these, and I'm sure there are many more. In every situation I have fortunately bit my tongue and smiled and said something mild in response. Time and experience have taught me this ever-important skill. I do realize that most people are simply trying to be helpful and nice and don't mean anything by their comments. But these comments highlight the unnerving assumptions that exist in LDS culture about 'older' singles. That we're:
a) At the brink of suicide
c) Easily comforted by unfounded platitudes
d) Out to steal a married man
In my experience, these are by and large not the case. Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, I know a few women who are greatly comforted by the notion that a wonderful, righteous, foxy man awaits them in the Millenium, and I don't begrudge them that one bit. It just doesn't do anything for me. And perhaps there are single women out there secretly plotting to steal away that 39 year old father of five in all his pot-bellied, balding, carpooling glory...but I haven't met them.
I don't think I need to explain why these assumptions exist. You know them already. In a highly family/marriage oriented church that hasn't yet bucked the cultural tendency to marry young, it's to be expected that people will have trouble relating to you when you don't fit that norm.
How to deal? Ignore and have compassion. People usually mean well. And if they don't? Screw 'em. You know that you're pretty stinkin' awesome, that you're doing the best you can in life and that things will happen when and if they happen. Rock on.